AEI: Decade of Growth
Hampton on the 10th Anniversary of the Expo
And What This Year’s Event Has in Store
Q: With the 10th anniversary of a combined Amusement Expo International approaching, how important is continuing the relationship AAMA has with its partner associations?
A: I’m a huge supporter personally, and AAMA certainly is a proponent of the idea that we’re better together. I think we have a unique relationship in this industry in the sense that there is a lot of data sharing within competitors. So, sharing a huge show like the Amusement Expo with AMOA and other associations makes sense. It would be great to have other associations and trade shows join with us! We all want efficiencies –– attendees are no different –– so it makes sense to combine efforts into one show. We hope to continue to work alongside AMOA. I think it’s better for the industry that we’re working toward the same objective.
What should attendees expect in terms of education?
For the third straight year in a row, we’ve put a massive emphasis on reworking our Education Day, and this year’s is bigger than ever. It will be the first time we’re charging for the program, which will cost $99, but doing so lets us continue to put emphasis on something we see as very important.
We took a step back a few years ago and realized there are only so many things we can affect during the show. Beyond providing the space, for example, we can’t determine what manufacturers will bring or how buyers will react. We decided that education was one of the things we could really control and improve, and we’ve been bringing in some high-end content since then. We’ve continued to grow to the point where a large portion of the seminars are standing room only. We did some research into how other trade shows handled similar programs and decided the value Education Day brings was worth our greater investment.
Additionally, we once again have the full day of VR sessions, which last year was a huge success. VR is a fun new thing, and we’re excited to continue pursuing its potential in the industry. The whole point of Education Day is for operators to come and be wowed! We’re offering so much now that they’re starting to bring more employees so they can have managers at each overlapping session.
Specifically, which session are you most excited about?
I’m very excited about people getting educated on small-footprint FECs. I think it benefits everyone, opening up a whole new line of revenue without the labor costs and space requirements that ticket games have traditionally required. And with all the tech out there now, it’s become part of the industry everyone can participate in. It’s a win-win for all.
How are attendance and exhibitor sales looking?
We’re excited for our 10-year anniversary and it looks like the industry is too! Exhibitor space is nearly sold out so, we’re certain to have a busy floor. Attendance is harder to nail down this far out.
Learn, register and prepare for the upcoming Amusement Expo by visiting www.amusementexpo.org.
Late in 2017, the AAMA inaugurated the association’s first ever female president, Holly Hampton. Hampton has been involved with the industry since she landed an internship at Bay Tek Games, where she still works today, and developed quickly as a potential leader for the AAMA. She started getting involved in 2008, pushing herself out of her comfort zone and onto the horizon she flies today. Among her goals: to continue to diversify the association’s leadership and membership, continue to pursue the group’s growth within the FEC part of the business, and to encourage idea sharing through a new online forum. “When you’re trying to create anything, you need input from people. Field testing, focus groups, all that helps us make a better game at Bay Tek,” Hampton said. “It’s the same with the association. We want to make sure we provide a good product. If that happens, everyone wins. We hope to do that and have some fun while we’re at it.”