Trade Show

No Free Passes: Don’t Share ID Badges at ATA Show

The ATA Trade Show is a members-only event. All attendees must be verified by ATA staff in order to receive a Show badge and access to the floor.
Photo Credit: ATA

Author: Patrick Durkin

What can retailers and exhibitors do to maximize everyone’s business potential Jan. 10-12 at the ATA Trade Show in Indianapolis?

Don’t order extra ATA Show badges or share them with people who literally have no business being on the Show floor.

“ATA staff work hard all year to verify that every name on those badges belongs to someone who earned the right to work the Show,” said Jay McAninch, ATA CEO/president. “Every year we get complaints from retailers who can’t test a new bow or speak to manufacturers because someone who shouldn’t be there is tying up time and taking up space. Exhibitors report the same problems when trying to conduct business with their top retail accounts.”

Unfortunately, those work-killing irritations are usually self-inflicted: Fellow exhibitors and retailers are giving away extra or unused Show badges.

“We need everyone’s help to solve this problem,” McAninch said. “Don’t order more badges than you’ll use. Either that, or bring more staff to visit booths, or bring more people to staff the booth. If they aren’t performing work for you, they don’t belong at the Show. They’re just taking up space, and getting between retailers and exhibitors. They’re robbing valuable time from legitimate businesses.

McAninch is confident that no trade organization works harder than the ATA to ensure businesses get enough ID badges, and that those receiving the badges deserve to wear them.

Before registering for ATA Trade Show badges, members must prove they’re a legitimate business, and fulfill specific requirements detailed for their business category. Photo Credit: ATA

Maria Lewis, senior director of the Trade Show and ATA membership, said the verification process took a big step in 2011 when the ATA Board of Directors made ATA membership mandatory for all Show attendees.

“That’s when the verification process actually begins,” Lewis said. That is, when retailers, manufacturers, media and sales-rep groups apply for ATA membership, they must prove they’re a legitimate business, and fulfill specific requirements detailed for their business category. That could include a copy of their business license, a picture of their store front, internet links to an active company website, professional membership cards, and copies of invoices from archery and bowhunting manufacturers, to name a few.

Further, a company representative must apply for ATA membership. For example, sales reps and media reps can’t make the application for retailing or manufacturing clients. In addition, all applications for individual badges must include the person’s name. The company can’t simply write, “Staff Member 1” or “Sales Staff 2.”

The ATA Board of Directors also established restrictions on how many badges companies can receive:

  • Retailers cannot receive more than six badges, and they cannot buy or receive additional badges.
  • Exhibitors with 100 to 1,000 square feet of booth space receive four badges for each 100 square feet of space. Exhibitors with larger booths receive an additional badge for each additional 100 square feet. Two badges are allotted for each shooting lane reserved. Additional badges beyond the initial allotment cost $125 each.

“Starting at the 2016 Show, we reduced the allotments for exhibitor badges to discourage people from using extra badges as giveaways,” Lewis said. “We based those changes on a survey that asked how many people manufacturers need to staff their booths, and how many people retailers bring based on their store’s size. We also audited how many badges each company requested, and how many were issued. About 80 percent of Show attendees fit the guidelines we now follow.”

To further ensure retailers and manufacturers have time to conduct business at the Show, the ATA revised its media requirements in 2016. Media members must pay $100 each to attend if their company/organization is an ATA member, or $150 if they’re not members. Media who belong to the Outdoor Writers Association of America, the Professional Outdoor Media Association, Southeastern Outdoor Press Association, Hoosier Outdoor Writers, Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers, Tennessee Outdoor Writers Association, and other qualifying writers’ groups receive a free badge. Media registration for the Show ended Dec. 22. Those who didn’t register by then cannot attend the Show.

People wearing a “Press” badge cannot try to sell advertising space, or solicit sponsorships or partnerships. Those privileges are reserved solely for those with “Media Sales” badges.

The ATA revised its press and media requirements in 2016. Anyone registered for a press badge must attend the ATA Trade Show to cover the event as a journalist through print, film, radio or digital media. Photo Credit: ATA

As a final check, ATA staff audits the list of all registered attendees before the Show opens. They eliminate badges that don’t meet the Show’s verification criteria.

McAninch and Lewis encourage all Show attendees to help enforce the Show’s badge restrictions and requirements. “We can’t be everywhere, so we ask everyone’s help in enforcing ATA policies,” McAninch said. “If someone is wearing another person’s badge or doing business that’s not allowed by their badge type, we need their name. They’ll be escorted out and banned from the Show.”

Lewis said the restrictions are necessary to ensure the Show achieves its mission. “This is a trade show, not a consumer show, so we’re doing everything we can to make it the industry’s biggest order-writing event of the year,” Lewis said. “Our rules try to eliminate anything that interferes with the Show’s main mission.”

As a reminder, all attendees must wear a 2017 Trade Show badge when on the Show floor. The color bar on bottom identifies the attendee’s work category. Security personnel at the entrances use the color bar to determine whether to allow entry. Other security personnel will be stationed at the press room, food courts, Featured Products area, and International Resource Center to monitor entry. Others will roam the exhibit halls and outside hallways to guard against thefts and misconduct.

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