Thursday, March 20, 2008

2008 Space Allocation: Final Thoughts

The committee just adjourned, just before 11:30 a.m. PDT. Here are the final numbers:

651 total booths placed (90 more than last year); 573 placed during the meeting
362,800 net square feet assigned, an increase of about 28,000 over last year
73 percent of the indoor floor space is assigned

What do those numbers mean? Things happened fast in the past day or so. I spoke with Keith James of Jack Rouse Associates during the break and asked him how his meeting went, as this is his first with this committee.

“I had no idea, until now, just how fast it goes,” Keith said. “It’s a fascinating experience."

Keith was in charge of themed entertainment/design/hi-tech exhibitors along with longtime Space Allocation Committee member Monty Lunde of Technifex. Keith said he focused on the exhibitors in his group that were coming up in the assignment process to anticipate any possible issues, while Monty ran point getting the booths assigned.

“I had no idea how interactive it was. As you speak, it gets done right away,” Keith said. “It looks to me like everybody did really well on getting close to what they wanted.”

Jack Mendes of Bob's Space Racers, who chairs the committee, said he was very pleased with how the meeting went. “It went great. Everything worked very smoothly,” he said. “We had great participants, and everybody did a great job.”

From my perspective, I echo sentiments from both Jack and Keith. I had been briefed ahead of time at how fast this meeting moves, but there's nothing like the real thing. There are about 30 people in this room counting the committee members and support staff, and everyone had to work together like a well-oiled machine to get this thing done. I noticed especially that if any one of those 30 people had a problem or a question, all they had to do was call out and the whole process came to a screeching halt until everything was resolved.

I also was impressed with how well the committee members know their stuff. It really was like a war room in here at times (not that I've ever actually been in a war room, mind you, but I've heard stories). I'd look around the room and one guy would be on a cell phone, another's on a hard line calling Europe, another's checking with the Exhibit Sales Team to iron out details … the meeting was highly organized but inside that organization was some intense down-to-the-wire work.

People are bailing out of here quick, so looks like I have to wrap this up. Thanks to everyone who followed along with us the past 30 hours or so. For our new visitors (and there were, literally, hundreds of you), please bookmark In the Queue and check back regularly. There are a lot of IAAPA staffers working on this forum, so if you read regularly you'll stay up to date on all the various aspects of the association and its members. Also, we're always looking for contributions from readers and members, so if you have an idea for a post, please e-mail me at

So, that's it for now. Hopefully you have a bit better sense of the work this committee does to map out one of the industry's biggest trade show.

I know I do.

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