|‘Expect’ to transform lives at ICRS in Orlando|
|Written by Shawn Akers|
|Tuesday, 03 March 2015 09:00 AM America/New_York|
The International Christian Retailing show returns to Orlando, Florida, this summer, and Christian retailers should “Expect” to hear new ideas and concepts on how to fulfill their ministry calling through distributing Christian thought, ideas and resources that transform lives.
“Expect” is the theme for this year’s show, set for June 28-July 1 at the Orange County Convention Center. From a city built on dreams, it’s only fitting that the dream for CBA’s annual convention should offer a new vision for how the entire Christian-resources industry gathers. Highlights include:
New Exclusive Exhibit Floor Hours
CBA is working with Arrowhead Conferences and Events to finalize the next couple of years of new locations for the convention—still among the top 250 U.S. trade shows. Arrowhead’s Jill Jordan told attendees her team is working on cities where CBA will have significant leverage to help lower prices for all attendees and exhibitors.
Cities under consideration for 2016 include Cincinnati, Ohio; Kansas City, Missouri; Austin, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; and Louisville, Kentucky, plus several others. CBA has been working with Arrowhead for about two years to renegotiate existing event obligations and plan 2016 and beyond.
Not only will Arrowhead be leveraging facility and lodging spend, but also food and beverage purchases across venues. This could mean significant savings for exhibitors doing events outside the convention center. CBA announced it would be working to centralize exhibitor purchases and make discounted rates available.
Training, information and future trends are important draws for attendees, and CBA is shifting its programming emphasis to ensure maximum attendance and effect. It begins with a general session on Sunday afternoon before worship services and the Sunday evening concert. The greatest changes will be seen Monday and Tuesday when general sessions and training will have exclusive hours. Exclusive exhibit-floor hours also have been designed around these sessions.
The Monday kickoff session begins at 8 AM with a keynote presentation followed by breakout sessions before the exhibit floor opens at 10 AM There will be no food service at these events, although CBA is working on sponsored beverages and light morning snacks. This will remove attendee financial barriers to attending major sessions and hearing keynote speakers.
Because of popular demand, “trendshops” will continue for the fiction and film/DVD categories and the Children’s Product Trends session will feature a new research and presentation format.
Additionally, CBA planners are building in more formal and informal time for networking and engagement opportunities among retailers, suppliers and content creators.
Key programming themes will be leadership, engagement and future retailing.
New International Programming
CBA is working on added programming that will appeal to international guests. In partnership with Media Associates International and the Magazine Training Institute, ICRS will feature specialized training and consulting for successful international publishing and magazine development and operations.
The new programs will be in addition to current international programming, such as the Global Worship Celebration on Sunday. All international events will be in the convention center, not in a separate hotel, to help facilitate relationship-building and workshop participation across the global Christian-resources community.
CBA reduced pricing on booths to help cut investment across the board. Through various strategies, this has resulted in exhibitors’ ability to expand marketing and promotion of new products, booth space and other elements to drive traffic and sales.
Design and Build
Recognizing one size doesn’t fit all, CBA team members are dedicated to working with exhibitors to design and build ICRS strategies that work especially for them. Exhibitors have more options in floor space, marketing, sponsorship and customer engagement and can develop specialized plans that meet their specific needs.