IAAPA News - Event Preview - October 2018

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FEC operators from around the world will gather at IAAPA FEC Summity 2019 to learn the latest best practices and share ideas.

Texas-Sized Education

New elements await attendees of IAAPA FEC Summit 2019 in Austin

by Mike Bederka

Registration is now open for IAAPA FEC Summit 2019, which runs Jan. 27-29 at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa in Austin, Texas. An optional post-event tour will be held on Jan. 30. For more information and to register, visit www.IAAPA.org/FECSummit.

Grab your cowboy hat and pack a pair of boots, pardner, when making plans to grow your family entertainment center (FEC) this January.

IAAPA FEC Summit, now in its seventh year, continues to grow in educational content and scope but not in meeting size. Organizers cap the event at roughly 200 people by design to create an intimate setting rich for conversation and, sometimes, even healthy debate.

“We listen carefully to what people expect to get out of it,” explains Leslie Hutcheson, senior manager of constituency programs and services at IAAPA. “They want more opportunities for networking and engaging with other people. They want more time to speak with each other about specific business challenges and the possible solutions that peers can offer. We’re especially excited for this year.”

Enhanced Learning Opportunities

IAAPA FEC Summit 2019 heads to the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa in Austin, Texas, from Jan. 27 to 29, 2019, and in line with the event’s motto of “innovate, engage, and grow,” attendees will experience new ways to network and learn.

Case in point: for a half day of the program, family entertainment center owners and operators will leave the host hotel and visit nearby Austin’s Park n’ Pizza for a behind-the-scenes tour and enhanced educational opportunities. Small groups will rotate throughout the park—a past IAAPA Brass Ring Top FEC of the World Award recipient—for hands-on instruction on food and beverage, indoor and outdoor attractions, games, the value of a point-of-sale system, and risk management. 

“Everyone will have an up-close-and-personal experience,” promises Hutcheson, noting attendees will have exclusive use of the 23-acre facility for this new dimension of the IAAPA FEC Summit.

Following the afternoon tour, there will be a mini-golf tournament with food and drinks on the course and a locally sourced Texas-style barbecue dinner.

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Ideas to Implement

Back at the Hyatt Regency, attendees should expect a wide-ranging selection of topics to help improve their bottom line. Sessions will focus on entrepreneurship, government relations, promotions, attractions, and more. 

Every speaker will share deliverables, diving into how attendees can innovate and grow their business, Hutcheson says. “We really want people to come away from the sessions with nuggets they can immediately implement that will help them with their facility.”

Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders

The IAAPA FEC Committee will promote the initiatives of the IAAPA Foundation by inviting Austin area high school students to attend the education sessions at Austin’s Park n’ Pizza. This event will be coordinated through JA Worldwide (Junior Achievement), a global nonprofit youth organization serving more than 10 million students in more than 100 countries. For more information about the IAAPA Foundation, visit www.IAAPA.org/IAAPA-Foundation.

IAAPA FEC Summit 2019 will also feature two evening receptions (including a “Weird Western Wear” opening party playing on Austin’s slogan: “Keep Austin Weird”); multiple chances to engage with sponsors; an app-based scavenger hunt to further strengthen networking opportunities; and special sessions to help attendees solve challenges related to their venue.

“Everyone will troubleshoot, brainstorm, and offer solutions,” she says. “It’s a way for people to stop what they’re doing, talk to everyone at their table, and really get into the nitty-gritty of what their business is like today.”

Post-Event Tour

The education doesn’t stop after the regular program closes. Attendees have the option to attend an extra day post-event tour on Jan. 30 of four area FECs: High 5 in Lakeway, Epic Fun in Austin, Blazer Tag Adventure Center in Austin, and Schulman Theatres Lost Pines 8 in Bastrop. 

In addition to seeing the inner workings of the facilities, each stop will include a 40-minute presentation by a representative from the FEC. In years past, IAAPA FEC Summit’s post-event tour followed a looser, more organic path, but based on attendee feedback, organizers created a formal education program for this year’s event. 

“They wanted to hear the facilities’ stories,” Hutcheson says.