SEMA Member News—January/February 2013
Media Trade Conference Moves to Orange County
“The LAX Embassy Suites in El Segundo, where we have held so many of these events, notified SEMA staff very early on that their facility would be under major renovations during the same time as our conference,” said MPMC Chairman Vic Wood of Hedman Performance. “We are grateful to them for being proactive with the information and allowing us time to search out alternatives. After careful research, staff suggested we move the event to the Santa Ana Embassy Suites. The facility offers different challenges but also different opportunities. We are very excited to try this new venue.”
The Embassy Suites Orange County Airport North is located at 1325 East Dyer Rd. in Santa Ana, just five minutes from John Wayne Airport. While meetings and receptions occupy most of the three-day event, the location offers alternatives for dining and shopping, some within easy walking distance from the hotel.
“This property is much smaller than the El Segundo facility,” added MPMC Chair-Elect Rich Barsamian. “Our 100 exhibitor suites will be on four floors instead of two, but we’ll also be closer to each other instead of spread out. It should make getting from meeting to meeting better for the media, even with a couple of extra stairs. Best of all, we have In-N-Out coming back again for lunch on Thursday.”
The unique Media Trade Conference features three days of prescheduled 30-minute meetings between 100 MPMC-member manufacturers and editorial staffs from national and international media. The meetings run from 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. each day. There is a 30-minute break in the morning, another break in the afternoon and a one-hour lunch. This schedule provides up to 42 meeting slots over the three days, but additional meetings are often held during breaks, through the lunch period or after hours.
MPMC provides lunch on-site for all exhibitors and media attendees and hosts a media reception on Tuesday evening, which includes the presentation of the Robert E. Petersen Award to a member of the media who has exhibited extraordinary support of MPMC in the past year. MPMC closes the week with an exhibitor reception on Thursday, immediately following the last meeting of the event.
Exhibitor registration opened online for the event in mid-July and closed early September. Only 100 exhibitors are accepted, owing to logistics and the number of available media representatives. More than 100 registrations are received each year, so a lottery system is used to select the “lucky 100.” Event rules specify that if a company is not selected via lottery in the current year, it is guaranteed a suite the following year.
“We received 136 exhibitor applications this year, which indicates that the membership sees value in the event,” said Wood. “It’s a good and a bad spot to be in. We had 122 applications last year, which means that 22 companies were already guaranteed a suite for this year. Next year, we’ll have 36 spots already guaranteed, so the odds of getting in each year are going up. The MPMC Select Committee is already brainstorming ideas for future conferences, and we welcome any suggestions from members and from the media.”
Media attendees register online by reviewing the list of 100 exhibiting companies and selecting their priorities for meetings. While the scheduling software cannot ensure that all of the high priorities are met, it does a credible job. SEMA staff tweaks the software each year based on feedback, and exhibitors and media both report that the scheduling gets a little better every year.
Any MPMC-member company, whether it applied for the conference or not, is welcome to send marketing materials to be distributed to media at the event. Materials should be forwarded to Jim Skelly at SEMA headquarters in Diamond Bar and must arrive no later than Friday, January 18, 2013.