Party Professor – March 2024


Take Advantage of Every Opportunity to Learn!

Beth Standlee 0319

Beth Standlee

By Beth Standlee, CEO, TrainerTainment

This year got off to a quick start with a host of industry events. BPAA featured its Bowl Summit in New Orleans, IAAPA hosted the FEC Summit at the River Walk in beautiful San Antonio, and Matt and Amy Mader put on a content rich, Dine-In Cinema and FEC program in Austin. 2024 has barely begun but our industry is on track to inspire, educate and ensure our guests continue to have “cutting edge” fun!

Each of these events brings old and new friends together. It never ceases to amaze me how surprised industry newbies are that we share best practices with one another. The statement that I hear again and again over the years is, “It’s unbelievable how much everyone seems to want to help each other.”

The education at IAAPA’s FEC Summit (held Jan. 21-23) featured two keynote speakers. Salem Thyne, a new entrepreneur in the FEC space, is also an author and a 26-year management and operations expert in the chemical and energy sector. His presentation, based on his book Nobody Cares Until You Do, focuses on extreme accountability for your life and business. His session hit home with the crowd and created a lot of buzz throughout the event. The FEC committee, led by CenterEdge’s Sherry Howell, also brought Olympian, Vince Poscente, to the Summit. Vince was entertaining and encouraging and motivated the crowd to “do what the competition is not willing to do”! Vince’s story is about overcoming obstacles and living your dreams. (And by the way, and I came in third place in the cowboy/girl contest!)

The Dine-In Cinema Summit, held Feb 5-8, was like no other event I’ve ever attended. This was my second year participating with Matt and Amy of Venue Valet. Last year, I was unfortunately only in and out and didn’t have the opportunity to fully participate. This year I was all in! The best piece of advice I can give for anyone making a commitment to attend a trade event is to be ALL-IN! We were in four different dine-in theaters and three other hospitality venues in Austin in just 2-1/2 days. Yes, it was a jam-packed event and worth it! When you talk with others and see how they do business, better understand their challenges, and see the way they’ve overcome, you can’t help but learn and come away energized. It’s important to take time to work ON your business and attending a trade event is the perfect time to do just that.

Beth and friends at IAAPA FEC Summit 2024

A busy start to 2024: Beth Standlee hit the road early in the new year, traveling to the IAAPA FEC Summit in San Antonio where she’s pictured with Keitha McBride, Danica Craig, Alyse Skover, Sherry Howell and Jenna Boyo.

So, what’s next? Amusement Expo International of course! Viva Las Vegas! Running March 18-21, this year’s Expo features Herm Edwards, former NFL and college football coach and ESPN sports analyst, as the keynote speaker. As the co-chair of the education committee, I can promise a GREAT line-up of education sessions. We’ve planned learning to be fun and results to be profitable.

Monday and Tuesday include educational insights that cover route operations, VR, laser-tag, FECs, redemption, round tables, panel discussions and more. Plan to divide and conquer. Hopefully you are bringing several people from your organization to make sure every session is covered by someone. Commit to implementing from one to three ideas per session during the next 90 days. It’s too easy to get excited and then return home and continue to do what you’ve always done. So, keep a separate “MUST IMPLEMENT” list. When you return home, engage your staff to help apply the lessons learned at the convention.

On Wednesday and Thursday, check out the show floor. See what’s new. Talk with everyone. Take advantage of the fact that we are all in the same room for 48 hours!

Each day presents networking opportunities. Go to everything. Commit to putting your phone away. Be present with the people in front of you. I know how important you are and how much everyone needs you all the time. But, you can set an auto response on your email that says, “I’m out trying to be better and I’ll share what I learn with you when I get back to the office on March 22.” We can leave the same voicemail message (though I wonder who uses voicemail anymore). And does anyone know if we can send an auto text message reply? If so, please send instructions! (I have an Android!)

In closing, we have this big event coming up soon and if you follow these four principles, I believe the time and money spent will be a wise investment with big returns!

1. Talk to everyone. Set a goal each day to meet at least 10 new people.

2. Learn about three new products you know nothing about.

3. Attend every class you can possibly can.

4. Go to every networking event (and remember, don’t drink too much).


Beth is the CEO of TrainerTainment LLC, a training company devoted to the family entertainment and hospitality industries. Beth and her team are focused on helping the companies they serve to make more money through sales, guest service, leadership and social media marketing training. Training products and services are delivered in person, through books and DVDs, and virtually with e-learning courses, webinar development and 24/7 online access. Visit her company’s website at



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