ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA More than 1,000 companies are exhibiting at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions’ Attractions Expo, showing off the latest thrill rides, games, inflatables, simulators, and more through Friday at the Orange County Convention Center. They are all vying for attention from the 28,000 attendees, which include buyers and press from more than 100 countries. To help them, organizers created a new “Media Exposure Guide” this year offering a variety of promotional tips and opportunities for exhibitors.
“These exhibitors don’t have a lot of time to focus on press,“ says Colleen Mangone, the association’s media relations director. “A lot are small companies and they may not even have a PR person, or they have a PR person that wears multiple hats. So we wanted to create a tool that would make it easier and give them some information to guide the process.”
Exhibitors received the 15-page guide over the summer along with their exhibitor services manuals. Mangone says almost immediately she started hearing from companies that wanted to take advantage of the opportunities, such as submitting 30-second videos about new products to post on the event’s press page. The guide also included sample press releases and media advisories, a chance to provide talking points to event spokespeople, and an opportunity to schedule a press conference in the exhibitors’ booths. By mid-September, the press conference slots were filled, with 35 scheduled during the three-day trade show. That’s nearly double the number that took place last year when exhibitors had to schedule and manage them on their own.
By providing this oversight, organizers have been able to ensure the press conferences are scheduled without any overlap and with 15-minute time slots in between each one so reporters have time to walk from one booth to another on the huge 540,000-square-foot show floor. The association also provided tips to exhibitors on how to conduct the events, for example reminding them to leave time at the end for questions from reporters, and promoted the events to the media.
“We always look for ways to raise the profile of the individual companies and of the show. The more success our exhibitors have, the more successful our show will be,” Mangone says. “We’ve had positive feedback from the exhibitors so far, and we’ll solicit more feedback afterward.”