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Story Posted 03-29-2010

ATA Attendees Say New Cost-Saving Wrinkles Huge Help

ATA Attendees Say New Cost-Saving Wrinkles Huge Help From The Outdoor Wire

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Business owners who attended the 2010 ATA Trade Show, January 13-15, in Columbus, Ohio, discovered the event's cost-saving opportunities and incentives were a difference maker and, in many cases, offset the expense to attend.

The Archery Trade Association's campaign to incentivize the Show included a coupon book for retailers valued at more than $5,000 in savings, various discounts provided exclusively to ATA Trade Show attendees to eateries in the convention center food court as well as coupons to high-end restaurants within walking distance of the Show venue. Reduced hotel rates - some as low at $99 per night - were offered through the ATA hotel block.

"Perhaps the greatest savings we can provide is a professional show that's run efficiently before, during and after the show," said Jay McAninch, ATA's CEO/president. "We also try to create programs that save time, money and effort for everyone using them. If a program doesn't meet those objectives, we improve it or try something else."

The new Big Buck Tags coupon book is one example of a program created to make the 2010 Show more cost effective for retailers. Developed by the ATA Dealer Council and Board, Big Buck Tags were meant to drive traffic to exhibitors' booths as much as it was created to provide retailers discounts on orders written with participating companies.

Among the dealers who capitalized on the coupons was Bryan Partee, owner of Escape Outdoors in Mountain Home, Ark. "It was a benefit," he said. "Anytime you can save a few dollars it's a benefit you can't turn down."

Partee emphasized that - coupons or not - the ATA Trade Show generates big savings. "I probably saved about 10 percent or more on every order I placed by being here," he said. "If you place $50,000 worth of orders here, the manufacturers' show discounts save you about $5,000. And that's without Big Buck Tags."

Big Buck Tags were given to every retail shop attending and were designed to address exhibitor and retailer demands highlighted in a 2009 post Trade Show survey. Initiated by the ATA and conducted by Responsive Management, the survey confirmed retailers were highly motivated to attend the Show to save money on product. In fact, 68 percent of retailers attending the 2009 Show identified this reason as very important.

"I'd say at least a quarter to a third of our sales came from people walking in with their Big Buck Tags," said Randy Phillips, owner and president of Arizona Rim Country Products and Archery Headquarters pro shop. Phillips is also a member of the ATA Board of Directors. "That program drove more business to our booth than I anticipated."

Those attending the event also qualified for hotel discounts including several hotels in the ATA block offered at a rate under $100.

Sandy Taylor, who works with her husband, Tracy, at Taylor's Archery in Lynchburg, Tenn., booked through ATA after shopping prices. "We read the ATA's fliers and went onto the Web site for our room," she said. "The prices through ATA were better. I know because I checked them against what we'd get on our own, and it was a lot cheaper from ATA. We stayed across the street from the convention center."

"The ATA process works well," Joe Winter of Jimbo's Archery in Calgary, Alberta, said. "We flew in, and then we took shuttle buses everywhere. The shuttles worked out great for us."

Of course, many attendees not only capitalized on hotel savings and complimentary shuttle service, they patronized restaurants providing discounts for ATA members.

"The ATA provided a lot of useful programs, information and discounts we used at the Show," said Jen Kresser, vice president of operations for Delta Sports Products. "We had big groups at dinner every night, and they ate some pretty big meals, so the discounts really added up for us."

Also this year, the ATA launched a new online registration platform. Registration opened to all working in the archery and bowhunting industry on Nov. 12. By Jan. 8 - just four days before Show open - 7,000 people had registered using the new system with more than 1,000 registering in the final week before the industry gathered in Columbus.

"Online pre-registration was so successful that it was the biggest Trade Show story of the past year," McAninch said. "Pre-registrations for the all-important dealer, buyer and distributor category met or surpassed its three-day attendance figures at several previous Shows."

Each time an attendee registers online, it saves the ATA money by reducing workload at the ATA offices. A faxed of phoned-in registration requires someone to manually record the registration, but an online platform automatically processes each online registration.

"Everything was flawless this year, whether it was registering for the Show or the hotels," said Phillips. "The ATA has streamlined everything so much. It seemed like we just had a couple of items we had to take care of, and then we were ready to go."

As in past years, the ATA will work with Responsive Management to collect data from those who attended the 2010 Trade Show. The survey will formally capture and review Show feedback, its benefits and needs for improvement.

About the ATA Trade Show: The ATA Trade Show is the archery and bowhunting industry's largest and most inclusive show. The member-driven event promotes commerce within the industry, and is owned and operated by the ATA. As the only industry show that funds archery and bowhunting growth, the ATA invests in state agencies to coordinate introductory archery initiatives such as National Archery in the Schools Program and the After School Archery Program. Over the past five years, the ATA has invested and pledged nearly $2 million to bring archery shooting facilities and introductory programs to U.S. cities. Meanwhile, the ATA also fights for bowhunting rights in courtrooms across the country. The show is closed to the public and is an order-writing event.

About the ATA: Since 1953 ATA has been the trade association for manufacturers, retailers, distributors, sales representatives and others working in the archery and bowhunting industry. ATA is dedicated to making the industry profitable by decreasing business overhead, and reducing taxes and government regulation while increasing participation in archery and bowhunting. ATA owns and manages the ATA Trade Show, the archery and bowhunting industry's largest and longest running trade show worldwide.

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