P.G.A. Show Creates Housing and Meal Package Costing Less Than $200 Per Day

Photo: Brandon Dowling for BizBash

The 58th annual P.G.A. Merchandise Show—the largest convention for golf professionals from around the world—offered a new housing and dining plan this year to address concerns about the cost of attending the event, which ran Thursday through Saturday at the Orange County Convention Center. The program, named the Superpass, offered three components attendees could purchase together or separately: hotel accommodations, breakfast and lunch buffets at the convention center, and dinner at a nearby restaurant with round-trip transportation.
If they purchased the entire package, an attendee’s daily cost was $200 or less per day for housing and all meals. Show managers are still compiling figures to determine how many of the nearly 42,000 attendees purchased some or all of the Superpass options.
“Based on past surveys, we knew cost was a concern. So we said, 'How can we come up with a solution that isn’t just a bunch of coupons that people get in a book?'” said Ed Several, senior vice president of P.G.A. Worldwide Golf Exhibitions. “This plan did three things. It let an attendee plan their trip, so when they were going in to get approval in advance, it gave them complete visibility for what it would cost each day to attend. Second, it was a great bargain. And third, it gave people the opportunity to visit some new places in Orlando.”

Created in conjunction with the convention center and Visit Orlando (the new name of the Orlando/Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau), the Superpass offered three hotels each with nightly rates under $90; breakfast and lunch at the convention center for $35 daily for both meals; and dinner at restaurants at the Mall at Millenia or Pointe Orlando for $20, with transportation available for an additional $10. Organizers said they intend to expand the program next year and also to get information out to potential attendees earlier; for this show, they started marketing the Superpass program in early December.  

Overall attendance at this year’s show was up 3.5 percent over 2010, with representation from all 50 states and 88 countries. Nearly 1,000 companies exhibited at the trade show, about the same as last year, with 246 new exhibitors participating.  

“The packed aisles, industry enthusiasm, and increased order writing reported by vendors are all solid indicators of a strong year for the business of golf in 2011,” Several said.

The P.G.A. Merchandise Show filled more than 900,000 square feet of the convention center, with more than half of it used for exhibit space. In addition to the trade show, the event included meetings sponsored by various golf organizations, more than 60 educational seminars, equipment demonstrations, award programs, and an employment center.

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