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Club Managers Tradeshow - CMAA Show From Our Perspective

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March 01, 2003
Club Management
Joan Arkins

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© 2003 Hospitality Upgrade. No reproduction without written permission.

At Hospitality Upgrade, we strive to be the single source for technol-ogy news in hotel, travel, leisure and foodservice. Along the way we’ve seen an increase in the number of subscribers from the club industry. We have found that over 1,500 readers of Hospitality Upgrade are club technology decision makers. In an effort to better address the needs of our club readers (you asked and we listened), Rich Siegel and I attended the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) World Conference and Exposition this February in Miami. The CMAA organization has held a World Conference for the past 76 years, adding a tradeshow 26 years ago. The conference starts with two days of pre-conference workshops followed by a two-day tradeshow. The final three days are filled with educational seminars.

At the CMAA show we found that not all  clubs are created equal. Needs of city clubs vary from those of golf clubs. While private equity clubs have different priorities from an individual club. Whether a club is run by a board or by a management company affects the priorities of the club as well.

The diversity of the club market is one Integrated Business Systems (IBS) feels they have a grasp on; they were debuting new touchscreens and an accounting package. Martin Thompson, director of customer support and marketing with IBS was pleased with the show overall. Although he didn’t get the impression everyone was there to buy, Thompson didn’t feel that was a negative. “We look to shows to not only generate leads but also as an opportunity to meet clients face to face.” Thompson says they plan to have a larger presence at next year’s CMAA Expo in Anaheim, Calif.

It must be difficult to hold a show that competes with the sunshine and sand of Miami Beach. Peter Dehlinger of Gatekeeper Business Solutions thinks the sun and sand of south Florida is the main reason show traffic dropped off dramatically the second day. “Traffic was good Monday, but dropped off by two-thirds on Tuesday,” said Dehlinger, a three-time exhibitor at CMAA.

But isn’t that some of what lures attendees to tradeshows? Dehlinger said, “If you’re a club manager from Michigan, location is part of the appeal. Some attendees go for education, others go for a week’s vacation.” Attendance was the largest in the show’s 26-year history according to Guy Doria, CMAA senior director of meetings, conferences and expositions. Doria said they didn’t see the 15 percent to 20 percent drop they were expecting. “Everyone took a hit post-Sept. 11, but this was a strong show compared to past years.” He said attendance is estimated to have been around 3,000 and claims every booth sold out. Exhibitors and attendees know the majority of show traffic was on Monday.

Joan Arkins is the newest member of the Hospitality Upgrade team, joining us as associate publisher in November 2002. Joan previously worked at Fox 5-Atlanta.

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