Each year, our team has the unique pleasure of supporting the planning and execution of the highly anticipated IAAPA Expo – the largest trade show for the attractions industry – hosted here in Orlando at the beautiful Orange County Convention Center. Although I don’t work directly in support of the IAAPA Expo account team, another client that I support – accesso®, the leading technology solutions provider to the leisure & entertainment industry – attends and exhibits at the annual event.
Surprisingly, among the many important lessons I learned during my first time attending IAAPA Expo last month, the one that stands out is not about public relations strategies or tactics, but about the importance of treating all our relationships with kindness and respect – an appropriately timed reminder as we enter the holiday season.
Along with the chance to join 900+ companies exhibiting on IAAPA Expo’s 560,000-square-foot trade show floor, our client, accesso, secured the opportunity to share an educational presentation by Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Jacobs about the positive impact of mobile-accessible virtual queuing on the modern guest experience. As accesso’s public relations partner, it’s a key part of our job to support thought leadership opportunities like this one and to ensure the engagement is on the radar of key editorial contacts in attendance.
In the weeks leading up to IAAPA Expo, our accesso team targeted and connected with multiple industry trade media contacts, inviting them to attend and cover the presentation. I got to meet many of them – from the editor of Park World to the publisher of Amusement Today – in person and we collaborated in the weeks following to support story development.
One of those contacts was Marcus Gaines, but we didn’t know Marcus as a media contact at first. Rather, we were first introduced to him as a vendor for video production on a different project, unrelated to IAAPA Expo. He was always courteous, friendly and quick to respond; and, of course, we returned the favor, even under increased pressure in the weeks and days prior to IAAPA Expo. Little did we know, our work to build such a positive, mutually beneficial relationship with Marcus in his capacity as a vendor was about to pay off in a big way.
Days prior to accesso’s speaking engagement, our team was reviewing the current list of media expected in attendance at IAAPA Expo and spotted a familiar name – Marcus Gaines. However, Marcus wasn’t listed as a video vendor. He was listed as a representative of BBC News! Marcus was attending IAAPA Expo as a video producer for BBC News and to support a variety of leading industry trade publications, such as Kirmes & Park Revue.
We extended an invitation to accesso’s presentation, which Marcus quickly accepted. Not only did Marcus make it to the accesso engagement to glean insights for the publications he was representing, but we were also able to lay the foundation for an accesso-focused feature with BBC News’ technology program, Click!, for 2022.
In our industry, it’s common to hear “you never know who you know,” and it was pretty cool to see that concept come to life before my eyes through our team’s growing relationship with Marcus. It was a great reminder of the importance of treating every relationship with genuine care and respect.