IAAPA News - Event Preview - October 2017

1710_IAAPA_NEWS_FEC_2School’s in Session

IAAPA to give attendees a ‘university-level’ education, mixed with ample networking opportunities, at IAAPA FEC Summit 2018

by Mike Bederka

Attendees will be hard pressed to find a moment at the upcoming IAAPA FEC Summit 2018 that will not strengthen some facet of their facility, promises Leslie Hutcheson, senior manager of constituency programs and services for IAAPA.

“Every topic is critical to operations and building a solid base for success,” she says of the organization’s premier meeting for family entertainment center (FEC) owners and operators. “We will delve into the nuts and bolts of how you can become a better operator, grow your business, and make more money.”

Now in its sixth year (and the first time in California), IAAPA FEC Summit 2018 will take place Jan. 28-30, and provide a “university-level” educational experience for attendees, Hutcheson says.

The three-day event presents content for all levels of FEC experience, from long-time owners/operators to those looking to start a facility. The intensive event offers in-depth insight from industry experts on numerous aspects of operations and management.

In the opening keynote, Bruce Cameron, owner of Front Line Marketing, will share an employee engagement process that shows why the front line plays such a big role in the bottom line. “You will find out why more money is not the answer to more productivity,” he says. “When you learn how to engage your employees, creative solutions appear, turnover decreases, and guest visits become positive experiences that get shared. As a result, your sales will soar.”

1710_IAAPA_NEWS_FEC_3Brenda Morris, chief financial officer of Apex Parks Group, will cover the future of finance at FECs in her talk. She will focus on key performance indicators and analytics to help drive sales and enhance customer experiences. Morris also will be part of a special “Women in the Industry” breakfast event at the meeting.

Other sessions will include Phil Showler, vice president of sales at TrainerTainment, discussing how to cultivate leads and excel at cold calls; Joe Rand, vice president of Disney Parks and Resorts Marketing, sharing tips from the pros; and Erika Scheffer, IAAPA’s director of state advocacy, breaking down the latest government relations updates.

Share, Engage, and Grow

The FEC Summit separates itself from other traditional industry meetings by its unconventional setup, Hutcheson says. Living up to its motto “share, engage, and grow,” moderator Carla Clark, president of Carla Clark Management Concepts, will pose related “table talk” questions to attendees throughout the sessions to stir the conversation, generating ideas and perhaps some debate.

“The audience is savvy, but they don’t usually have that sounding board around them,” Hutcheson says. “In this brainstorming environment, we will percolate great new ideas.”

iapaAttendees can also expect lots of time to network with their peers outside of the classroom with two receptions at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa in Dana Point, the scenic oceanside host property. “It’s an intimate setting where people can bond and form new friendships,” Hutcheson says.

Plus, the yearlong celebration of the 100th anniversary of IAAPA’s founding kicks off at the event with a birthday party at nearby Boomers. Along with a buffet dinner and live band, attendees will have exclusive access to this popular FEC to try out games, rides, and attractions.

After IAAPA FEC Summit’s conclusion, participants can attend the post-event tour for separate admission. The day-long tour will visit Mulligan Family Fun Center for a presentation of its go-karts and attractions; John’s Incredible Pizza Company to learn how the buffet concept can drive revenue; and Dave & Buster’s for food and drinks, and to review its operations.

Hutcheson expects these hands-on exercises to be particularly beneficial for attendees.

“You always learn something by walking into a business similar to your own,” she says. “These facilities will greet you with open arms, and you can ask them any questions that come to mind, or see a demo of their latest games or attractions. It’s a great warm feeling.”


Contact Funworld Contributing Editor Mike Bederka at michaelbederka@gmail.com