Outdoor Retailer Winter and Summer Market Tradeshows to Remain in Salt Lake City Through 2016

72Outdoor Retailer (OR) organizers, backed by the unanimous support of the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) board of directors, has decided that the Winter and Summer Market tradeshows will continue at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah through the end of 2016.

Outdoor Retailer began hosting the tradeshow in Salt Lake City in 1996 and was previously contracted with Salt Lake through 2014.

“Outdoor Retailer is grateful to be able to remain in Salt Lake City for the next three years,” said Kenji Haroutunian, Nielsen Expo Outdoor Group vice president and OR show director. “The industry has a collective affection for this town; the shared outdoor passions, cost efficiency of doing business, and the partnership of regional and state officials have all directly contributed to the current vibrancy and success of the show.”

The contract extension comes after 18 months of vigorous work with Salt Lake City to answer concerns about inadequate housing and infrastructure for the OR Winter and Summer Market shows, two of the fastest growing shows in the country. Tradeshow organizers have also initiated discussions with more than 3,000 tradeshow stakeholders regarding the growth trajectory of the show through surveys, advisory boards, one-on-one conversations, and through the Collective Voice website, an online sounding board and information site dedicated to the future venue question.

For the next three years, show participants now have the option to utilize the infrastructure solutions put in place to accommodate the Olympics in 2002 and/or the improved transportation infrastructure that now exists for hotels not in the immediate downtown area.

The longer-term growth trajectory and ‘needs list’ of the show remain a discussion between the outdoor industry and viable venues throughout the country. In the short term, the Summer Market show will continue to utilize a further expanded outdoor structure space, adjacent to the convention center.

In the last four years, the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market show has seen a 13 percent average growth in overall attendance and an average 11 percent growth for the Winter Market show, with both shows experiencing double digit percentage growth in the number of attending stores over those same four years. The show matched attendee growth with an increase in net-sold square feet, seven percent for Summer Market and six percent for Winter Market.

“Discussions about longer term solutions beyond 2016 are still ongoing with Salt Lake and other potential host cities,” continued Haroutunian. “We understand everyone is anxious for a longer-term decision, but making sure the show has a home that fits the needs of the industry is hugely important. The extension period will help us make sure we get it right.”

The two year extension comes with the support of the OIA who has been a partner in the process of collecting industry feedback, and in providing solid intelligence and insight into the concerns, needs and preferences of their members.

“Outdoor Retailer is a great partner. We’ve been working very closely with them every step of the way and are confident in their efforts to meet the needs of the industry and the show,” said OIA’s President and CEO Frank Hugelmeyer.

Future dates for the outdoor industry tradeshow and demo events are available online at www.outdoorretailer.com/info/about-the-shows.

In the last 16 years, Outdoor Retailer has grown to be the iconic tradeshow for the outdoor industry, driving more than $40 million annually into the Salt Lake City community. While this growth has been positive for the market, the tradeshow now requires more floor space, hotel rooms, rental cars and cabs than the city has to offer.

In early 2012, Outdoor Retailer and OIA initiated an industry-wide discussion on the direction and location of the semi-annual tradeshow within the “Collective Voice” website, a destination to learn about the event’s history, discuss growth trajectory, and examine the pros and cons for a small list of potential venues that could host the show.

By summer it was clear that many in the industry had strong opinions on the venue question, but no clear consensus on any alternate location or interest in severely limiting the show’s growth in an expanding market.

Following hundreds of face-to-face and phone conversations leading into the Summer Market tradeshow, Outdoor Retailer rolled out a formal survey to bring quantitative validation to growing industry sentiment. Salt Lake City was constantly ranked a top choice of both retailers and exhibitors – if expanded exhibit space and hotel rooms could be provided. Key findings of that survey are available here.

In January 2013, Salt Lake City brings to the table creative and viable short term solutions to the outstanding housing situation. Outdoor Retailer signs a two-year extension to its contract with Salt Lake, while continuing to pursue longer term solutions with Salt Lake and a handful of alternate host cities.

More information can be found in the FAQ section of the Collective Voice website.

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Ryan Alford

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