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Audioholics 2008 SOTU Show Report Wrap Up

by November 14, 2008
Contributors:
show floor

show floor

When thinking back on what we accomplished this year, I have to say it was the result of great team work. The Audioholics Staff lived up to their reputation from the registration process through set up and break-down of the event. Immense amount of coverage was accumulated just for our fans that weren’t able to attend. Despite this event was live and available to all for two fun filled days at Disney, it seemed a good portion of our crowd was missing in action.

The participating companies had the highest expectations, and so did our team. We were cautiously optimistic about the attendance figures despite the gloomy economy. We were banking on the lure of Disney, all the FREE educational seminars, wonderful demo rooms, virtually unlimited food prepared by world renowned chefs and tons of swag to give attendees reason to escape the realities of their declining 401k and home values. Unfortunately banking isn’t always a safe bet these days and we quickly learned this when the registration booth wasn’t flooded with attendees like it was last year.  Apparently the same issue CEDIA faced with lower than expected show attendance, also affected us.

The Show Must Go On!

RaysA wonderful array of demo rooms, breakfast, goodies, freebies and a ghostly banquet with a dynamic Flamenco group was arranged for all to see. The ones that did catch the glimpse of what surrounded them were elated to see the end results.

But, where was the rest of our fan base? Hmm. We heard other things came up and in between the Devil Ray World Series games. grim economy, coupled with hosting the event during the week, things just piled up.

Not matter the odds stacked against us, we accomplished our goal and hosted an outstanding two day A/V spectacle containing the latest gear, and newest technologies to satiate the most serious home theater buffs out there. Let recap what those of us who attended had the opportunity to enjoy.

Getting Registered

Mr Monty Python Man himself stood with his holly hand grenade ready to detonate on non registered attendees attempting to get some free event swag from us.

Dave Phares

At our registration area, we had an array of the latest Audioholics swag, including pens, bags, t-shirts (the color red was a hit), DVD samplers from THX and HDMI cables no less. Our eye catching balloon arch and Disney Themed Banner logo was on display for everyone’s delight.

Tica Registration

Our highly trained registration staff made sure that everyone was informed, handing out our program guide, show floor map and schedule of educational seminars and social events. No question was left unanswered and not attendee was left badge-less or clueless as to what our event encompassed.

So much fun was at stake at this Registration Desk that none of our staff could stop thinking about our gala to come. Just let Dave show you how it’s done. If you didn’t agree with him, I am sure you will find his light saber to be quite persuasive. If not, we also had our Grim Reaper on hot stand by.

Dave Saber Grim Reaper

Our food selection was quite plentiful for breakfast which we provided two days off for all registered attendees, staff and sponsors. From delicious fresh fruits, juices, fresh bagels and toasts along side our egg sandwich selections accompanied by yummy yogurts and more was a sight to relish. Oh yeah, don’t forget our freshly brewed Starbucks Coffee; fresh home made like we like...., well, its not Colombian coffee but we survived.

Lunch for Staff and Sponsors?

Tom & WaydeThat was the idea. As an added bonus to our staff and sponsors, we provided two days of lunch exclusively for them. It worked out fine on the first day since we posted two staff members at the entrance to check badges. On the second day however, our staff guards weren't at their post during the first 10-15 minutes and by the time we entered the lunch room there were more people in there than we had at the whole show! Apparently many of our show attendees and their families ransacked the lunch room and depleted our food supply before most of our staff and sponsors had a chance to get theirs. This resulted in us ordering more food from the hotel which was a bit of a budget killer as we quickly found out, it wasn't cheap to eat at the Dolphin. No sweat, this turned out to be a positive for us as Gene made an announcement in the lunch room that anyone sitting down eating that shouldn't be, must also come with a guest and check out our demo rooms. This created a healthy flow of traffic after lunch especially when Ben & Jerry's ice cream was being served.

NicoleNicole (left) from APC, alongside Dominick and Bertha DellaSala enjoying our staff lunch hour and taking a load off their feet from standing all day long at our exhibition.

In between all of the eating and socializing resided a trade show event boasting 7 state of the art demo rooms. Check out our impression of each of the rooms:

Spooky Dinner Fun

Everyone got on their Halloween attire and got ready for our dinner event. While there were certainly some creepy folks present, there were also sexy costumes to keep our male guests at attention.

costumes Karen Gene_tica

Two days of complimentary breakfast, free party swag, and product giveaways was only part of the perks bestowed upon our attendees. Since we are a sharing group and give all we can to keep our fans happy, we put forth quite a nice dinner buffet for them to enjoy. Though, nearly 35% of our registered attendees didn’t show up, leaving us with a colossal waste of food that sadly we couldn't donate to the needy.

Regardless, the dinner event was a blast! Even our Grim Reaper friend didn’t want to miss out as he stood guard of our food to ensure everyone had their second helping before others went for their thirds. Nobody went home hungry which is always a good thing.

Clint_tony

During our introduction speeches, Clint announced Gene’s decision to run for President and him as his running mate. He even bribed everyone who voted for us with a free Home Theater but apparently Obama didn’t get the memo.

Not enough? Well, there’s much more we had in store, but the best escaped from even us!  Our Cables to Go Buddy wasn’t the only one who was in his grove. Jerry Greenfield from Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream had fun scooping us up some of his famous ice cream flavors. Thank you again Jerry!

Roboman Jerry Scoops

After all the dancing, eating, drinking and fun, it was time to call the contest and auction winners. The best part of all is when the Grand Prize winner was the one that was least expected; a Sound Advice Costumer. Although the staff at the local Sound Advice stores were no shows, some of their customers were present. Of course, at first he jumped with excitement, then realizing he didn’t even know what he won! Gene rushed up to inform Mr. Troy Nakamoto the winner of our $3600 5.1 system what it fact he was going home with from our event. To say he was ecstatic would be an understatement. His face was glowing during the show the next day and no it wasn't an allergic reaction to the shellfish as far as we know.  His joy alone reaffirmed why we love doing what we do.

Gaby Wii

As far as excitement goes, even the little ones had their fun too. They had their own spooky banquet meal consisting of pizza, veggies and snacks, a scary haunted house, and malevolent HiFi Nintendo Wii exercise to keep them entertained.

cartoonOf course, we couldn’t say good bye after the busy night without talking about our auction and here to introduce it: myself. Yes, there was plenty to bid, but little to receive. And we thought having a good cause like saving the environment from ourselves would help. Despite some of the lowish offers, we did manage to raise over $5k to benefit the National Conservation of Science & Policy Organization. Dr. Dominick DellaSala’s speech about his organization was educational and enlightening, but the cartoon clip he showed from Al Gore’s movie on Global Warming was the hottest topic he presented. We were really pleased to see all the wonderful auction prizes donated by our sponsors. People walked away with brand newdance line 7.1 A/V receivers from Yamaha, 2 CH amplifiers from Emotiva, Color Analyzers from Sencore, speakers from Dayton audio and EMP, power conditioners from APC AV, and much more.

It's important to note that besides our slight disappointment in show attendance, we all did have a good time. The entertainment provided by our Downtown DJ’s and Flamenco dancers was top notch. The place was thumping with music, though it was at times challenging to motivate people onto the dance floor. Our professional Flamenco dancers helped to persuade them and once people started getting up, it picked up momentum and we all began working off some of those calories.

So What Did We Learn from All This?

Castle

Don’t offer too much free stuff to attendees. All kidding aside, it seems the more you throw at people for free, the less they value the service. A large portion of people that won FREE registration (including free food for two days, event swag, etc) didn’t show up despite they were committed to come.

Regardless of the state of the economy, we learned that Disney is not the ideal location to host these type of events. In hindsight, we probably should have offered at least one day of the event on the weekend for those who couldn’t get off work to stop by. 

Last year our event was hosted at Clearwater Beach on a Saturday, and we had a nice steady flow of hotel traffic wondering through our demo rooms to check them out. This year, the mere mention of FREE home theater demos, FREE ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s, and FREE massage sent some of the hotel guests into a rampage making John McEnroe appear well tempered.

With all that’s going on now, we are taking a little break from putting on such a big event. We would still like to thank everyone that did make it. It was great to see old faces and meet some new ones. The manufacturers and sponsors did an outstanding job putting on top notch demos, and seminars and they truly have our thanks. It was quite an honor to host a show with some of the leading manufacturers debuting new products and technologies. This is what Audioholics is all about, pushing the envelope in technology and bringing it our fan base first.

"So long and thanks for all the fish" and hope to see you all on our forums.

Confused about what AV Gear to buy or how to set it up? Join our Exclusive Audioholics E-Book Membership Program!

 

Recent Forum Posts:

TICA posts on November 18, 2008 13:50
Rickster71, post: 484970
My wife and I had a great time, and really appreciated all the hard work that went into the SOTU event.
I'll bet the pre-planning was as much, if not more work, than the event itself.

I got to meet some people that I knew by screen name only. It was interesting to match a real person to their forum identity. (next time we should put screen names on our name tags)

It was a pleasure to meet Gene, Bertha, and Clint. The time went by so fast; I didn't spend as much time as I'd hoped, talking to everyone.
It was great to finally meet Majorloser, and Mrs. loser, and also TLS Guy.
Also, a shout out to Wayde and Alissa. We had a great time at the EPCOT food festival.

One of the highlights for me was, my wife bidding on and winning the Emotiva XPA-2!

Thanks again, for all the hard work. Count us in for the next one.

Rick

Thank you for coming Rick and we're glad you had fun and won!
TICA posts on November 18, 2008 13:49
You are all very welcome!

Rickster71 posts on November 18, 2008 13:36
My wife and I had a great time, and really appreciated all the hard work that went into the SOTU event.
I'll bet the pre-planning was as much, if not more work, than the event itself.

I got to meet some people that I knew by screen name only. It was interesting to match a real person to their forum identity. (next time we should put screen names on our name tags)

It was a pleasure to meet Gene, Bertha, and Clint. The time went by so fast; I didn't spend as much time as I'd hoped, talking to everyone.
It was great to finally meet Majorloser, and Mrs. loser, and also TLS Guy.
Also, a shout out to Wayde and Alissa. We had a great time at the EPCOT food festival.

One of the highlights for me was, my wife bidding on and winning the Emotiva XPA-2!

Thanks again, for all the hard work. Count us in for the next one.

Rick
Alex2507 posts on November 18, 2008 10:57
Tom Andry, post: 484883
Every one makes me a little more Internet Famous every day. I'm hoping someday to become a verb. “Boy, that dude just pulled a Tom Andry!”

Of course I'm hoping that the above ends with the dude getting some from a supermodel rather than impaling himself on a Twinkie tower or other similar Darwin Award-worthy death.

Cool. This also helps me escape devil boy status with the ‘Thanks’ score.
Just in case Joe is wrong.
Tom Andry posts on November 18, 2008 10:45
Alex2507, post: 484715
This is the right place to vent. Taking it out on Tom is wrong.

Man, I hope my Tom Andry references are amusing to Tom Andry.

Every one makes me a little more Internet Famous every day. I'm hoping someday to become a verb. “Boy, that dude just pulled a Tom Andry!”

Of course I'm hoping that the above ends with the dude getting some from a supermodel rather than impaling himself on a Twinkie tower or other similar Darwin Award-worthy death.
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