4 p.m. is the most exciting part of my day. Why? It’s the time every day when we do our booth assignments for IAAPA Attractions Expo 2007 here in the convention department on the third floor of the IAAPA office. We all huddle around the huge floor plan on the wall and mark in red all of the booths that were contracted by new exhibitors that day. Monday’s booth assignment meeting came a bit early, however, due to the fact that at 10 a.m. we surpassed the 500,000 net square feet of booth space reserved mark! This was cause for a mini-celebration, and we couldn’t wait until the afternoon to toast this seemingly unreachable number. Hitting the 500K plateau makes Expo 2007 IAAPA’s biggest show since we opened the expansion building at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center in 2003.
So needless to say it’s been an exciting several months up in our corner of the IAAPA universe. The 4 p.m. booth assignment meeting has at times drawn spectators from other departments who want to get in on the fun as well. And even those who don’t join in get to hear us bang the gong that Pete Barto (head of the sales team and, thus, my boss) brought back from the Asian Expo in Bangkok this year. There is something very special about seeing the trade show floor go to red and get closer and closer to a sell out.
The rest of the day, we work to turn the floor blue, which is the color we mark a booth once it is on hold for an exhibitor; hopefully we change the blue to red at 4 p.m. once we have contracts in hand. We all have headsets for our phones and at times you can see us all standing in the hallway in front of the floor plan talking to exhibitors with our trusty blue grease pencils at the ready. It is actually a pretty funny sight for those who happen to find their way to our corner of the office. We can get pretty loud up here, too, especially when we all are yelling back and forth from our various offices. Diane Vidoni and Melissa Charity, who handle operations for the show, get to share in these conversations due to proximity, but not necessarily out of interest. Yes, we realize we have phones and could call one another, but that takes too much time … haha! I am sure the communications department, which has the honor of being right below us, has had the urge to take a broom to the ceiling at times. We are just having way too much fun up here. I guess that is what happens when you have a group of people who really embrace the idea of a sales “team” and who get to sell booth space for such a fun show!
We are looking forward to getting on site in Orlando to see how our big wall-size coloring board of a floor plan will translate to real booths. We are counting down the days to move-in and look forward to seeing everyone there!