More than 3,000 attendees were on hand for the 2009 American Bus Association (ABA) Marketplace in Charlotte, N.C. Jan. 7 to 12.
“As the first group travel show in 2009, Marketplace acted as a leading economic indicator,” said ABA President/CEO Peter J. Pantuso. “With more than 300 operator companies, 300 appointment-taking buyers, more than 100,000 scheduled appointments on the business floor, and more than $41,000 raised for charity through our Marketplace Gives Back event ‘Strike Out Breast Cancer,’ this year’s event proved again that it’s the premier show in group travel.”
Registered Marketplace delegates also included 628 destination marketing organizations (DMOs), 559 lodging representatives, 719 attraction representatives, and 194 associate members, including suppliers and manufacturers.
Marketplace’s new show-within-a-show for equipment providers to meet with operators, the Product Pavilion, featured a comprehensive exhibit of new motorcoaches, with 13 models on the event floor, some offered for test drives.
This year's event also featured a new high-tech networking feature, the MingleStick, which allowed delegates to exchange business information using a device half the size of a cell phone. More than 1,000 MingleSticks used during the show cut the time-consuming exchange of thousands of paper business cards, and helped reinforce ABA’s commitment to going green beyond offering the motorcoach as the most eco-friendly way to travel.
"Our new Young Professionals program, discussions on the new ABA-Ontario Motor Coach Association Project 2010 online business connection portal, and the ABA Foundation events that raised $116,000 all combined to create a stellar 2009 show,” said Pantuso.
Marketplace travels in 2010 to the D.C. Capital Region surrounding Washington, to Philadelphia in 2011, and to Grapevine, Texas in 2012, site of the 2007 event.