Monday, June 28, 2010

Ramping up for BEA 2011

BEA 2010 seems like it happened years ago and not just 5 short weeks.  I was at ALA this past weekend and enjoyed getting feedback that ranged from positive to outstanding.  I will be out in earnest the next few weeks getting in front of BEA's exhibitors and attendees to review their results, focusing on the things that went well and what BEA needs to improved upon.  If you are here, reading this post, you have license to provide your feedback.  I will look at any comments posted which will be intructive as the BEA team formally executes our 2011 strategy planning over the next few weeks. 

I am thrilled to share the Book Bloggers Convention BEA will eagerly be welcomed them back to the BEA Big Tent for 2011.  We will be looking to make the process easier and more streamlined for everyone who participated this past year, which might be hard because things did run so well despite being the 1st year where glitches are expected.  Also, BEA will continue our partnership with the IDPF Digital Book event.  That was a huge success that we will look to grow that content as part of BEA.

Out of the gate I can share a few things:  As it has been announced, BEA will be 3 full days.  We will address the scheduling to make sure BEA retains the vibrancy for the entire event, but be mindful that ending Thursday early enough to reduce hotel nights for people that can return home without having to wait for a morning flight.   As more and more info is consumed on the web and smart phones - BEA will expand our mobile application.  We will also do away with the giant event program we mailed 6-8 weeks prior to BEA which was always out of date the day it went to the printer.  We will look to combine the Event Program, Autographing lists & Show Directory into a new format that will live electronically and have a simpler printed version available on-site. 

There will be a lot more to come - but that is what we are working on 47 weeks out.  PLEASE don't be shy with your opinions, they are valid and will help the direction we go in for BEA 2011.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Gone fishing

Thanks to everyone for the wonderful feedback from BEA over the last week.  It is enourmously helpful and I will look forward to catching up with many people in the next few weeks as we will take the momentum from 2010 and make BEA 2011 a stellar event. 

For the next week - I am not sure how relaxing it will be, but I know it will be great fun taking the family to Disney for the 1st time.  I will be back to my desk on June 14th. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

BEA splits baby down the middle!

The title is a bit how I feel from the e-mails that are landing on both sides of being in favor of or being against BEA returning to a 3 day format.  Below is most of the content of a communication I sent out to the BEA Exhibitor Steering Committee.  I hope sharing details and context that went into our decision will help make sense of our reasoning.  The bottom line is that it was critically important for too many companies that needed 3 days to get the full value out of BEA and all I care about is delivering ROI.  BEA came back from grave predictions in 2009, 2010 was a great event by all the feedback I have gotten.  We are listening, we are engaged and BEA will surpass expecations again in 2011 no matter how lofty.  I hope that we have proven we will deliver over the last 2 years because you are going to have trust us that we will do this right.

Also below is a link to an article from Inside Higher Ed - which is typical of the feedback we are hearing from all corners.    

The overwhelming feedback has been extremely positive with BEA having delivered a dense, energy charged and productive event last week. That said, I wanted to take this opportunity to uniformly reply to questions I have been getting about our quick decision to restore BEA to a 3 day format.

People have suggested that BEA reacted too hastily without building a consensus as to what would have been preferred. I hope sharing the facts that went into our decision will alleviate this perception. Yes – there are certainly some participants who favor the 2 day format. But there are also many exhibitors who favor the 3 day format and for these exhibitors it is not just a question of "like or dislike"; these participants made it very clear that they critically need the additional day to complete their business and this genuinely impacted the value of BEA for them. This was both international exhibitors and smaller to mid sized publishers.  We consulted with ABA and AAP as well to share with them the concerns we were facing and they both understood and endorsed the need to go to the 3 day format. The main reason BEA was compelled to make this decision quickly was to secure the participation from so many of the international collective stands who would have refused to re-new their space for 2011. BEA without participation from Spain, Mexico, France, the UK, Italy, China, and so many more of the international collective stands would be a greatly diminished event for everyone.

We will address the exhibit hours to make the switch back to a 3 day format palatable and help reduce the number of hotel nights. Our initial plan will be to have the conference program along with the ABA program on the Monday at Javits. The exhibits would be Tuesday 10-5, Wednesday 9-5 and Thursday 9-3. We understand that we will have to strongly program the last day of BEA to make sure all 3 days are relevant. We know the biggest and best change for BEA was moving to mid week, having the last day end on a Thursday at 3:00 p.m. will be far different than a 3 day event ending on a Sunday afternoon.