Following the lead from the anonymous contributors to The Americas Duty Free & Travel Retailing March 2019 issue, I was interested to reflect on the reformatted Summit of the Americas show at the new venue in Orlando and what we should hope for next year.

“Ensure all brand owners are exhibiting within the trade floor so that larger vendors can’t get away with just renting side rooms! All visitors will then be forced to come through!” Anonymous

The Hyatt Regency Orlando hotel was the new venue in 2019 and the floor plan can be seen below or by clicking here.

Therefore the use of ‘private suites’ has continued (pictured below) in 2019 with a number of larger vendors separate from the main trade floor and the entry area of the show.

Additionally, the ‘Buyer’s Lounge’ in the main trade floor was rarely used, with most of the seats available not utilised throughout the show in 2019. It would be best to reformat the trade floor and entry area for 2020 to try and accommodate all the vendors within the open areas of the show.

“Many buyers only come for one or two days at the most, so extended hours on Monday and Tuesday, and an earlier break down time on Wednesday would be welcomed.” Anonymous

This has remained the case in 2019, with most of the volume of visitor traffic taking place on Monday and Tuesday and a much more limited number of meetings on Wednesday morning. It would make sense to be able to break down the stands earlier on Wednesday if the format remains the same for 2020.

Alternatively, another more interesting option could be to have the first day of the event on Monday as a mix of executive conference sessions, networking and showcasing the best practice from Americas Travel Retail over the previous 12 months. The time could also be used for brands to share their news with our colleagues from the GTR trade press. That way, the following two days on Tuesday and Wednesday would be focused solely on the meetings between vendors and operators in the region. For 2020, this could ensure no time wasted on the exhibition floor.

“Reduce show costs to allow more brands to justify exhibiting. The increased costs to exhibit during the downturn, reduced hours for the show floor, and reduced traffic, meant brands had to pull out due to negative ROI.” Anonymous

The costs involved in securing the space alone at the event for Exhibitors are included on the event website – click here for link – as per information below:

The 2019 space rental fee of $22.50 per square foot ($250 per square meter) includes:

  • Rental of floor space
  • Wastebaskets (one per 100 square feet/9 square meters booked)
  • Daily cleaning of the space (vacuuming of the floor space, emptying of wastebaskets, and porter service during Summit hours)
  • Inbound and outbound freight handling fees
  • Complimentary exhibits-only registrations (allotment based on space size)
  • Complimentary wireless internet in the exhibit area
  • Listings in the mobile app, 2019 Summit Guide, and online floorplan, as well as the list of participating suppliers emailed to buyers in advance of the Summit
  • Access to lists of registered buyers to use in setting appointments and promoting your brands

The space rental fee does not include the booth shell, walls, furniture, or display cases. Electrical service is not included in the cost of space rental and must be contracted separately.

I still believe strongly that costs should be reduced further where possible for existing exhibitors and perhaps the organisers should also look to reward long term participation by providing additional benefits to repeat vendors coming back to the show, e.g. access to free coffee and tea, discounted accommodation, additional free/ complimentary tickets to the show, access to social events, etc.

They should also lower the barrier to entry for new vendors/ brand owners to attend the show for the 1st time. Actively encouraging the entry of new suppliers into the channel and making the participation into the show free of charge for the 1st year. Diversity of offer is to be welcome as an approach with an increased understanding of the channel by new suppliers, increased amount of networking and new ideas and companies entering into GTR channel as a whole.

Another great suggestion listed on the magazine in page 13 was to offer free tickets to buyers in order to attract them to the show, as this is a must for vendors, as listed below.

“One way to attract more buyers is to offer them a free pass like many domestic shows do, to allow retailers to justify bringing more buyers and attract new ones” Anonymous

“Think outside the box and do more brainstorming sessions to get fresh ideas from the new generation, not just from the large companies some of whom don’t even participate in the show but are always at their functions.” Anonymous

I think the executive conference sessions – listed here for 2019 – were welcomed by most but it would be great to have a wider variety of points of view in 2020 coming from F&B, Technology in retail, e-Commerce and more focus on segments which are disproportionally larger in the Americas such as the Cruise channel.

Needless to say, the views above are my own and I share them in the hope for continuous improvement by the organisations behind it – IAADFS and Asutil – given the positive role that the Summit of the Americas has for the whole region.

If you agree or disagree – please let me know! All views and comments are welcome.

For Reference – for a previous Inside the Cask blog post on a similar topic click here: Ideas to Step Change the Duty Free Show of the Americas

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