By D. Channing Muller Posted February 4, 2010, 6:10 PM EST
The P.G.A. Merchandising Show wrapped up on Saturday at the Orange County Convention Center, after three days of golf presentations, product demos, education sessions, and industry analysis. Show coordinators at the P.G.A. of America and Reed Exhibitions in Buffalo, New York, added a career fair, a social media learning lab, and an after-hours concert by Kansas for the 57th annual trade show, resulting in an attendance increase of about 2 percent, to 40,000.
“The elements we added to the show are based on input from the golf industry so we can best meet their needs,” said show manager Ed Several, vice president and general manager at P.G.A. Golf Exhibitions Group. “We have an advisory council made up of attendees and exhibitors and we hold focus groups throughout the country [to gain input].”
The group tested the career fair format at the P.G.A. Fall Expo in Las Vegas last August, and then added it to the merchandising show. The 14,000-square-foot space had computer job boards, career counselors from P.G.A. of America, and companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy interviewed potential candidates. Additionally, roughly 60 companies created job postings while on-site.
A separate area of the show floor housed the P.G.A. Connectivity Lab, where three computer kiosks and social media experts provided hands-on lessons for attendees in the business value of social media. “The experts not only shared how to [use the sites], but also showed how other P.G.A. professionals were successfully implementing social media to grow their business,” Several said.
On Friday night, the show hosted a concert for attendees at the convention center’s Chapin Auditorium, where Kansas performed a nearly two-hour show. The concert marked the largest name band to perform and attracted a capacity crowd of nearly 2,000 attendees.
“We added this as an opportunity to increase the amount of networking at the show and bring the industry together and thank them for their support,” Several said.
Brands such as Titleist, Cleveland Golf, Bridgestone, and Ping were among the show's 1,000 exhibitors, 100 fewer than last year.