This year Aerofoam Industries planned to exhibit at four different trade shows to expand our business and garner interest for our newest capabilities. Starting in March with AIX we highlighted our most recent grades of aviation foams. At ACPC in August members of Aerofoam’s Business Development team met with various airlines to support our BFE business model. Most recently Aerofoam traveled to Los Angeles for AIX Los Angeles, showcasing their newest capabilities. For AIX Los Angeles, Aerofoam expected the turnout to be much smaller and more intimate than AIX in Hamburg. There are always fewer exhibitors and in turn fewer airlines. This smaller environment yields longer meetings, which are sometimes more beneficial than the rapid-fire meetings attainable at AIX.
For the first time, Aerofoam’s Executive VP of Sales, Jim Barrett, sat on a panel highlighting how seating comfort can dictate a passenger’s experience. He was joined by industry experts from Recaro, Encore, and PriestmanGoode. This panel turned out well and garnered the interest of smaller airlines not privy to the level of comfort they could attain. The main point Barrett made was that seating OEM’s are focused on making seats and cabins uniform. Airlines, however, have varying degrees of comfort that they wish to have in their cabins. This requires flexibility from the seat OEM’s and Aerofoam is particularly able to handle the development of comfort. Another highlight of the show was AIX’s newest offered service, AIX Connect. AIX Connect is a matchmaking service that Reed Exhibitions was offering as a trial run for the AIX in Hamburg. This allowed for meetings to be set-up prior to the show based on invitations sent from supplier to buyer. A service like AIX Connect can introduce new customers to a company, or allow for relationships to be maintained. Aerofoam was one of the only exhibitors to utilize AIX Connect to the fullest degree and had 20 meetings assigned prior to the event. While a few meetings were not value-based, there were also many airlines that sat down in booth 2527 and had a chance to experience revolutionary comfort. This service was beneficial and allowed Aerofoam’s foot in the door of new customers and older customers they don’t currently work with.
AIX Los Angeles ended up being a great experience for the Aerofoam team. This smaller style of event allows for more detailed meetings and longer selling points. Aerofoam’s sales staff are able to sit down and truly figure out what a customer is looking for. Especially when working with airlines that are looking for something specific, the more intimate meetings definitely provide value. Although the show ended up being a success for Aerofoam, there are still a few downsides. AIX’s organization with APEX and IFSA is definitely not favored toward AIX. The vast majority of the airlines at the show were stuck in APEX or IFSA for the show dates. Having AIX so tightly linked to APEX Expo doesn’t give airlines a big chance to make it to both exhibitions. Especially with the cordoning off of the two events, visitors weren’t able to readily cross the shows until the last day. In this writer’s opinion, making the AIX North America show commence earlier or end sooner would drive more important customers to AIX N.A.’s show floor. The last day was mind-numbingly slow for what looked like every exhibitor on the floor.
In the end, AIX Los Angeles was a very beneficial show and provided the opportunity for Aerofoam to foster new relationships, and maintain current ones. Just with the meetings established with AIX Connect, Aerofoam was able to realize the ROI spent on all show prep. Aerofoam thanks the show organizers, the AIX Connect team, and the airlines and OEM’s who swung by the booth and saw the innovative materials and processes that allow them to develop the most comfortable airline seating system in the industry.
The next trade show Aerofoam will be presenting in will be NBAA-BACE October 22-24 in Las Vegas. They will be located at stand C13544!