|Home of the Buffalo Bisons|
|Movies used be cheap!|
Going to the show used to be all about fun. Checking out the cool airplanes, watching the Blue Angels do their thing, rummaging through miles of parts bins looking for the right-side shoulder belt holder for a 1976 Cessna 150M (thank you eBay!) or spending money on the latest doo-dad that I just HAD to have in my cockpit because all the cool pilots did. Those were the days...
|I used to actually watch the airshow...|
First, exhibit space must be secured. This means strategizing over location vs. cost, convenience vs. visibility and eating vs. sleeping. It also means negotiating a contract with the venue and negotiating the cost sharing between us and our strategic partners (Bristell USA LP and True Flight Aerospace will both be with us at Sun 'n Fun.). Rick gets to do this fun stuff.
Next is the media. The shows are opportunities to get in front of the aviation media and get word out about our news and programs. This means arranging press conferences, media briefings, press releases, radio ads, print ads and social media presence. This is my job. And it does not end until well after the show closes, as there are always follow-ups to, well, follow-up on.
And we'll have a few hundred meetings while at the show. Vendors, partners, potential vendors and partners, lots and lots of customers, and miscellaneous others we'll need to talk to. Gotta get ready for all of them.
What about accommodations? Oh, we only need a bunch of rooms in the same hotel for the same very busy block of time. Oh, all those rooms need to be near the show and as inexpensive as possible. Free breakfast is nice, and free wi-fi critical. And we can't tell you far in advance who is coming and therefore how many rooms we actually need as business considerations change every day. Rick is much more charming than I am, so he gets to schmooze reservations agents. Add a rental car for driving all over Polk County in search of various things we'll be sure to need. And don't forget airfare, since we carry LOTS OF STUFF to these shows -more than fits in the back of my plane.)
Speaking of stuff, here's a sampling of some of what we have to get ready:
- palm cards
- brochures/promo materials
- price lists
- stress balls (you can see where these might come in handy...)
- great big check to do a little presentation
- banners, signs, and various display items
- a whole carton of AOPA Pilot from January (the Bristell is on the cover.)
- forms/receipts/clipboards/pens (lots of pens...)
- logo-laden clothing to wear
- business cards
- orientation materials for Flight Center Director Candidates
- A bunch more miscellaneous stuff I can't stand to think about right now.
Air show? You mean there are airplanes around here and we are on the grounds of an airport? Who knew?! Let me add that to the social media feed I am generating about the show! (Yes, check us out on Twitter and Facebook for live updates!)
Don't get me wrong. I am NOT complaining. I love my job and I love aviation and I love airports. But it was easier back in the day when "going to the show" did not require months of planning and weeks of follow-up. Simpler times...
|Let's all go to the show!|