“Survey Says!”

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I’m probably going to date myself here, but as a kid in the late ’70s, I was a fan of the show Family Feud. It fascinated me and I felt like I was constantly learning “worldly stuff.” Part was learning and entertainment, but also being at an impressionable age, I was fascinated at the affection Richard Dawson bestowed to every female contestant. The show was canceled in 1985 and revived in 1988 with Ray Combs hosting and I never could really get hooked back during that time. Over the years, there have been a number of other hosts but none I really ever felt replaced Richard Dawson or could quite match his enthusiastic “survey says!” shout to the game board. Still, this iconic game show left its impression on me for more than just Richard Dawson and the unique character he brought to the show.Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 8.22.52 PM

Like a good advertisement or TV commercial, there are certain slogans or catch phrases that stick in your head. I believe in the advertising world, they would call that good marketing. I think Family Feud accidentally stumbled on that simply by the repetitive phrases that would be shouted out by both the host and the players. “Survey says!” And “Good answer! Good answer!” followed by loud clapping and cheers from families as they offered up encouragement to a teammate for their input were the two that come to mind for me.

I have to tell you, I had a Family Feud moment the other day here at the IPI headquarters. We work as a team to plan the IPI Conference each year. We hold focus groups, we have committees and we often ask our members to help shape the annual event. It takes a village. Recently we held a contest for past IPI Conference & Expo attendees to answer two questions: “How has attending the IPI Conference & Expo been a value to you or impacted your career/business?”, and “If you were giving tips to a first-timer, what would you tell them?”

Of course, with any research, that data means something to us. As I’m compiling the final responses and reading through the vast amount of feedback, I’m formulating the Family Feud scenario in my head. It would have gone something like this:

Richard Dawson: “100 people (more like 3,000) were surveyed and the top five answers are on the board. How does attending the IPI Conference & Expo advance or impact your career or business?”

Top Five Responses would be something along the lines of:

“The networking—everyone who is anyone is there! You have to be there!”

“The tradeshow—biggest and best for new technologies! Visit EVERY vendor—it will open your eyes to new technologies to implement in your organization”

“The education and professional development opportunities —by far the best in the industry.”

“Best place for finding out about industry best practices, knowledge, future initiatives, trends”

“The social events and fun activities—don’t miss an opportunity to spend time any and everywhere with other attendees and professionals. Sleep later – Grow now!”

And as I read through each response, I kept thinking, “Good answer! Good answer!”

What are your top tips for first-time attendees? Comment here!

Stockings Hung By the Chimney With Care

Bonnie Watts

Today is a day of excitement and anticipation and nervous energy around the IPI office. It reminds me of the role of parent on Christmas, actually. The months of shopping, the dreaded Black Friday chaos, decorating the house, finding that perfect gift for loved ones, baking and preparing for the family feasts, putting together toys to surprise little ones under the tree, and then hanging the stockings by the chimney with care in eager anticipation. That’s how I feel today. As our Conference planning team reviews the event agenda one more time and we double-check our boarding passes and flight times en route to Fort Lauderdale, I am reminded of all the fabulous surprises in store for our attendees and exhibitors. From power-packed educational content to illuminating keynote speakers, to our condensed CAPP Five-Day certification course, to the jam-packed exhibit hall (literally–we couldn’t find a spot for another exhibitor if we had to), to the first time ever Poster Session gallery, to the fun, interactive, and outside-the-box social events, this year’s IPI Conference & Expo promises that attendees will walk away with memories, education, and new friendships and partnerships that will shape their careers–the gift that keeps on giving.

Our pre-registration numbers are the highest ever and this is likely to be a record-breaking turnout this year with more than 2,500 attendees. I feel like it’s Christmas Eve. Your stocking has been hung by the chimney with care. We can’t wait to see you enjoy everything we have in store.

I’ll see you in Fort Lauderdale with your gifts waiting for you!

P.S. If you haven’t registered, it’s still not too late to join us. We’re expecting record-breaking crowds, but you can register onsite. Visit IPIConference.parking.org for more information.

 

IPI’s Latin Parking Conference & Expo Kicks Off

Bonnie Watts

What a beautiful day in Puerto Rico! After a welcome reception that offered wonderful pre-meeting introductions and networking, the second IPI Latin Parking Conference & Expo launched yesterday morning. IPI Executive Director Shawn Conrad, CAE, welcomed the group of more than 80 people from eight countries to San Juan.

Attendees represent a broad spectrum of expertise, with architects, planners, government officials, operators, and university and airport professionals
on-site.

The conference includes all-day interactive seminars with industry experts facilitating discussions on why Parking Matters®, exhibits, local facility tours, networking events, and roundtable discussion groups. IPI Chair-elect, Liliana Rambo, CAPP, kicked off the morning’s education with The Business of Parking and Profits. She talked about visiting Old San Juan and the challenges faced in the area, and recommended developing a plan, structuring paid parking, and enforcing with courtesy.

A common frustration shared by attendees is how to overcome regulatory hurdles established by city officials who aren’t yet aware about developing parking programs, and the benefits of adding that potential revenue stream to the economy. Spirited discussion happened in sessions, in the hallways, and while visiting with more than 20 exhibitors of parking equipment,  products, and services. It was an exciting day in San Juan!

Catch the Big One

Bonnie Watts

As I write this, I am exhilarated–and tired. I sure won’t be sending you a photograph of my desk this week. That’s because we opened exhibit sales for the 2013 IPI Conference & Expo and we’ve already broken our best opening-day record. It’s been a wild ride! I guess this is like hosting a Super Bowl in your city for our municipality members, or the freshman move-in day for our university members. A big day! An important day! By Day Two this week, we were 70 percent sold out–already bigger than any other parking conference or expo in the world–and I have a hunch the IPI Conference & Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (on the ocean–such a beautiful place to be in May) will be our biggest show ever. Biggest and best. Behind the scenes, IPI staff is working to make the conference the best ever, on every level.

We’ve got new initiatives underway to ensure that we broaden the types of attendees who attend because we know there are important new ideas, products, and services that need to be shared in order to advance the parking profession–our primary mission. We’re looking at new ways to meet the needs of our attendees so that every day of the conference is full of learning, opportunity, and inspiration.

Mark your calendars now for May 19-22 and we promise to provide expertise that prepares you, technology that empowers you, and networking that moves you forward. And did I mention a whole lot of fun and long-lasting friendships, too?  To our wonderful sponsors and exhibitors (those who have already signed on, and those who may be planning to), I just wanted to say it’s a privilege to work in this industry.

 

 

IPI Conference & Expo: There’s an App for That

Bonnie Watts

Imagine being able to plan your time at the 2012 IPI Conference & Expo down to making notes on a map of exhibitors to see, products to check out, and speakers to add to your can’t-miss list. Then, imagine slipping all of that right into your pocket so it would be with you throughout the Conference.

As the saying goes, we’ve got an app for that!

IPI’s new 2012 Conference & Expo mobile app is downloadable at no charge from the iTunes store. It puts an interactive guide to the Conference right in your iOS device, and is a terrific tool for planning before you head to Phoenix (it’s available now) or once you’re on-site.

The new app includes:

  • Schedule at a Glance.
  • Sessions, including clickable speaker email links.
  • Exhibitors, including a floor plan with space for your notes, information on their products and services, and clickable email links.
  • A link to IPI’s Twitter feed.
  • A list of IPI Conference & Expo Strategic Partners.
  • My Planner, which allows you to star sessions or exhibitors that are of particular interest and build a customized planner for the Conference.

We hope this new tool will help you make the most of your Conference experience. See you in Phoenix!