That was a question I heard again and again while working at IAAPA Central, our booth on the show floor at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2007.
Thankfully, it’s a question I love to answer, because I believe in the services and value IAAPA offers to all of our members. I have been at IAAPA for a little more than a year (one year and 10 days to be exact) and during this time I have familiarized myself with the four “core” benefits. So for those who didn’t get a chance to ask me this question at the show, here’s your answer (and a refresher for those who did):
As you can tell from recent posts about IAAPA’s efforts regarding the proposed Markey amendment, our staff is committed to being the voice for our members when it comes to regulatory issues.
Our members have access to the best training tools and programs in the industry. Whether it be a DVD or one of our Institute programs, members receive first-class education that can be put to use immediately.
Whether it’s FUNWORLD (our monthly magazine) or News Flash, a daily summary of industry news delivered to your e-mail inbox, our communications team keeps you informed with the latest industry trends and information.
You will find unparalleled buying, selling, and networking opportunities at the three IAAPA Expos: the Euro Attractions Show, Asian Attractions Expo, and IAAPA Attractions Expo are simply the best in the industry when it comes to bringing together buyers and sellers from around the world.
Now, while these four core benefits are great, I think the best resource we have for our members is the IAAPA staff. We are your partners and are committed to helping you succeed.
Did you know…
· That if you had an issue at your park or facility and needed help with the press, IAAPA’s staff provides you with FREE crisis communications support? That alone is a priceless benefit to being a member.
· That most of the education programs offered at our expos are FREE to members? Together with our volunteer committees, we plan an expo education program that offers you the most comprehensive education programs in the business.
· Members can save up to 60 percent on expo registration and save on exhibit fees at the Euro Attractions Show and Asian Attractions Expo (you have to be a member to exhibit at IAAPA Attractions Expo.
· Around the world, IAAPA is working on the harmonization of safety standards and training courses so our members are equipped with the information and support they need to run a safe facility.
Feel free to visit our membership pages to learn more. You can join online … or let me know if you need more information.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
That was a question I heard again and again while working at IAAPA Central, our booth on the show floor at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2007.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
One of the best things about working for an international association is that we get to do our work in some exciting, sometimes exotic, places. Sure, there’s quite a bit of work involved, but the opportunities for fun and food are everywhere.
This year, I’m particularly excited about going to Nice, France, located right on the majestic French Riviera (for an extremely romantic reference to this amazing region, please see “To Catch a Thief”). As editor of our magazine, FUNWORLD, I will be covering the show for the magazine, as well as managing the photography and videography for the event. Espuno La Merenda
When I’m not running around, taking notes, or writing in the press office, I will be diligently planning my meals and a few cultural experiences. Dining out is one of my favorite activities, and when I travel, that is priority No. 1—exploring the culinary delights and adventures that await me at my destination. In the case of Nice, traditional cuisine is a mix between Provençal and Italian. Just a few weeks before the trip, I'm looking forward to sipping café au lait, taking early morning walks along the water, and indulging in a painfully decadent meal at the day’s close. Here are some things I plan on doing. I hope you’ll join me.
On the weekends, in the cours Saleya, vendors sell the best in cheese, honey, produce, and one poster on Chowhound.com even said there’s a “mushroom lady.”
35 rue Droite; +33/493805067
Every morning will involve a bowl of café au lait and a top-notch freshly baked pastry. Espuno gets high marks from Yahoo! Travel for its pisaladière (a savory onion tart popular in the region) and fougasse, a distinctive bread flavored with aniseed or orange blossom, or occasionally filled with bacon, olives, raisins, or nuts.
4 rue Raoul Bosio (formerly rue Terrasse)
For dinner, I’m most excited about this quirky, but well-liked, restaurant in the Old Town section. It boasts an excellent daube of beef (beef stew) with chick pea chips; a revelatory lemon tart, and excellent wine. The quirks might be hard for some travelers to get over: No phone, but reservations are a must—and should be done in person. No credit cards. But I get the feeling that if you’re looking for a simple, classic, perfect meal, you’ll soon forget the bizarre drawbacks. Here’s what Foodtourist.com had to say:
"What we are primarily looking for is good food that reflects the stated intentions of the owners. At Le Merenda we found exactly that. Perfectly cooked, honest food that used the best ingredients and reflected the soul of the cuisine of the region."
cours Saleya, +33/493850004, closed Monday
If you’re going for authenticity, one of the area’s signature dishes is socca, a pancake made with chickpea flour. The best, according to Time Out’s Nice guide, is here. Put a fried disc made from flour and egg in front of me, and I’m set.
Food shopping is also at its best in Nice. One Chowhounder suggested the following:
Alzieri, 4 rue Saint-François-de-Paul—buy the proprietary olive oil, tapenades, and lavender honey. The Matisse Museum—see more than you’ve ever seen of this master fauvist.
Confiserie Auer, 7 rue St-François-de-Paul—for ice cream and desserts, all steeped in a rococo wonderland.
Okay, let’s check out some culture. Try this on and see how you like them:
Le cours Saleya—walk this traditional square and take in the flower market, the farmer’s market (mentioned above), as well as the great shopping and Nicois restaurants.
Le Palais de la Préfecture—this 18th century structure was formerly the royal palace for the governors and princes of Savoy when they visited Nice.
Le Jardin Albert 1—This is Nice’s oldest garden and boasts extensive greenery from the water to the hills. Here you’ll see the flowers and fountains at L’esplanade du Paillon.
For more on Nice, visit www.nicetourisme.com.
The Matisse Museum—see more than you’ve ever seen of this master fauvist.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Well into the markup, Markey argued that if a stroller is regulated by the federal government, a roller coaster should be as well, using a staffer pushing a baby stroller across the committee room as a prop. (Of course, this is an odd comparison because even the nicest of parents don’t buy their children roller coasters, and I’m sure very few parents hire engineers to assemble, inspect, and maintain their strollers on a daily basis.)
During the debate, Markey offered a letter from Jim Prager, a former member of the amusement industry, stating Prager’s support of Markey’s amendment. While Prager has worked in the amusement industry, he is no longer a member of IAAPA. His views are not indicative of those of the industry—a point that was poignantly made later in the proceedings by Congressman Cliff Stearns of Florida, one of the industry’s strongest supporters in Congress.
Markey’s proposal was unexpectedly challenged by Congresswoman Jane Harman, a fellow liberal Democrat from California. Harman said she was interested in examining federal jurisdiction for amusement parks, however the need for ensuring children’s toys are safe was more pressing and suggested the committee hold a separate hearing on fixed-site rides next year.
After the Congresswoman’s turn concluded, Markey spoke out passionately against Harman and Stearns, suggesting their opposition was based on the heavy park presence in their home states and that they didn’t fully understand the issue at hand. The committee recessed for a floor vote shortly thereafter; when committee members returned, Markey apologized profusely to both Harman and Stearns for his earlier comments before asking for a roll call vote.
In the end, Markey’s amendment failed with bi-partisan opposition. Yet it is very likely that the issue of fixed-site ride jurisdiction will be considered in more detail by Congress in 2008.
It is important for IAAPA members to continue educating their elected officials about the industry’s safety record and efforts to maintain that strong record. Members of Congress will be in their districts for an extended period of time over the holidays and are very willing to meet with our members during this time to discuss the issue. If you would like assistance setting up an appointment with a legislator from your state, please contact me.
Finally, thanks to members of the IAAPA Grassroots and Information Network for sending more than 200 personal messages to members of the Energy and Commerce Committee, voicing opposition to the amendment.
***This post was revised on Monday at 1:30PM***
Monday, December 10, 2007
If you have not done so already, it is not too late to contact members of the committee and inform them of the industry's opposition to this proposal.
You can watch the hearing live online here.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
The mark-up will most likely be rescheduled for sometime next week, and we'll update you here as soon as we know when.
In the meantime, please continue to contact Energy and Commerce Committee members and share your opposition to Markey's amendment on behalf of the amusement industry. Your comments really do make an impact.
Also, as he mentioned in his comment on my last post, Faulkner University professor Chad Emerson has posted over at his Theme Law blog a spreadsheet detailing each state's amusement safety law.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
We drafted a statement in response to the Post's article. You can find it on the IAAPA website here.
It's not too late to voice your opposition to the Markey amendment. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will meet on Thursday, December 6 to consider H.R. 4040, the Consumer Product Safety Commission Modernization Act. Congressman Markey will offer his amendment during this hearing. The more pressure elected officials feel from IAAPA members, the more difficult it will be for Congressman Markey to find support for his bill.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Follow this link to see the four-minute spot. It mostly focuses on DITS, but there are some cool shots of the Expo thrown in, too, along with a few great aerials, as you might expect.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Congressman Markey's amendment was not considered during the mark-up of H.R. 4040 Thursday by Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee, but the issue is not over. The full Energy and Commerce Committee will consider the bill in early December.
Amusement rides are already one of the safest forms of entertainment available, so adding an additional layer of redundant regulation is absolutely unnecessary. Maintaining a safe facility is at the core of our business. Not only do we hold ourselves to high standards, but we must meet the standards of our insurers, adhere to ASTM standards, and we are regulated by state officials.
The CPSC is an important agency, but it is starved for resources. Adding amusement parks to their jurisdiction will only dilute their already limited resources and could jeopardize the current successful state-level regulatory scheme.
Please visit the IAAPA Grassroots Action Center to contact members of the House Energy and Commerce committee and express your opposition to the Markey amendment to the CPSC reauthorization bill. Tell them to let the CPSC focus its financial and staff resources on the areas where it has expertise: the more than 15,000 consumer products it is currently responsible for regulating.
For more information, please email me at sthienel@IAAPA.org.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Today is the busiest move-in day as we usually see the majority of the smaller booths set up. Most of the larger booths started their set-up on Thursday of last week and have been working long days to get everything ready. We already have a few full-sized rides on the floor as well as some truly amazing creations coming out of many of the top Theming companies. Best Booth winner last year, Pizzazz Scenic Contractors, brought back their award winning dragon-themed exhibit that is surely a sight to see. IAAPA Attractions Expo exhibitors really pull out the stops for their booth designs, so walking the trade show floor is always one surprise after another. Just yesterday we saw an elaborate mirror maze going up that we are all hoping to get a chance to visit. Of course, we can't forget our many food vendors, such as veteran exhibitors Perky's Pizza, Mini-Melts and Dippin' Dots, who will soon be drawing crowds of attendees hoping to get a sample of their snacks.
With almost 300 First-Time Exhibitors at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2007, there are many new faces and products at the show this year. It is always exciting to see exhibitors who walk onto our trade show floor for the first time as there is often a similar look of awe on their faces. It is hard for us to describe what this show is like over the phone, so seeing it in person tells the real story of why IAAPA Attractions Expo is THE show to be at.
I have to get back to helping our exhibitors move in, but I will check in again to report on how the show floor has shaped up. Looking forward to the trade show opening tomorrow!
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Excited, overwhelmed, energized, and anxious … all emotions that make it sound like I’m preparing for my first high school dance, but I’m really just attending IAAPA Attractions Expo for the first time. After months of hearing about towering inflatables, ride debuts, and exclusive park announcements, I’m more than ready to attend my first show.
I started as IAAPA’s communications coordinator this past August, and quickly grew accustomed to show preparation: constantly changing schedules, truck-loads of supplies heading to Orlando, and mini-celebrations being thrown when we find out more exhibitors are coming. To stay organized in all of the excitement, I’ve concocted a personal tip sheet to prepare for it all; hopefully you can benefit from it, too.
- Create a “Must-See” schedule: The week will go by so fast that it will be Friday before you know it. Pick up your show program at the beginning of the week and mark the exhibitors and booths you can’t miss. Visit IAAPA’s Virtual Trade Show for an easy exhibitor reference.
- Wear comfortable shoes: The trade show floor is more than eight miles long, so comfy shoes like these are essential. I’ve heard co-workers rue the day they wore uncomfortable shoes on the show floor, so I’m taking blister precautions.
- Meet as many people as possible: Networking between attractions proves invaluable when you need an outside opinion on a project. Some of the best places to do this are IAAPA’s roundtable sessions, which focus on open discussions and common challenges among different facilities. And as long as you’re branching out, drop by the Press Office and introduce yourself to me!
- Mix it up: After seeing the trade show program, I can’t believe how much action will be taking place off the trade show floor. Our education sessions cover everything from FEC marketing to press release writing, and our socials (like the Young Professionals Get-Together) make it easy to meet other industry workers in your position. Make the most of your time; this only happens once a year!
- Enjoy Orlando! Check out our recent press release to see what Orlando has to offer and plan festive nights and weekends when the show closes down. I want to experience the Blue Man Group show at Universal and visit Mickey in my off time.
For more pointers, check out this great tip sheet Ana Elisa, our V.P. of marketing and membership, created for first-time attendees.
If you’re going to the trade show, look for me in the press room. I want to match names with faces. And finally, if you’ve been to IAAPA Attractions Expo in the past, drop me a comment below and fill me in on tips I’ve missed.
Monday, November 5, 2007
This is music to the ears of Larry Barnett, executive director of the Harrison County Development Commission in nearby Gulfport and a leading economic official in the region. When I spoke with Barnett this summer for my cover story on the post-Katrina recovery effort in Mississippi, he told me the goal is to make the Gulf Coast a “top-tier destination” for tourism. The casinos are already doing big business in the area, but tourism officials there believe it’s going to take more family-oriented attractions (such as the already established Gulf Islands Waterpark in Gulfport) to seal the deal.
Revelay is a great first step, Barnett told me earlier today when I chatted with him to gauge his reaction to the new facility, set to open in 2009 or 2010.
“We need facilities like this so when families come to visit the Mississippi Gulf Coast, they have activities,” Barnett said. “This is a great development for us. It demonstrates a confidence people have in our market and our tourism. Other [developers] should see that and maybe look a bit closer at the Gulf Coast. It’s a first step, and getting more facilities like that is critical for us as we go forward, where we can entertain the children as well as the adults.”
Barnett said he knows of at least one other project being talked about that is “not exactly” like the hotel/waterpark combo proposed by Revelay, but is along the same lines. It’s too early for him to say anything more, but “there are other family-oriented facilities looking,” he confirmed.
One thing is for sure: Barnett remains convinced the Mississippi Gulf Coast is heading in the right direction. “I’m feeling very good about how things are progressing,” he said. “When you look at our area, we’ve made a lot of progress. We spent a lot of time cleaning up and preparing for the future, and now we’re in that rebuilding mode. I feel real good about what the future’s going to bring.”
Barnett and another member of his staff will be attending IAAPA Attractions Expo 2007 next week, and their focus is recruiting new attractions and investors to the Gulf Coast. He believes the region has huge potential for growth in multiple areas, including family-friendly amusements and attractions.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
The myriad offerings throughout Expo week can be overwhelming if you try to take them all in one gulp. So David's compiled everything a marketing/communications professional needs to know about the show and listed them in the handy document found below. He highlights all the educational sessions pertinent to his chosen field (writing a press release, new marketing technologies, etc.). He also rounds up all the various networking opportunities marketing/PR professionals might like to attend.
With an event as massive as IAAPA Attractions Expo 2007, any little tips can help. Click here to download David's cheat sheet for the show.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Sometimes in politics, issues are identified weeks or months before they come before Congress. In these situations, IAAPA’s government relations department has time to make appointments for lobbying visits with members of Congress, or add the issue to a list of things members should discuss during legislative fly-ins.
Oftentimes in Washington, though, issues blow up overnight. When this happens, IAAPA’s lobbying strategy needs to be more rapid than traditional efforts, and we need members to quickly reach out to elected officials and let them know how proposed solutions will affect you.
Earlier this month, the Senate Finance Committee considered imposing FICA taxes on several temporary visa programs as revenue generators for the farm bill. This proposal would have affected many IAAPA members who rely on temporary workers to staff their businesses during the peak season.
IAAPA’s government relations department heard about this proposal on a Monday evening. On Tuesday we developed and launched a targeted grassroots campaign of IAAPA members in key states contacting senators on the committee and explaining the detrimental effects of this proposal to the attractions industry. By Wednesday evening, the proposal was defeated.
Everything that IAAPA lobbyists say sounds better coming from a constituent. You are the voter, the person who on Election Day determines if a member of Congress stays or goes.
We encourage you to join our Grassroots Action and Information Network (GAIN) and be among the first to know about federal legislation critical to your business. GAIN members receive insider legislative updates from IAAPA’s GR staff, and are provided with the materials to take action when needed. You can register for GAIN by visiting our web site or contacting me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Last week marked my three-year anniversary of working for IAAPA, and as it so happens, three years’ experience is a significant figure for a new program the association is launching this month at Attractions Expo 2007.
It’s called the Institute for Emerging Leaders, and is geared specifically for people like me (minimum three years' management experience)—not straight out of college, but not a longstanding veteran, either. My colleagues in the building are quite excited about this gig, because it hits midlevel people like us right where we live and work: We don’t handle the big, big decisions, but we have enough responsibility to make a significant impact on our organizations (at least I’d like to think I make an impact …).
The speaker lineup is absolutely killer, people who are at the top of their fields but haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be a little further down the food chain. I just met San Diego Zoo’s Ted Molter a few weeks back for a FUNWORLD Q&A (look for that in January); he’s a down-to-earth guy who blew my mind with some of the cutting-edge marketing he’s doing (a MySpace page for an ape?!?).
As it’s been described to me, the Institute is a one-stop shop for information on the industry, a holistic experience for people on the way up, or those who may have just moved into the amusement industry from elsewhere and want to find out what this business is all about. Operations, marketing, finance … the works.
If you want more information, you can check the program out here or drop my buddy Cam a line at ckiosoglous@IAAPA.org.
Friday, October 26, 2007
As far as our industry facilities are concerned, things seem to be OK. According to their respective web sites, Legoland California, San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park, SeaWorld San Diego, and Six Flags Magic Mountain are all planning to open today after being closed most of the week.
SeaWorld San Diego's David Koontz called me last night and had this to say:
"I'm happy to report all of our animals did very well. There was no impact on them whatsoever, and we're looking forward to opening the park again to the public."
SeaWorld also posted this message on its web site:
SeaWorld was closed Tuesday, Oct. 23 through Thursday, Oct. 25 due to the firestorms burning throughout San Diego County. While there were no fires in the park’s vicinity, many SeaWorld team members were affected by the fires, road evacuations and road closures. The park also was adhering to requests by city officials to keep non-essential vehicles off the roadways.
The park’s animals are in good health and the fires caused no impact on our infrastructure or ability to operate.
Our thoughts are with all of our team members and their families, and all San Diego County residents who were affected by these fires.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
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!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
We hope the fires are controlled soon and that your businesses and families do not suffer because of them. And once everything has settled down, we look forward to hearing your stories and learning from your examples on how to deal with extreme circumstances and under extraordinary pressure in a short amount of time.
Let us know if there is anything we can do to help. If anyone from SoCal reading this can give us first-hand updates on how things are going, please share in the comments or e-mail me at jschoolfield@IAAPA.org and I'll post them later.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Several people from our staff will be highlighting goings-on in the industry or inside the walls of the association’s Alexandria, Virginia, home (which is within shouting distance of the White House in Washington, D.C.—I ride past the Washington Monument every day to and from the office). We’ll also be giving you some stuff that gets squeezed out of FUNWORLD, and updating previous stories if we get some new information. We’ll also be asking some straightforward questions from time to time, seeking your input.
But that’s all coming. Right now, everyone here is in full-on Trade Show Mode, as IAAPA Attractions Expo 2007 is less than a month away (Nov. 12-16). What amazes me about this place is how genuinely excited people are for the show. My co-workers are really and truly motivated to do something great—not just because it’s their job, but because they actually (gasp!) enjoy what they’re producing. It’s quite refreshing. Personally, I cannot wait to see the floor when it’s unveiled in all its glory that Tuesday morning, and other people here have told me the same thing.
IAAPA members will be receiving the November (double) issue of FUNWORLD soon—watch for our official Expo preview section (new this year). I have a story in there that talks about the excitement people have for the show’s return to Orlando, and our sales manager, Pete Barto (who has basically talked to every exhibitor coming to the show at one point or another), told me people are taking booth designs up a notch. There will be more on the Expo to come, but right now seemingly everyone—inside and outside of IAAPA Central—is pumped for the show.
And speaking of FUNWORLD, keep an eye out for our slightly redesigned cover. I know it’s impossible to miss seeing as it’s, you know, the cover and everything, but we’ve tweaked it a little bit. Also, it features an absolutely killer photo, but I won’t spoil the details here.
One final note: We’re looking forward to hearing from people as part of this venture, so please comment early and often. The idea is to keep this environment positive (unlike most of the Internet). We have some legalese about rules and regulations for comments, but in general just try and keep it constructive and professional, and everyone should be fine.
Here’s your initial In the Queue contributor roster:
Amanda Charney, FUNWORLD Editor, acharney@IAAPA.org
Sarah Gmyr, IAAPA Media Relations Manager, sgmyr@IAAPA.org
Marion Hixon, IAAPA Communications Coordinator, mhixon@IAAPA.org
Cam Kiosoglous, IAAPA Education Program Manager, ckiosoglous@IAAPA.org
Deana Martin, IAAPA Exhibit Sales and Services Executive, dmartin@IAAPA.org
Jeremy Schoolfield, FUNWORLD Features Editor, jschoolfield@IAAPA.org
Heidi Schroeder, IAAPA Membership Marketing Manager, hschroeder@IAAPA.org
Stephanie Thienel, IAAPA Government Relations and Safety Services Manager, sthienel@IAAPA.org
Friday, October 19, 2007
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