IAAPA Expo 2023 was a monumental gathering of minds, innovations, and record-breaking achievements, leaving an indelible mark on the 36,000 attendees from over 100 countries. With a sold-out show floor featuring 1,100 exhibitors, including 200 first-timers, this year's event transcended expectations, setting the stage for groundbreaking insights, collaborative learning, and philanthropic endeavors.
At ROLLER, we were so glad to have had the opportunity to exhibit, speak, and be platinum sponsors of this event which is so important to the growth and development of the attractions industry. Here we’re breaking down everything you need to know about the show.
Exploring the vibrant show floor
The bustling show floor was a testament to the industry's health, with ambitious conversations and the presence of both familiar and new faces. Attendees had the unique opportunity to explore cutting-edge technologies, innovative solutions, and delightful snacks, providing a comprehensive overview of the latest trends across the attractions industry.
In case you missed us – ROLLER was delighted to exhibit at booth 4829, taking up 1,600 square feet on the tradeshow floor. There we were able to chat with existing customers and new operators about some of our most recent news – the release of mobile F&B ordering and our latest funding round. Each day we had a social engagement at the booth, which provided an excellent opportunity for building and maintaining relationships, uncovering solutions to new challenges, and learning from this incredible community.
Educational empowerment for venue operators
The event exceeded far beyond the show floor, offering enriching EDUSessions, Learning Lunches, and EDUTalks. A staggering 16,357 participants engaged with 311 expert speakers, creating a dynamic platform for thought leaders to share valuable insights. The recorded sessions on the IAAPA Connect+ app ensure that the learning will continue to resonate long after the event concludes.
At ROLLER, we were pleased to speak on “How Data-Driven Tech Drives Business Growth and Helps Deliver World-Class Experiences,” which took place Wednesday, November 15 | 12:30 - 12:50 p.m. at EDUTalk Stage S220DE. There Greg Spittle, VP of Strategy at ROLLER, Chris McBoyle, Account Executive at ROLLER, and ROLLER customer David Lim, Franchise Owner of Bounce Inc, discussed how venue owners and operators can use data to reach more guests, drive more revenue, and grow their businesses without making sacrifices to deliver great experiences for their guests.
Innovation in guest experience & venue management
Taking innovation to new heights, IAAPA Expo 2023 orchestrated a breathtaking display of 1,600 drones in the air, achieving two Guinness World Records. This mesmerizing spectacle left attendees in awe and showcased the limitless possibilities of technology within the attractions industry.
IAAPA Expo is a place where companies debut new products and plans, and ideas are shared among industry contemporaries all week. Some reoccurring trends in venue management were:
1. Enhanced accessibility: Exhibitors showcased cutting-edge solutions aimed at making attractions more accessible to a diverse range of visitors. From inclusive design principles to assistive technologies, the industry is actively embracing innovations that ensure everyone can partake in the magic.
2. Sustainable practices: A growing emphasis on sustainability echoed throughout the expo. Companies are increasingly integrating eco-friendly practices into their venue management strategies, from energy-efficient technologies to waste reduction initiatives. This shift reflects a broader commitment to environmental stewardship within the attractions landscape.
3. Interactive and immersive experiences: The era of passive observation is giving way to interactive and immersive attractions. From augmented reality installations to interactive exhibits, the industry is crafting experiences that engage visitors on a deeper level, fostering memorable moments that extend beyond the visit itself.
A heartfelt commitment to philanthropy
Beyond the grandeur of innovation, the event underscored the industry's commitment to making a positive impact. A remarkable $26,000 USD was raised for the IAAPA Foundation, demonstrating a collective effort to support industry initiatives and educational programs.
IAAPA Expo 2023 was more than just an event; it was a convergence of ideas and creativity on a global scale. From record-breaking moments to diverse insights and a commitment to philanthropy, the event encapsulated the spirit of the industry. With sore feet and happy hearts, attendees left feeling that it was a fantastic way to close out 2023.
Focusing on FEC growth & attraction diversity
Being a platinum sponsor at IAAPA Expo 2023 was more than just a badge and a booth; it was a front-row seat to an immersive experience that went beyond the boundaries of the show floor. One of the highlights was undoubtedly the FEC Reception, a high-energy affair that set the tone for IAAPA week. Imagine being in a room buzzing with over 400 FEC and LBE professionals, a gathering where the pulse of the industry echoed in every conversation and exchange.
From seasoned professionals sharing insights to newcomers navigating the landscape, the diversity of attendees provided a rich tapestry of perspectives. The opportunity to be part of this vibrant community allowed for meaningful interactions, where ideas were exchanged, partnerships were formed, and the collective energy of the FEC industry was palpable.
But it didn't stop there. Our engagement with the IAAPA Leadership team added a personalized touch to the overall experience. Interactions with both outgoing and incoming Chairmen provided a unique insight into the vision driving IAAPA and the pulse of the industry. These moments were more than just handshakes and photo opportunities; they were genuine conversations that underscored the sense of community and shared commitment to advancing the future of family entertainment.
As we reflect on our role as a platinum sponsor, it's not just about the promotional value or visibility. It's about being an integral part of a community that shapes the narrative of the industry. The IAAPA Expo 2023 wasn't merely a trade show; it was a collaborative space where innovation, passion, and expertise converged. Our sponsorship didn't just support the event; it became a conduit for meaningful connections, a catalyst for industry growth, and a testament to our dedication to the vibrant world of family entertainment centers.
Emerging trends in attractions & leisure
Several noteworthy trends emerged during the IAAPA Expo 2023. From the addition of more attractions to the emphasis on enhanced F&B offerings, companies demonstrated a keen interest in consolidating systems to understand their businesses better. The increasing prevalence of online booking systems signaled a shift towards a more streamlined and tech-savvy approach.
Expanding attractions portfolio
- One prominent trend that echoed throughout IAAPA Expo 2023 was the industry's collective focus on expanding attractions portfolios.
- Exhibitors and discussions alike highlighted a growing interest in diversifying the range of offerings within entertainment venues. Whether it's incorporating immersive experiences, interactive exhibits, or novel entertainment concepts, businesses are actively seeking ways to captivate audiences with a broader array of attractions.
Elevating F&B experiences
- Another compelling trend underscored during the expo was the heightened emphasis on enhancing Food and Beverage (F&B) experiences within attractions. Beyond the traditional fare, businesses are investing in gourmet offerings, themed dining experiences, and unique culinary collaborations.
- The recognition of F&B as a crucial component of the overall guest experience signals a shift toward creating memorable moments not just through attractions but also through culinary adventures.
Holistic business understanding
- IAAPA Expo 2023 revealed a noteworthy trend of companies seeking to consolidate systems and gain a more comprehensive understanding of their businesses. With an increasing array of technologies available, businesses are leveraging integrated systems that provide holistic insights into operations, guest behavior, and overall performance.
- This trend reflects a strategic move towards data-driven decision-making, fostering efficiency and informed strategies for sustainable growth.
Tech-driven online booking
- The prevalence of online booking systems emerged as a key trend, reflecting a growing demand for streamlined, tech-driven processes. Attendees showed a keen interest in adopting digital platforms that facilitate ticket purchases, reservations, and other transactions.
- This not only streamlines the visitor experience but also allows businesses to gather valuable data for personalized marketing efforts. The integration of user-friendly, secure online booking platforms is becoming increasingly integral to the attractions industry's evolving landscape.
IAAPA Expo 2023 was a convergence of industry leaders, innovators, and enthusiasts, showcasing the very essence of the attractions industry. The event left an indelible mark on the global attractions community with a vibrant show floor, educational empowerment, groundbreaking innovations, and a commitment to philanthropy. We can’t wait to see what next year has in store!