12:39 p.m.: The committee just placed its 100th company of the day, AIMS International (seniority No. 180), which includes creation of the AIMS Pavilion on the show floor. The committee is breaking for a 30-minute lunch now. We're running an hour behind, based on where we expected to be, so hopefully we can make up a half-hour and return to estimated assignment times this afternoon.
12:17 p.m.: Sorry for the lack of updates over the past 45 minutes or so, but it's been a little slow of late so not much to report. There have been some alterations to the floor, so be sure to keep refreshing that page. The last booth placed was Sega Amusements, No. 161.
11:56 a.m.: Recent assignment: Alcorn McBride, No. 156.
11:22 a.m.: The committee will only break for a 30-minute lunch today instead of an hour, since we're running a bit behind so far today.
"We'd rather rush lunch than rush the process," said BSR's Jack Mendes, the committee chair.
I will of course update you when the committee breaks for lunch.
11:17 a.m.: For those familiar with the NCAA men's basketball tournament, the people who put that bracket together each year have a "war room" of sorts, where they watch all the games and collect all the data to determine the 68 teams who get into the field for the Final Four.
That's the comparison that comes to mind sitting in the Space Allocation room. The members are arrayed around a large U of tables with big screens in front of them displaying the interactive floor plan. Here are a few photos:
Just placed Royal Train Rides, No. 134.
11 a.m.: Committee's coming back. About to assign No. 124, Innovative Concepts in Entertainment.
10:51 a.m.: The committee is breaking for 10 minutes as IAAPA's VP of exhibit sales Pete Barto works on a sizable redraw of the floor plan. Keep refreshing this site AND the floor plan to keep an eye on the proceedings and get a look at what the floor looks like when this little process is done.
10:34 a.m.: As a refresher, here's how the Space Allocation process works:
There are 15 members of the Space Allocation Committee from all different sectors of the M&S community. Thus each member watches over the exhibiting companies in their respective areas of expertise. For example: Monty Lunde (Technifex) and Keith James (JRA) handle theming and design companies, Vittorio Fabbri (Intamin) and Sophie Bolliger (B&M) keep an eye on ride manufacturers, etc. Their job is to be prepared with a booth assignment when their companies come up.
Each exhibiting company submits booth number requests. Early on, typically those requests are relatively easy to accommodate since there are so many spaces available on the floor. But as the show fills up, companies' requests start to disappear. That's when the committee members really kick into action. They'll make recommendations for new booths, oftentimes talking with the exhibiting company directly to work on a solution. The key to this selected group is their knowledge of two areas: their industry sector AND experience exhibiting at IAAPA Attractions Expo; both sides of that coin factor into the decision as the committee members try to get their companies the best position possible.
Sometimes the booth assignments just flow right along, but elsewhere there is significant discussion as members take into account proximity to competitors and maintaining the layout and integrity of the show floor. It can get complicated, that's for sure.
The last booth assigned was SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment at No. 111.
10:08 a.m.: REMINDER: The online interactive floor plan is live this year, so you can see booths immediately as they are assigned. The key is: remember to REFRESH YOUR SCREEN (sorry for the all-caps, but this is important!). The last booth assigned was Severn-Lamb, No. 102.
9:43 a.m.: And they're off! Space Allocation is officially under way. BJ Toy Manufacturing Co. was just assigned (seniority No. 82).
9:12 a.m.: Still doing updates and housekeeping stuff. I will post as soon as we get started. Just a reminder: booths are assigned based on seniority (number of years exhibiting at the show). Anyone with 25-plus years' seniority is placed ahead of this meeting, so there are 80 or so booths on the floor already.
9:02 a.m.: Committee Chair Jack Mendes from Bob's Space Racers is addressing the committee, laying out the process. We'll be starting soon.
Good morning, everyone. I'm back for another year of wall-to-wall coverage of Space Allocation for IAAPA Attractions Expo. Over the next two days the Space Allocation Committee will put 588 exhibitors on the floor for our trade show in Orlando this November.
The meeting begins at 9 a.m., but there are some housekeeping items to take care of before booth numbers start flying at 9:30 a.m. (All times I give are EDT.)
Keep refreshing this page, as I'll just update this post periodically, rather than starting a new one every time. If you have questions about your booth, e-mail exhibitsales@IAAPA.org immediately. If you have a question for me, you can post in the comments section or e-mail me directly at jschoolfield@IAAPA.org.
Thanks for following along today. Space Allocation is always one of our highest-trafficked days, so I hope this is helpful to you as we start working toward Expo.