Wednesday, March 19, 2008

We're Under Way!

8:46 a.m.
Over to the side of the room, IAAPA's Diane Vidoni, director of operations for the Expo, is working with a gigantic physical map of the convention center (which you can see above—please forgive the quality, it's really dark in here). With these first 100 or so—the people who have been around for so long—she seems to know their information off the top of her head. She moves up and down the board, making suggestions along with the committee members to get exhibitors on the floor in the best possible location.

8:34 a.m.
Each committee member is handed this gigantic spreadsheet package that contains all the exhibitors' information, and Jack just said they got through the first page of that packet: "One down, a bunch to go."

8:29 a.m.
So after watching the first few assignments, here's basically how it works: Jack calls out the name of the company, with seniority based on number of years they've exhibited. Each exhibitor submitted their preferred booth spaces ahead of time, so Jack confers with the committee member(s) representing that company constituent group. Basically if that top booth is available, it goes. Whole thing takes a grand total of, oh, 30 seconds or less.

8:27 a.m.
First booth is already assigned. They get it done quickly here.

8:25 a.m.
The meeting has officially started. The committee is going to assign about 650 booths this year, which is about 150 more than last year. Gonna be a busy couple days.

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