October 21, 2012
Every year the inflatable industry gathers at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) annual trade show to shop for new equipment. For the last few years the event has been held in Orlando, Florida. This year, because of price increases from the IAAPA organization, many of the world’s largest inflatable manufacturers are boycotting the event. Since companies like Astro Jump still need new equipment, they decided to throw a series of “Air Shows” around the country instead.
This year the Air Show closest to Astro Jump of Metro DC took place in Philadelphia, PA in late September at the convention center. Many Astro Jump offices around the country used the opportunity to get together to discuss the year and new product ideas. A few of us from Astro Jump of Metro DC took the opportunity to meet the other offices and see what the inflatable industry had to offer us.
Since the early days of Astro Jump of Metro DC, we have been known for having the nicest and most diverse inflatable selection in the area. Every year we look at the types of equipment our customers tend to rent and then make our buying and selling decisions based on this analysis. Through this approach Astro Jump of Metro DC has been able to stay ahead of the curve with new types of equipment. The Air Show in Philadelphia was our opportunity this year to look at the new ideas produced by the manufacturers.
I am going to save what we purchased for another blog post, but I do want to take a second to describe the scene at the Air Show and other inflatable events across the country like it. Imagine entering a stadium FULL of every type of inflatable ride you can imagine. There are moonbounces, large inflatable slides, interactive inflatables, moonbounce combos in many shapes and sizes, waterslides, carnival games and even inflatable laser tag arenas just to name a few. Not only are they a spectacle to observe, but you also get to play on them! Yes, even us who spend every day talking and cleaning inflatables like to play on them. In fact, it is important that we do play on them. By interacting with the pieces we learn each inflatable’s strengths and any potential weaknesses. This allows us to make better buying decisions and gives us an idea of the types of customers that might enjoy them. At the end of the day, we were all exhausted from too much bouncing and a very heavy Philly Cheesesteak!
I would consider our trip to the Air Show this year a major success. We made several buying decisions (it’s a surprise!) and discussed the feedback given to us by our customers with the manufacturers. We have a few more buying decisions to make and will report back soon with what new inflatables you can expect from Astro Jump of Metro DC.