Securing host cities far in advance for the Archery Trade Association’s annual Trade Show gives the ATA leverage during negotiations and helps its members save money.
During a recent press conference, ATA CEO/president Jay McAninch signed a deal to hold the ATA Show in Louisville, Kentucky, in January 2016. The Show also might return to Louisville in 2019 and 2024. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and other city representatives at the press conference were proud of the city’s growth, and upbeat about the ATA Show being held there.
The likely three-year deal with Louisville was announced soon after ATA agreed to a multi-year contract with Indianapolis to hold the Show there seven of the next nine years, starting in 2015.
“Long-term bookings offer many advantages, which is why we consider Show locations 10 years in advance,” McAninch said. “In Louisville, ATA Show attendees can book low prices on hotel rooms within ATA’s hotel block. We also negotiated discounts on Wi-Fi and catering services. When prices on essential services are reasonable, costs for members to attend the Show remain reasonable.”
Returning to certain cities also means working with people who have positive relationships with ATA members and staff, and an understanding of the ATA Show. Angi van Berg, Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau’s vice president of trade show sales, has worked closely with ATA since 2005. McAninch said familiarity with the Show and its requirements allows the event to run smoothly.
Even so, the ATA continually considers new options and locations to host the Show to ensure members remain pleased with chosen locations.
Choices Based on Research
“ATA has surveyed its members since 2009, and we work to take the Show where they want to go,” McAninch said. “Based on the Show’s needs and our members’ travel preferences, Indy is our members’ favorite by far and Louisville is in the top three..”
Based on its research, ATA held the Show in four different cities in four years: Indianapolis in 2011; Columbus, Ohio, in 2012; Louisville in 2013; and Nashville in 2014. Because of the Show’s continued growth and space requirements, the ATA recently ruled out Nashville and Columbus for potential returns. However, McAninch said both cities could be considered in the future if they continue renovating to grow their space and increasing their amenities.
ATA’s members-first approach, multiple surveys, research and negotiations help ATA leaders decide where best to strike multi-year deals with cities. McAninch said the ATA considers many Show needs, including accessibility, space and amenities.
The ease of reaching the city, its hotels and the Show floor are important considerations to ATA members. Research shows most ATA members prefer “second-tier cities,” which are smaller than cities like Chicago, New York and Las Vegas. Previous surveys of preferred travel distances and modes of travel found 70 percent of ATA member-retailers drive to the Show. Therefore, most members want the Show to remain in the upper Midwest (called the “Mideast” by some members).
For the 2015 Show in Indianapolis, eight hotels with 2,639 total rooms in the ATA block connect to the Indiana Convention Center via heated walkways. This means Show attendees can arrive at their hotel, hang their jacket in their room, and leave it there until heading home.
Louisville, meanwhile, offers ample parking near the Show floor, so attendees can drive their cars and trucks to the Kentucky Exposition Center or ride a shuttle.
The Indiana Convention Center has a large, open floor that allows flexibility not available in many cities. In 2015, ATA will use halls C through K – 474,000 square feet – for booth space. Further, the ARRO Hot Show, Retail Archery Academy and ATA program demonstrations will be near or alongside the Show floor. The floor also will include the Featured Products area, three business-hub locations, and retailer and exhibitor food courts and lounges.
McAninch said Louisville also provides ample space on the Show floor.
“Louisville is a vibrant, accessible city that’s well-suited to handle our national and international companies and their staffs,” he said. “The Kentucky Exposition Center offers abundant floor space, That’s invaluable to us. Our Show is growing and this floor allows for that growth. It’s also important for the Show to bring features — our Featured Product area, shooting lanes, business hubs, lounges and diverse food offerings — onto the main floor to make it easier for retailers to cover the Show.”
Show attendees also can enjoy convenient dining options in Indianapolis. Roughly 250 pubs, shops, restaurants and attractions are within walking distance of the Indiana Convention Center and downtown hotels. McAninch said convenient food options are good for attendees and their business.
“Manufacturers and retailers come to the ATA Show to network within the archery and bowhunting industry,” McAninch said. “It isn’t possible to talk with everyone on the Show floor, but when the floor closes, everyone scatters. If restaurants are nearby, Show attendees can easily meet and continue talking, buying and negotiating.”
Downtown Louisville is 7 miles from the Kentucky Exposition Center, but the area is growing quickly. Downtown Louisville has many venues where ATA might hold entertainment and evening events. Although hotels don’t connect to the convention center, McAninch said the shuttle system employed by ATA during the Show in Louisville in 2013 was “highly successful,” and a similar system will be used in 2016.
ATA registration and the hotel block for ATA members are open for the 2015 Trade Show, which will take place Jan. 8 to 10, 2015, in Indianapolis. Register for the 2015 ATA Show now!