The American Bus Marketplace
Every January, ABA welcomes the travel and tourism community to the first conference of the year – the industry’s premier business event – Marketplace. More than 3,500 tour operators, suppliers and exhibitors come together to kick off a new year of business opportunity and growth. Now in its 35th year, Marketplace is truly a market-place – an active, vibrant forum of buyers and sellers where business gets done. With more than 120,000 pre-scheduled appointments and 800 pre-qualified operators, Marketplace offers a year’s worth of sales meetings in one week. And with legendary networking and social events, attendees turn conversations from the conference floor into long-term business relationships. Couple this with leading education seminars and the industry’s largest exhibit hall, and Marketplace is really unmatched as the best industry event each year. More than a meeting – Marketplace is a valuable investment that pays for itself many times over, and a can’t-miss annual reunion with colleagues and friends, old and new.
Location of Marketplace 2013
Charlotte Convention Center
501 South College St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
Are You A Buyer or A Seller?
Buyers who are bus owners and tour operators, come to meet with Sellers who are travel industry representatives from destination marketing organizations (cities, areas, states), attractions, restaurants, receptive operators, hotels and associate service suppliers. These business sessions allow Buyers and Sellers to plan trip itineraries for motorcoach group travel throughout the US and Canada.
Sellers attend Marketplace to sell their destination, attraction, restaurant etc to motorcoach and tour operators. Sellers also network with their peers in the group travel industry.
Buyers attend Marketplace to learn more about new destinations, to meet personally with people with whom they conduct business, and to socialize with other Buyers.
Business & Appointment Sessions
Marketplace week runs from Saturday through Wednesday evening. The show is held annually, usually in January, in a different North American city each year.
The Business Sessions or Appointment Sessions, are conducted and are the core of Marketplace. The appointment sessions are held on the Marketplace Business Floor, which is a secured area. Delegates are assigned different colored badges depending on their business type grouping. These colors determine access to the Business Floor where appointments are conducted. The color and design change every year. All Buyers and Appointment-taking/Business Floor Sellers and Associates have access to the Business Floor at any time. Associates who are not registered as appointment-taking delegates/Business Floor delegates do not have access to the Business Floor.
There are 6 appointment sessions for a total of 174 appointments. Buyers have a maximum of 174 appointments, as they take appointments throughout the week with each of the Seller groups. Sellers have a maximum of 58 appointments. These 58 appointments are scheduled in 2 out of the 6 sessions. The primary group (DMO, Lodging, Attraction, Receptive Operator/Tour Planner, Associate) the company belongs to determines which of the 2 sessions are assigned. Click here for more information.
The Business Floor
The Marketplace Business Floor consists of 8x8 booths where Buyers sit. Each booth contains a 6' table and 2 chairs inside the booth, an outside chair for the Seller to sit in and an ID sign giving the Buyer company name, location and attendee number.
Appointment-taking Sellers move from Buyer to Buyer every seven minutes. There is an announcer who announces the time and the number of the appointment so the Sellers know when to move to the next Buyer. The announcer also gives the delegates a one-minute warning so they know to start wrapping up. Sellers are divided into groups, broken down by business type, that meet with Buyers at specific times. These groups are:
* Destinations Marketing Organizations Session:
Monday AM/Monday PM
o Receptive Operators/Tour Planners
* Lodging/Attraction/Recpetive Operator/Associate Session:
Tuesday AM/Wednesday PM or Tuesday PM/Wednesday AM
o Receptive Operators/Tour Planners
o Associates (appointment-taking only)
ABA carefully monitors the number of Seller Appointment-Taking delegates allowed based on the number of Buyer Appointment-Taking delegates registereed. By maintaining a near one-to-one ratio in each session, ABA offers quality appointments for all delegates.
The Marketplace Floor
The Marketplace Floor is open daily for all delegates. The Marketplace Floor is the location of the product & servce exhibits of our Associate members, coach exhibits, sponsor booths, and service centers such as the E-mail Center, Orientation Center and Resource Central.
A preliminary schedule of Marketplace 2013 is now available. Click here to view.
There are education seminars, luncheons, city sightseeing tours, opening and closing celebrations and evening events on-going throughout Marketplace week and are open to all registered delegates and a valuable part of the Marketplace experience.