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Tiffany Montgomery
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SIMA President Palladini on ASR enhancements

By Tiffany Montgomery
July 14, 2009 7:53 AM

I spoke with SIMA President Doug Palladini yesterday to find out a little bit more about some ASR enhancements announced last week that are a result of SIMA and ASR working together to improve the show.

In a separate post today, I asked ASR Group Show Director Andy Tompkins some questions about the changes and how ASR and Class@ASR are shaping up.

Doug told me SIMA and its special committees worked hard to come up with concrete ideas to strengthen the ASR experience. SIMA tackled the initiative to help ensure the long-term viability of a quality trade show for its members.

After surveying its members and many discussions, SIMA focused on three key areas:

Buyer attendance - Doug said without quality buyers on the floor you don't have a tradeshow. So SIMA surveyed its members to come up with a list of the 200 top retail accounts in the country, and cross-matched that list with ASR. Doug said ASR is taking a "whatever it takes" approach to get the decision makers from those accounts to the show including VIP treatment, travel help, etc. Having the right buyers there will ensure there's value in the manufacturers being there as well, Doug said.

Show vibe - The surf industry is different than the fashion industry in that there is a sport and culture behind it, and the show should reflect that culture and soul, Doug said.

Visual merchandising that reflects the industry will  be added to entrance areas of the convention center to set the vibe of the event right as attendees walk in the door.

ASR will also be adding a 5,000 square foot lounge in the middle of the show floor as a gathering place. The space will have good coffee, something decent to eat, and a DJ playing music. The goal is to have a casual place for people to hang out or have meetings without having to go upstairs to remote meeting rooms.

Communication - The third big initiative is to improve communication about the industry and about what is happening at the show. A press conference will be added in the lobby with the heads of the biggest companies present to take questions from reporters about what they see happening with their businesses and the industry.

Also, a dedicated URL will be created that will include constant updates from the floor about key new products from companies, interviews, and a report on what is happening at the show. The idea is to create a resource page for reporters to look for ideas and trends and to showcase the good things happening with companies and at the show.

Doug said ASR has been all ears and said "yes" to every single request made by SIMA and has really had a partner attitude.

I asked if SIMA was making the same requests of other trade shows and Doug said the idea was to start with ASR and expand from there.

Click here to see Andy Tompkins of ASR's take on the upcoming show.


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