November 27, 2013
Last week Astro Jump offices from around the country gathered in Orlando, Florida for our annual meeting and to attend the annual International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) trade show. All of the Astro Jump offices are independently owned and we use this trade show as our time to discuss the industry and make purchases for the next amusement season. It is always a fun trip with plenty of interesting discussions and new and exciting creations from the inflatables industry.
Our first day of the trip was spent at the trade show looking at all of the new equipment being showcased by the inflatables manufacturers. You might ask, “what else is there in the inflatables industry other than moonbounces, cotton candy and cheesy carnival games?” Well, you would be surprised. In order to capture the rental industry’s attention each year, the inflatables manufacturers are in constant pursuit of the new inflatable amusement creation. As a result, the trade show brings with it plenty of new fun ideas for the amusement rental industry. A while back moonbounce combos were the new creation. Then came inflatable waterslides. Sadly I don’t think the next big invention from the industry presented itself this year, but even so the Astro Jump team got to see a few fun inflatable creations. We all spent the first half of the day talking with the manufacturers and trying out their new equipment before splitting up to see what else IAAPA had to offer.
Inflatables are huge. In fact on a per item basis, they were the largest individual items at the show. Even so, in aggregate, the inflatables only took up I would guess about 10 % of the floor space. The rest of the trade show is a combination of video and arcade game vendors, mechanical amusement companies, and various parts suppliers. Two years ago at the show Astro Jump of Metro DC purchased our very first laser tag equipment for outdoor laser tag from Adventure Sports HQ. While we tend to stick with inflatables, it is a blast to roam the floor trying out the newest video games and amusement attractions. The bottom line is that IAAPA has more than you could ever imagine.
This year Astro Jump of Metro DC purchased a few more inflatable waterslides. We also purchased a new interactive team building game we are all very excited about. Lastly, we took the leap and decided that it was time to purchase our first mechanical amusement device. I am being vague on purpose because many of these deals have not yet been finalized, but stay tuned in future posts when we will reveal in detail our new rental options for 2014.
Astro Jump had a great show and invested a lot of money into new equipment. One of the benefits of being part of a franchise is to learn what inflatables are popular rentals for other similar companies around the country. It enables us to invest our money into equipment that we know you, our customer, will like. We enjoyed spending time with the other offices and learned much from their industry experiences this year. I look forward to heading back next year to discuss changes to the industry and to see if the manufacturers have come up with the next great inflatable rental creation. In conclusion, if you ever have a chance to go to IAAPA, it’s worth the trip.