If you're an NADA convention regular, you probably think you know where the convention is going to be for the next several years.
You think it's a snap to figure out because the book NADA gives you when you register usually lists the locations and dates for the next seven or eight NADA conventions.
Not so fast.
The inside front cover of the 2006 book shows only that next year the convention is in Las Vegas and the year after it's in San Francisco.
Last year's book showed that the 2009 convention would be in New Orleans - but that was before Hurricane Katrina devastated the Crescent City.
Apparently there is concern that the city may not be ready to host NADA even with three more years to recover.
I'm not worried. Steve Pitt is a miracle worker. He is NADA's executive director of conventions and expositions, and in the 20 years I've known him, I've never seen him flustered. Not even four years ago,when the NADA convention swapped weeks with the Super Bowl because the NFL had postponed a week of games at the beginning of the season, right after 9/11.
So don't worry about 2009. Pitt and his team can handle whatever happens.
What I worry about is 2010, because that's the next time the convention is supposed to be back in Orlando.
Let's face it: Orlando may be a swell place to bring the family for a vacation or buy a condo for those golden years, but it isn't much of a convention town.
I haven't heard this much complaining about a venue since Dallas and Atlanta were scrapped.
The chief squawks are:
- Not as many dealer principals come here.
- Most of the hotels are in the middle of nowhere, and they're too far apart. It's bad enough during the day when the shuttles run, but it's tougher at night when you're trying to get to a restaurant or take in more than one reception.
- Taxis are too expensive.
I know there are political considerations. Dealers in the East like to have the convention in their own time zone every couple of years. And heaven forbid the association ever schedule a northern city.
If yanking the convention out of New Orleans in 2009 is possible, wouldn't it be wise to also rethink Orlando?
Let's see a show of hands.
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at [email protected]