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Making the Most of Your Time at IAAPA

22 October 2018 | Blog Posts

Photo of the Player One Amusement Group booth at IAAPA

Photo of article authorIt’s hard to believe that IAAPA is once again fast approaching. Last year, there was a record number of attendees from all around the world congregating in Orlando – the Expo was bigger and busier than ever.

Both attendees and exhibitors have always come to expect a week filled with fun, innovation and great people. No matter if you’re new to the industry or have been in the game for decades like we have, there’s always something new to see, experience and learn. There are miles of aisles consisting of innovative products, services and ideas to help you grow your business with amusements and attractions.

Given that November will be upon us before we know it, I thought it would be timely to share a few quick tips to help make the most of your time there. The trade show floor is simply massive – with over 550,000 square feet of exhibit space, it can take more than 15 minutes just to walk to each end, so it’s important to have a plan. That and comfortable shoes!

Keys to a Productive Trip to IAAPA

SET YOUR GOALS & OBJECTIVES – are there you looking to identifying possible solutions or opportunities for specific needs of your business? Further develop your skills in a functional area? Gain a better understanding of the upcoming trends and technologies? Or generating leads? Whatever your objectives, it’s always good to start with thinking about and setting your goals to ensure a purposeful and productive trip.

MAP THE EXHIBITS YOU WANT TO VISIT – there’s so much to see and do that time can escape you. You can save a ton of time by using IAAPA’s online “My Expo Plan” to help map out all the exhibits you’re interested in visiting and provide you with a logistical plan when making your rounds on the show floor. If you’re coming in with a few colleagues, make sure you try to divide and conquer so you can share all the amazing things you’ve seen and learned.

ADD A FEW EDUCATIONAL SEMINARS DIRECTLY INTO YOUR AGENDA – there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for professional development, connecting with others, or want to learn from the best people across the industry, there are plenty of interesting topics and sessions to attend. Review the educational seminars that are available in advance and budget time to attend the ones you’re most interested in.

TRY TO SCHEDULE MEETINGS IN ADVANCE – make a list of who you want to talk to and try to schedule your meetings in advance. While you can have walkups and impromptu meetings, you don’t want to miss your chance at connecting with those who are on your priority list. A lot of vendors are happy to block time off for you in advance of the show so you’re not scrambling to juggle your time at the expo.

NETWORK – there are many opportunities to network and meet lots of incredible people, so don’t forget to bring your business cards. IAAPA also has a variety of official networking events for you to attend as well, including ones for specific industry verticals. You can also mark your calendars for the third annual P1AG Social, taking place in our booth on Wednesday of the tradeshow.

TAKE NOTES – bring a notebook or use your phone to take notes of the things you’ve seen, ideas that sparked and the people you’ve met. There’s a lot to take in and you don’t want to miss out on great opportunities. A piece of advice I’d offer is to request information via email. That way you won’t have to worry about carrying it around throughout the show and packing them into your luggage. A lot of exhibitors may also have exclusive promotions and offers, take special note of those for an opportunity to take advantage and save.

HAVE FUN – Take breaks when you need them and of course, have fun. One of my favorite memories of IAAPA involves one of my earlier shows. I visited the “Morris Costumes” booth and was truly amazed. They are a provider of costumes, props, and special effects and have some amazing props that can really scare the bleeps out of you! This just showcases the depth of the industry and how many different types of venues the entertainment business encompasses. It’s always exciting to walk into the show the first day every year and see all the incredible exhibits, especially the games!

Happy planning and I hope to see and meet you at the show.


Jon W. Brady was previously CEO and Corporate Secretary of Brady Distributing Company and now serves as the Vice President of Business Development of the merged Player One Amusement Group. He oversees the management of sales and purchasing for all of their distribution offices in the US market. Jon W. started with the company full time in 1992 but has worked in the industry all his life. Brady Distributing was founded in 1944 in Charlotte, NC by his grandfather, C. B. Brady. In addition to his corporate duties, Jon W. is active within several of the amusement industry’s associations, and has been to almost every IAAPA Expo for the past 25 years – missing only one in 2008 when his son was born.

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