A good friend, who is considering a booth for the NFDA Convention, emailed me with this concern:

I am hearing through various sources that the convention here in October will be slow due to the fact that Disney is only open during the day and families will be going to the parks.  I hate like heck to have it slow and put out so much money.  

You always seem to have the pulse on the goings on in this industry, so I thought I would give you a holler. 

I think my friend has a valid point, so I called the NFDA to get a response.  Here’s what Celine Clark, the Director of Public Affairs and Communication for NFDA, has to say:

Orlando is a big draw precisely because it is so family-friendly, with opportunities for our attendees to spend time with their families at the show and in the city itself.   

This is a brand new convention experience, one that we’re certain offers something for everyone.  As you know, our general sessions will be on the show floor this year, keeping attendees right in the middle of the expo action.  This year’s convention and expo will offer engaging workshops focused on real results, more social events and get-togethers than ever before, amazing guest speakers, and, of course, an expo hall packed with great vendors. 

And for those who want to get in a little Disney on the side, NFDA has arranged for special afternoon and evening only-priced tickets so that attendees get the best of both worlds.

Celine was nice enough to share a link to the NFDA’s brand new, 2008 Convention website, which looks pretty impressive.  There, attendees can purchase discounted Disney tickets and find out a whole lot more about the convention.

Seems to me like the NFDA has considered the issue and has designed a convention that gives people time to hit the theme parks in the afternoon (the expo closes at 3 pm each of the 3 main show days) and still see a lot on the expo floor and in the session rooms.

But even if there are fewer folks roaming the floor, you should exhibit at this show if:

– You are rolling out new or improved products to the industry and want to make a big splash
– You want to create buzz about your great new company
– You want to build or reinforce wholesale relationships with supply companies (Kelco, Dodge, etc.)
– You’re looking for feedback on products/services from a large base of funeral directors

My friend’s company is still small, but she wants to expand.  She lives close to Orlando and won’t have to worry about getting a hotel or booking a flight.  Her staff lives nearby and can commute together to the show.

The only major expense she’ll have is for a booth.  Even if she splurges on a corner booth, she’s only looking at $2400 in sunk costs.  A few hundred more for printing and a display and she’s in front of three or four thousand industry folks for less than $4000.

For the rest of you, here’s my advice:  Get to the show if you can afford it!

Either later today or early tomorrow, I’ll upload that interactive map of the convention floor I’ve been promising.  Along with it, I’ll describe the path most people take through a convention floor, so you can plan your booth size and placement.