Outdoor Retailer (OR) and the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) are engaging the industry in a consultative and comprehensive approach to determine the best growth path and location for the future for the semi-annual outdoor trade shows. The initiative is necessary, as participation in the evolving outdoor industry event continues to grow beyond the current facilities available at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, host city since 1996.
A formal discussion period will launch soon within the "Collective Voice" website, however everyone is welcome to visit the site at www.outdoorretailer.com/collective-voice, a destination for learning about the event's history along with a small list of venues in the nation that could host the current show (Summer or Winter - or both) while engaging in ongoing discussions in a secure moderated online forum. Michael Hodgson, former president of SNEWS® and a well-respected outdoor industry veteran, has been retained as project manager and ambassador by both Outdoor Retailer and OIA to develop and moderate discussions within the Collective Voice website.
An email invitation into the discussion will launch very soon, followed by an online survey, also distributed through email invitation, within a few weeks.
"We've done surveys of the OR audience for years, and have even posted the results on our website for the whole industry to see," said Kenji Haroutunian, vice president at Nielsen Expositions and Outdoor Retailer show director. "Though the surveys are extremely helpful, the Collective Voice project adds an important new element to the process by giving every industry stakeholder a voice. This way, a dialog can develop amongst industry leaders and a thoughtful, inclusive and open process can drive the resulting decisions that will determine the future success of the OR shows."
"Our unwavering commitment is to maintain the health and relevance of the outdoor industry, and work with Outdoor Retailer to help determine the future vision of the show," said Lori Herrera, the EVP and chief operating officer of the Outdoor Industry Association. "While this process is far from over, we're learning there's no easy answer. We invite the entire community to become a part of this process, to take the time to learn about the business of Outdoor Retailer, and to think about what it should become in order to continue serving the evolving business needs as well as a healthy outdoor industry."
The industry outreach effort, analysis of the input, sharing of the findings with the industry, and determining the strategic direction of the show will span several months with the goal to decide a show direction in the near future. Currently Outdoor Retailer has a contract with the Salt Palace that expires after Summer Market 2014.