VenueConnect is rapidly approaching, and of course, our fiscal year is heavily impacted by our success at this event. I am happy to report as of end of May that our registration and sponsorship numbers are tracking ahead of last year, but unfortunately, our exhibit numbers continue to lag. The good news is we have closed the revenue gap somewhat, from about $200K down to approximately $100K. And we are in the process of identifying some expense reductions we can implement to offset a potential shortfall, without sacrificing any member value.
Further positive news is that we are actually now up to 20 approved hosted buyers for the pilot program, DirectConnect, and we are beginning to see unbudgeted revenue from this source. I would like to thank all of you on this leadership distribution list for spreading the word, as we had an uptick in hosted buyer applications after the email to all of you asking for your help. The June report will reflect those increased numbers.
I’d also like to highlight the fact that we added two new partners this month, AEG/AXS and Daktronics. We’d like to express our appreciation to them, as their support is invaluable to our mission here at IAVM. These new partners join Freeman, Ungerboeck, Sodexo and Ticketmaster in the partnership program.
And if you have a moment, please be sure to take a close look at the Marketing & Business Development section of this report. Our incredible marketing and creative services team has been working diligently with staff and volunteer leaders to elevate the quality of all our marketing materials, and to begin creating a branded look and feel. Since some of these materials are directed at different segments of our membership (or to nonmembers), you may not have noticed the changes. We’d love to hear your feedback as we continue to evolve our outreach.
And last, but certainly not least, please note that the hotel cutoff date for the Hilton Riverside in New Orleans is July 5, and the block is filling up fast! Please make your reservations soon, as we really hope to see you there.
Vicki Hawarden, CMP
IAVM President and CEO