#FDC2019 – What Did Attendees Think?
By Molly Alton Mullins, WF&FSA Executive Vice President
WF&FSA held its 2019 Floral Distribution Conference last month at the Miami Airport Convention Center (MACC). The fourth year hosting this event at the MACC, WF&FSA leadership and staff knew the property brought some unique challenges to the event’s overall success. However, survey responses are in and this year’s meeting received some exceptional results.
The Value was There
There are many trade shows taking place in the floral industry. I know that I personally attended six+ events in September and October alone, and I know many other industry professionals attended many more. So, being one of the last shows of the year, I was concerned about “conference fatigue.” And yes, there was some but overall, individuals were very pleased with the show’s value and quality, with 84 percent rating the show as “good or excellent.”
Table Tops Satisfied Attendees
This year’s FDC had a total of 94 Table Tops and having enough wholesalers is always a concern. However, respondents were overwhelmingly positive about their experience in Table Tops, and the quality of their interactions. Ninety percent were satisfied with the quantity of Table Tops, and almost 100 percent – 98.5 – were satisfied with the quality. Exhibitors would like to see more wholesalers in attendance, which is something WF&FSA will continue to work on improving.
Education was Very Well Received
This year WF&FSA offered two educational sessions: the first on Change and Disruption in the Floral Distribution Channel and the second on trends related to social media and logistics. A total of 71 percent of respondents rated the Change in Disruption panel as good or excellent, with Patrick Busch of Len Bushes Roses receiving the highest marks at 84 percent as “good or excellent.” The Trends session received a “good or excellent” rating averaged of 60 percent. One attendee commented, “The flower care and handling session and the increase in ocean freight shipping for importers, were good topics for discussion.”
The Yacht Life Party Took Networking to a Higher Level
New this year, WF&FSA hosted its Yacht Life Party aboard the Grand Floridan taking in the sights and sounds of Miami along Biscayne Bay. A total of 60 percent of respondents said the event “exceeded expectations” and really enjoyed the opportunity to network with wholesalers and suppliers alike. One respondent said, “Best way to show off Miami and to have everybody in a somehow confined space and have to almost interact…it's the best way to connect everybody in a social fun atmosphere.”
And networking is king to FDC attendees. Eight-nine (89) percent of attendees stated that the networking opportunities “met or exceeded” their expectations. “This is the #1 reason I attend,” said one respondent. Added another, I “needed more time to network,” and “Best in the USA for sure for suppliers and wholesalers. Plus, you get to network easily with our fellow wholesalers.” Wins all around.
A New Day for #FDC2020
While this year’s FDC was very well received, the WF&FSA board and staff believes it’s time to make a change. The conference has been in Miami for almost 10 years now, and while much of our membership base resides there, next year’s show will move to the Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando. Hosting the event in Miami brings unique benefits and challenges to it; yes, it is easier for local attendees to visit the show; however often, nonexhibiting companies invite wholesalers off site for meetings, which dilutes the attendance base for exhibitors. Also, Miami is very expensive to host a Convention and we try to be as cost-conscious as possible for our attendees. The Hilton Bonnet Creek is an exceptional property still within Florida, and offers a ton of amenities, at an excellent price point. Survey respondents seem excited about the new venue and location, with 80 percent already saying they plan to attend. Planning is already underway, and we can’t wait to see you for #FDC2020 October 8-10!
You can read the full survey results here and I always welcome your comments and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please check out the photos, recap video and more on WF&FSA’s FDC webpage.