Friday, April 15, 2011

IAAPA Attractions Expo 2011 Space Allocation: Day 2—Morning Session

12:46 p.m.: OK, so there are two or three booths hanging around still. But my previous statement otherwise remains the same.

12:45 p.m.: DONE! All booths are assigned. The committee will hang around for a few minutes in case there are any move requests, so get them in ASAP.

11:54 a.m.: The committee just placed QiQi Inflatable Co., No. 620, which marks the end of our returning exhibitors. Everything from here on out—45 companies—are first-timers.

The committee is going to go grab some lunch while the IAAPA sales team assigns the first-time exhibitors. Committee members will be back about 12:30 p.m. to handle any final booth moves. If you have a request, send it to right away. The committee probably won't be here much past 1 p.m.

11:29 a.m.: While the committee continues to deal with booth moves, let me take an opportunity to give you faithful readers a heads-up for great content elsewhere on the blog. My colleague Stephanie See, IAAPA's manager of government relations and safety services, has been blogging like crazy over the past several weeks, providing updates on all sorts of U.S. government-related issues. Look down on the right of this page and click the "Government Relations" tag to find this valuable information.

11:11 a.m.: Another milemarker! Seniority No. 600, Fathom It Distributing, just went on the floor. The committee's really trying to push through and get everyone on the floor by 12:30 today.

10:54 a.m.: 575 booths on the floor. Steelman Partners just got assigned. Less than a hundred to go! Pace has slowed significantly the past half hour as a batch of booth moves came in.

10:30 a.m.: The committee is back from break, working on a few booth moves before resuming new assignments.

10:20 a.m.: I've kinda been buried in my laptop for most of this process, so for some reason I hadn't gotten a good look at how the floor is shaping up until now. I'd encourage you to go look at the interactive floor plan, because I was shocked at how full the floor looks already. It's very exciting to see that and try and picture what it will look like in person seven months from now.

Speaking of, Space Allocation has its own language it seems like at times. Terms like "full back wall," "island," "end cap," "split" and more fly around the room with hardly any words in between because everyone in here speaks the same dialect. It's impressive how the committee and the IAAPA exhibit team can visualize in three dimensions what they're seeing in 2-D on the floor plan, right down to envisioning how columns will affect people and where companies who need proximity to water drains can fit.

The last booth assigned was Inforesight Products, No. 563, and the committee is taking another short break before the final push to the end.

10 a.m.: Showtime Pictures LLC was just assigned, which means we now have 550 booths on the floor. Getting close now! A little more than a hundred to go.

9:51 a.m.: During the break I had a quick chat with Jeff Hudson, president of Skee-Ball Inc., who's marking his 10th year on the committee this time around.

From my observations in the back of the room, Jeff has been quite active during this process, as he handles all the gaming and plush companies, as well as basically any other companies affiliated with family entertainment centers. He's also been helping acclimate some of the new committee members, and based on his experience is one of those who helps assign booths that may not have a specific committee member assigned to them.

"The first meeting I was very lost, but by the second meeting I kinda got the hang of it—knowing to look ahead and see how it all flows," he said. 

Jeff said the key is, like anything else, being prepared. Over the weekend he went through the entire list of Space Allocation companies and color-coded those he's responsible for so he knows exactly when they're coming up in this fast-paced process. When he has a span of time between those companies he's identified ahead of time, that's when he starts scanning the pages for other booths he can help assign, if need be.

9:30 a.m.: The committee is back from break.

9:18 a.m.: The committee is taking a 10-minute break for some well-earned coffee. Moving at a really good clip this morning. Last booth assigned was No. 517, Theming and Animatronics Industries.

9:03 a.m.: It's cliche, I know, but I can't believe how fast time flies. The committee just placed Chuck Wagon Old-Fashioned Soda, No. 489, who has four years' seniority. If you'd asked me five minutes ago, I never would've guessed Old-Fashioned has been with us for that long; I interviewed owner Terry Schaeffer during his first Expo in 2008 because he was having such a great show and I remember it like yesterday. Terry, glad to see you've stayed with us!

Just assigned No. 500, Spin-T LLC.

8:29 a.m.: 475 booths on the floor now, as Garner Holt Productions just went on.

8:13 a.m.: The booth moves are wrapped up and now the committee is assigning new booths. I wanted to remind you to check out this page, which gives estimated times for assignments. The page was updated last night to reflect the most accurate estimates for today's timing. Remember, this is in no way 100% accurate, but at least it'll give you a feel for whether you should be watching a 9 a.m. or 10 a.m.

Good morning! The Space Allocation Committee members are filtering into the room, getting ready for an 8 a.m. start. They have about a dozen booth move requests to handle first, and then it'll be on to No. 457, Barron Games International. There's still more than 200 exhibitors to place today, and the goal is to be done by about 1 p.m. EDT.

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