Sounds like something a cartoon character shrieks as he runs off a cliff, doesn't it? That's probably why the International Association for Exhibition Management's new acronym, for International Association of Exhibits and Events, is pronounced IA double-e. With an overwhelming 79 percent percent of voting members saying aye to a change to IAEE, it's hard to believe it caused such a ruckus last year, though I do believe that had more to do with being taken by surprise than any real objection to the name change. Sandy Angus, 2006 IAEE chairman of the board of directors, said at a press conference at Expo! Expo! yesterday, "There is not doubt that events are where it's at. Events give an impression of things happening, a sense of occasion. Exhibitions, by their very name, give the impression of being sedentary."
Also announced at the press conference: The World Shoe Association, which gave the Center for Exhibition Industry Research a nice $25,000 grant earlier this year, now has followed up with a stunning $1 million grant to IAEE's research arm; the new Art of the Show Textbook has been released (and even translated into Mandarin!); and the Orlando/Orange County CVB and the Orange County Convention Center plans to donate $50,000 to IAEE's Exhibition Industry Foundation, which will be used to develop a video series show organizers can use with their exhibitors to show them how to maximize the value of their trade show experience. I also attended a session on a new set of return on investment (ROI) tools IAEM is rolling out, which I think I better wait until they e-mail me the handouts (they ran out, and it's pretty complex to try to recreate from my notes alone) before talking about it much. Reviews from others in the session ranged all over the place, from the best thing since sliced bread to, "who do they think we're talking to, the COO?" Members will be able to check it out for themselves once the tool set is uploaded to IAEM's Web site, probably within the next two months.