The ATA Trade Show will be held in Indianapolis for seven of the next nine years, beginning in 2015.
ATA President/CEO Jay McAninch signed the long-term deal during a ceremony April 25 in Indianapolis. More specifically, McAninch signed two contracts – with Visit Indy and the Indiana Convention Center – to hold the Show in Indy in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2020 to 2023.
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard attended the ceremony to voice his support for ATA’s commitment to Indianapolis and the partnership. “It’s an honor to have ATA meeting in our city, and we are proud to host this growing event for years to come,” Ballard said.
McAninch said the agreement helps ATA and its members host the best possible show. Indianapolis’ location, its convenient hotels and dining, and its experienced, knowledgeable staff are great fits for the Show.
Studies of ATA members found 70 percent of them drive to the Show, so ATA strives to hold the Show in cities most convenient for this majority. The Show was held in Indianapolis six times between 2001 and 2011.
After the 2014 Show in Nashville, Tennessee, ATA surveyed nearly 500 core attendees and asked their preference for the Show’s location. Forty percent of those surveyed said they preferred Indianapolis, while only 7 percent indicated they didn’t want the Show in Indianapolis. No other city ranked so high in those combined categories.
“We don’t take the Show where our staff or board want to go; we take it where the attendees want to go, and they chose Indy overwhelmingly,” McAninch said. “It’s been a favored location for years, and we’re pleased to return.”
Confidence in Staff and Facilities
The agreement also shows the ATA’s trust and confidence in Indy’s leaders, many of whom attended April’s signing ceremony. McAninch said ATA has worked with the city’s key players since 2011 to bring the Show back.
Another benefit Indy provides is the city’s experienced Visitor and Convention Center staff, most of whom have work with ATA since 2001. They have a solid working relationship with ATA and know the Show’s demands. Barney Levengood, executive director of the Indiana Convention Center; Donna Hill, senior sales manager for the Convention Center; and Nicole Perry, national sales manager for Visit Indy, attended the signing and worked on previous shows.
Leonard Hoops, president and CEO of Visit Indy, said the staffs at Visit Indy, the Convention Center, and the city’s hotel partners enjoy working with ATA’s team and are excited to reignite the partnership for 2015 and beyond.
“Indy and ATA have a long and rich history together, and are a great fit,” Hoops said. “ATA has shared with us that Indy is consistently at the top of destination-preference surveys for attendees and exhibitors alike, and Indy certainly loves ATA attendees and exhibitors. Those of us in Indy’s hospitality community couldn’t be more delighted than to ring in the New Year for seven of the next nine years with ATA. And we’re going to do whatever we can to make Indy the permanent home of the annual Trade Show!”
Thanks to extensive renovations, the Indiana Convention Center has a large, open floor that allows ATA flexibility not available in many locations. In 2011, the Show occupied halls A through G, which accounted for 327,600 square feet of space. ATA used all of it for the Show floor.
Convention center expansions added 239,000 square feet in halls H through K. The new Hoosier Lobby and 16 meeting rooms also were added. Renovations to an existing food court and the addition of another food court provide additional seating.
In 2015, ATA will use halls C through K – 474,000 square feet – for booth space. The ARRO Hot Show will be in Hall A, placing it closer than ever to the Show floor. Hall B will be dedicated to the Retail Archery Academy and ATA program demonstrations. Hall B is accessible directly from the Show floor. Thanks to large, open and flexible space, the Show floor will include a Retailer and Exhibitor Food Court and Lounge, the Featured Products section and three Business Hub locations.
Connected Hotel Rooms
Since 2011, Indianapolis has hosted a Super Bowl, created the 7.5-mile Indianapolis Cultural Trail, and been named America’s Best Convention City in “USA Today.” But the distinction ATA Show attendees might like best is that Indianapolis’ Convention Center connects to more hotel rooms (4,700) than any other similar setup in the nation.
In 2011 ATA used rooms at six hotels that connected directly to the Convention Center, with 1,650 rooms in the block. In 2015, eight hotels with 2,639 total rooms in the ATA block will connect to the Convention Center via heated walkways.
“In Indy, Show attendees can arrive at their hotel, remove their jacket and not need it again until they head home,” McAninch said. “We’ve always dealt with having attendees scattered around downtown in various hotels, but that’s tough when the weather is extremely cold, as it was in Nashville. Now we’re in a unique position where everyone can stay in a connected, convenient room if they choose.”
Close Dining Options
Show attendees also can enjoy convenient dining options while in Indianapolis. Roughly 250 pubs, shops, restaurants and attractions are within walking distance of the 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 aren’t nearby so Show attendees can easily meet, the talking, buying and negotiating stops. Indy’s high-density food options increase opportunities for a more successful Show by keeping conversations alive after the Show floor closes.”