Marketplace - Overview

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. Marketplace is truly a market-place—an active, vibrant forum of buyers and sellers where business gets done.  With more than 140,000 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.

Date Event Time
April 22 Registration Opens for Operators, DMOs and Associate Members Noon ET
April 23 Registration Opens for Hoteliers and Attractions Noon ET
Aug. 14 Early-bird Registration Ends 5 p.m. ET
Sept. 9 Housing Opens Noon ET
Research Databases Open Noon ET
Volunteer Sign up Begins  Noon ET
Sept. 16 Appointment Requests Begin Noon ET
Dec. 1 Appointment Requests Due (EXTENDED DEADLINE: DEC. 4 AT 11:59 PM EST 5 p.m. ET
Dec. 11 Appointment Schedules Sent Noon ET
Manual Scheduling Begins Noon ET
Housing Closes 5 p.m. ET
Dec. 23 Manual Scheduling Closes  Noon ET

Location of Marketplace 2016

Kentucky International Convention Center
Downtown Louisville, KY

Marketplace Video

Marketplace 2015 Wrap-up

Don't miss this great recap of memories from the 2015 event!


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, product/service 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 Tuesday 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 162 appointments. Buyers have a maximum of 162 appointments, as they take appointments throughout the week with each of the Seller groups. Sellers have a maximum of 54 appointments. These 54 appointments are scheduled in 2 out of the 6 sessions. The primary group (DMO, Lodging, Attraction, Receptive/Charter Operators, Associate) the company belongs to determines which of the 2 sessions are assigned.

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:

Sun AM/Sun PM DMOs
Receptive/Charter Operators
Mon AM/Tues PM or Mon PM/Tues AM Hoteliers
Receptive/Charter Operators
Associates (appointment-taking only)

ABA carefully monitors the number of Seller Appointment-Taking delegates allowed based on the number of Buyer Appointment-Taking delegates registered. 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 & service exhibits of our Associate members, coach exhibits, sponsor booths, and service centers such as the Orientation Center and Resource Central.


A schedule of Marketplace 2016 is now available.

First Time STAR Delegates

New to Marketplace, as a STAR delegate we welcome you to the travel industry's annual business event.  Check out the First Time STAR Delegate section for information to assist you pre-Marketplace, onsite and post-Marketplace.

In Addition

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.

P: 800-283-2877
F: 202-898-1575