On the heels of another successful Summer Market in August, Outdoor Retailer (OR) and Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) recently collected and assessed input from more than 3,000 tradeshow stakeholders in an effort to understand the needs and priorities of the industry as Outdoor Retailer continues to outgrow existing facilities in Salt Lake City.
The results confirmed what the industry organizations anecdotally knew to be true about the growing challenges for the show to fit within the Salt Palace Convention Center.
“We will continue to work with city and public officials in Salt Lake and Denver, industry favorites as potential host cities – both of which are currently too small to meet the tradeshow’s needs in one venue,” said Kenji Haroutunian, Nielsen Expo Outdoor Group vice president and OR show director. “That being said, we are also pursuing other venues that are large enough to house OR. We will weigh these options with stakeholder feedback and we hope to have a decision on location by the end of the year.”
Industry input and participation in the Collective Voice process leading to a decision has been strong. In addition to the survey responses, more than 2,300 individuals provided direct comments and feedback through the Collective Voice Forum; and hundreds of face-to-face and phone conversations with key stakeholders were conducted before and during the recent Outdoor Retailer Summer Market.
A few key findings from the survey include:
>> Of the respondents, 40 percent were exhibitors, 37 percent retailers and 14 percent reps.
>> Salt Lake City is the top choice of both retailers and exhibitors if expanded exhibit space and hotel rooms can be provided. Moving the show to two different venues within SLC had 38 percent support and 37 percent opposition from non-Utah based retailers.
>> More than 85 percent of all exhibitors stated they would not accept a move from the main floor of the tradeshow even if a move was necessary to keep the show in Salt Lake City.
>> Of the retailer respondents, 28 percent of those were from Utah and 80 percent of those Utah based retailers are in favor of remaining in Utah no matter what the scenario.
>> However, challenges with Summer Market needs are clearly being felt with 43 percent of non-Utah retailers in favor of moving; 40 percent are not in favor and the remainder are neutral.
>> Denver is the second highest rated location, again only if exhibit and hotel needs can be met. (Currently the Denver convention facility is not large enough to accommodate Outdoor Retailer)
>> Of the non-Utah based retailer respondents, 41 percent are not in favor of controlling show growth by limiting market segments with 40 percent in support of the limitations. When it comes to limiting new exhibitors overall, retailers are split 37 percent in favor and 44 percent opposing. The balance of respondents were neutral on these questions.
A summary of the findings is available here.
In the last 16 years, Outdoor Retailer has grown to be the iconic tradeshow for the outdoor industry, driving more than $40 million annually into the Salt Lake City community. While this growth is positive for the market, the tradeshow now requires more floor space, hotel rooms, rental cars and cabs than the city has to offer. Outdoor Retailer and OIA have been working with five cities, including Salt Lake City, to identify long-term solutions that meet the needs of the tradeshow.
“We are a size 10 foot trying to fit into a size 8 shoe in all aspects,” said Lori Herrera, executive vice president of OIA. “Through the vetting process and stakeholder feedback we know, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It is also clear that to continue to meet the physical needs of the show in Salt Lake City, we must have the support of the community and local and state elected officials.”
During Summer Market, Utah Governor Gary Herbert agreed to develop a recreation vision for Utah, a positive step that if done right, would recognize the importance of balancing economic and public lands policies. A state’s outdoor recreation vision and policy platform is not the deciding factor for the future location of the show, but it does create an attractive and healthy long-term environment for the industry.
In the end, it is clear that Outdoor Retailer is a vitally important and very successful show for the outdoor industry. For more information about the decision making process and potential host cities please visit: www.outdoorretailer.com/collective-voice