Organizers for the 2020 AAPEX Show, scheduled to take place Nov. 3-5, 2020, in Las Vegas, held an exclusive press briefing via Zoom for AAPEX 2020 media partners. The purpose of the briefing was to update aftermarket media on the latest safety measures taking place in preparation for the show and to answer any questions about changes to the event this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Mark Bogdansky, vice president, Meetings & Events for the Auto Care Association, the Venetian – host hotel for AAPEX – has implemented more than 800 new policies and procedures related to COVID and the cleaning, health and safety of their guests.
In addition, AAPEX organizers have put their own additional safety measures in place, according to Liz Goad, director of events and meetings for AASA.
“We’re very lucky to have partners like the Venetian and Sands Expo,” said Goad. “As Mark said, they’re working diligently to incorporate additional health and safety operations into their protocol as well. Adding policies and initiatives like noninvasive, thermal scanning, hand sanitizer units, transparent barriers and making masks readily available to all guests. In addition to that, AAPEX is also taking some initiatives as well. As we move forward with new standards and protocols in place, we are actively monitoring the ongoing situation to take appropriate measures so that our exhibitors, attendees and media partners feel confident in participating in the show and we’ll adapt as needed going forward.”
Bogdansky added, “And the most important thing that I want to stress quite honestly, is that things change. As we learn more about this and we learn more from the medical professionals and things change, we’re going to be adopting and changing our procedures. We’ll keep communicating, and that’s really the most important thing right now.”
Among the safety measures being considered for AAPEX are changes to traffic patterns on the show floor similar to one-way aisles in grocery stores currently, as well as expanded aisles. In addition to the state mandate in Nevada, AAPEX organizers will require attendees and exhibitors to wear masks on the show floor.
In meeting rooms, the Venetian hotel has reduced seating capacity by 50%. For example, a banquet round that normally seats 10 to 12 people would hold five to six people.
As far as networking events and receptions go, show organizers don’t have a definitive answer yet. “We are still having conversations about that,” said Bogdansky. “The Venetian hasn’t released its policies on receptions and networking at this point. They’re giving things some more time and we are working on focusing on social distancing for those events, if they are to occur.”
On the positive side, while the show will look different this year, booth sales are still going well, according to the show organizers. “Booth sales are moving along very nicely, the floors are full and we’re still expanding it to Caesar’s the way we had planned. The show is going to look different but the show is going to be very full,” Bogdansky said.
For companies who are unable to attend, AAPEX organizers are working on a virtual option as well, with details to come soon.
“We do think that success is going to be a matter of personal approach this year,” he added. “And if you walk away from the show and are happy with what you saw, then that’s great. We know it’s going to be different. We’ve heard a lot of people say that AAPEX is really important to their business and that’s on the exhibitor and the attendee side. So, it’s just really critical that our exhibitors and attendees and media partners find value in the show for themselves. And we’re working to give them that value in whatever way or format that ends up being.”