Convention officials breathed a sigh of relief when registration at the American Society of Association Executive's annual convention in Hawaii this summer turned out to be about 4,100 people.
“Given the economy [and the location of the meeting], we worried that attendance would be half of the normal 6,000 or so,” said outgoing ASAE chairman Red Cavaney, CAE, at a press conference during the meeting. He also noted that there were 420 exhibit booths at this year's show — slightly fewer than last year's, but that many of the booths had been downsized.
A new format that had been requested last year by exhibitors for this year's show, however, bombed big time. The show floor on the second day of the meeting was open for by-appointment-only visitors. Because the hall was practically empty at the start of the second day of the show, show managers quickly opened it for everyone, not just for attendees with exhibitor appointments. Exhibitors were steamed and let ASAE know it afterwards at a town hall meeting. “We need to do some market research to find out what the best solution for next year is,” Cavaney concluded.
The meeting kicked off with a general session by best-selling author James Bradley (Flags of our Fathers) and ended with a Cool and the Gang concert that had the audience dancing under the stars. In between, island bus drivers went on strike, but the results had little effect on the meeting.