There was aisle after aisle of exhibitors at the ASAE Annual Meeting and Expo’s exhibition hall at the Toronto Metro Convention Centre earlier this month, and it would have been easy for the 676 exhibitor booths to blend together.
But many of the booths proved to be hard to forget, with their rousing, interactive games, plushy stuffed animals —I am now the proud owner of a camel from Visit Dubai and a black bear from Visit Anchorage — and free-flowing samples of local food and beverages. Here is a look at three of the booths I found most memorable and what made them stick with me:
From afar, it was easy to see the booth crew’s spring-green shirts and Converse sneakers, as they sported the CVB’s official color. As I got closer, the scent of coffee enveloped me. Visit Seattle created a cozy visitor experience with leather armchairs and freshly brewed Starbucks Coffee — Seattle is the company’s headquarters — at its in-booth espresso stand. Visitors could learn about notable areas in the city using touch-screen technology as they sipped on their selection from a cup with a Visit Seattle-branded sleeve.
The host of the 2019 ASAE Annual Meeting and Expo gave attendees a preview of the colorful conference they have in store. The Visit Columbus booth team wore custom-designed pieces from local designer Elizabeth Bourgeois, who is known for her use of sustainable and upcycled materials. (Only New York City and Los Angeles have more fashion designers than Columbus.) Attendees had another treat in store — Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, which was founded locally, with 10 shops in Columbus and more nationwide.
After an energizing shot of espresso in Seattle and a delectable dessert in Columbus, Visit Omaha rounded it out with robust fare — Omaha Steaks beef jerky and craft beer on tap served out of souvenir beer mugs. Attendees were encouraged to spend “Omaha Bucks” on these unique offerings as they explored the booth, which was built as a re-creation of the city’s Old Market Entertainment District.