3:07 p.m.: DONE!!! With initial assignments, anyway. The members will hang around for about 30 minutes to wait for booth moves.
I'll be back soon with some final comments/stats.
2:54 p.m.: During the break, four booths were put into the outdoor space, which is maybe the best of its kind we've had a show—it's DIRECTLY in front of the LVCC, between the doors and the monorail. You won't be able to walk in those doors without seeing the outdoor exhibits—it'll be impossible. Pete Barto tells me this might be the first time we've ever placed booths in the outdoor space during Allocation.
Discussion is still going strong as the First-Time Exhibitor Pavilion is assigned. About to assign No. 535, AeroTower America.
2:49 p.m.: We're into first-timers now. Twenty to go …
2:33 p.m.: The committee's back for the home stretch. I spoke to Jerry Aldrich of Amusement Industry Consulting, who works with rides and safety exhibitors. He told me: “I think we’re doing great for the amount of stuff we’ve covered. The electronic systems make it go so much faster. If an exhibitor doesn’t get a spot they want, they can almost instantaneously reposition.”
2:19 p.m.: OK, I'm almost at the end of my second Space, and I just heard a new term: "Oreo Cookie." What the heck is an Oreo cookie? Pete Barto says it's a no-no: When there are two big booths on either side of just one little booth. Either the two big booths need to border each other, or more smaller booths need to go in between the two big ones so the small one doesn't get overwhelmed.
We're taking what I expect to be the last break of the day. Just placed No. 516, North Pole Productions. We hit first-time exhibitors in six booths, and there are only 30 remaining, overall.
2:06 p.m.: We just crossed a quarter million square feet assigned. Current total: 253,100.
2 p.m.: Deana Martin, a member of the exhibit sales team, started with 12 piles of contract folders on a big table near me. She just started on the last one.
1:57 p.m.: No. 500!!! A+ Career Apparel was just placed. Seeing light at the end of the tunnel (Is it the sun? It will be nice to see daylight and breathe outside air again …).
1:45 p.m.: The words "we're almost done" were just uttered within my range of hearing, but I will not share who, for fear of putting the jinx on them. We're on No. 481, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, so there are about 60 companies left to place, all rather small. So, here's hoping …
1:38 p.m.: I hesitate to say anything to jinx the momentum we have going right now, but Ray Zammit's prediction from earlier this morning is coming to pass. Pace is up right now. Just placed: No. 476, Garner Holt Productions.
1:12 p.m.: Michael Turner from Gateway Ticketing Systems, in charge of ticketing and point-of-sale system companies, said IAAPA's first trip to the Las Vegas Convention Center is definitely playing a role in the speed of this process. With no frame of reference to fall back on, there's a lot of waiting and watching among exhibiting companies—and, therefore, a lot of changes.
Turner told me: “The middle group we placed were the most difficult, because you had to worry about how to place them and get them in the right position. It was difficult this morning. Everybody I placed didn’t put down booth number requests—they had no idea. So, that was the work. You had to go back and say, ‘OK, where do you want to be, relative to where you were last year?’”
The committee just placed CLM Entertainment, No. 442.
12:50 p.m.: The committee's back from lunch and getting back down to business. People are still hopeful for speed to pick up with the smaller booths. I talked to Michael Turner from Gateway Ticketing Systems during the break and will share his comments momentarily.