SEP 2017

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 7 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 26 FEATURE: TRADE SHOWS & EXPO HALLS remains quiet, listening to a speaker at the front of the room. Attendees are now treated to a much more interactive way of experts sharing informa- tion. "We tried to have traditional seminars for years with one man at the mic but attention spans are short and no one wanted to sit down and listen for that length of time. People can also be intim- idated to raise their hands and ask questions in front of a large group," said Melissa Miller, event organizer for the Mobile Boat Show, presented by Mobile-based Gulf Coast Shows. "We have done something that's really been great. Now we have regional guide corners where an expert is ready to share their passion and anyone can come up who wants to ask a question. We've had a re- ally positive response from doing it this way. It's a lot more personal and fun." Appointment-based trade shows have been happening for a while, according to Kieffer, but they are gaining momentum. "They are ideal for suppliers and give that one-on-one interaction. Lots of suppliers now have over-the-top social events, making it experiential for that destination. I love going into big spaces and seeing how they are showcasing the destination through the sights, smells and tastes of the city," she said. The Right Show Space When it comes time to find the right venue, Payne emphasized that exhibition organizers want space that will create an animated, expres- sive atmosphere for attendees. "Of course, there is the standard answer of ample space, great Wi-Fi and an excellent location, but it's more than that," she said. "We need a partner who un- derstands our needs and will join us to brainstorm inventive solutions, as each of our vendors has a different objective. Our goal is to find the right solution to showcase their products." And it's so important to work with destination officials so you can, together, create the perfect show experience. "I'm most excited about our upcoming 2019 GME Conference which will be held at Music City Center in Nashville," said Payne. "I've been working with Nashville on the details and I'm already excited about the commit- ment from our partners. The convention center and CVB have been helpful, coming up with cre- ative solutions for our attendees. Our event hosts 5,000 millennials, 2,000 vendors and another 4,000 gaming enthusiasts who expect excitement, gamification and engagement. From housing to meals and on to events, we're creating a fun, en- gaging approach to our event," she said. ► b o r n t o c e l e b r a t e Y O U R N E X T C O N F E R E N C E W I N A C H A N C E T O V I S I T H I S T O R I C M O B I L E F O L L O W E D B Y A C A R I B B E A N C RU I S E ! F O R M O R E D E TA I L S , G O T O W W W.M E E T I N M O B I L E.O R G WasabiCon Draws Attendees With Contests Galore Comic, anime, cosplay, paranormal, tabletop and video games, and all things "geek" have found a home at WasabiCon, an annual pop culture convention started in Jack- sonville, Fla. in 2012. This year's event, which will be held at the Lexington Hotel and Conference Center Riverwalk Oct. 21 and 22, is enticing attendees with several fun contests. WasabiCon Costume Contest: Held near Halloween, WasabiCon lets attendees get in on the fun, showing off their best "geek" costume and winning prizes. Jax Smash Ultimate: Jacksonville-based Video Game Rescue began hosting a weekly Super Smash Bros. Wii U Tournament in its store on Aug. 24, which will lead up to WasabiCon. The winner of each tournament will win a free weekend pass to WasabiCon 2017 and will be invited to play against all the other tournament winners for the title of the Sunshine State's SUPER SMASH MASTER. Tickets to the Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions concert in Orlando: Attendees of last year's event got the chance to win two tickets to this video game concert featuring the music of Pokémon, by showing off their love of Pokémon and sending a photo of their Pokémon fandom to WasabiCon. n

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