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Efforts toward a west coast Nats

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Lots of good discussion.

 

Seems there are a number of tradeoffs that IPMS, the Nats organizers, and individual IPMS members have to make.

 

Cost is one. I found some site online which estimates total cost for a trip from Albuquerque to Columbia and compares driving with flying. I rolled in hotel costs in Columbia and food during the entire adventure -- and some incidentals like registration and banquet. Plus I estimated I'd drop @250 in the vendor room. If my wife goes with me, driving, roughly, is @$2300 and flying is @2700. If she stays home, driving is reduced to @ $1700 and flying to @ $1800. And, if my wife comes, she'll shop.

 

If I had to pay $200 for a room, counting room cost and taxes, it would add another @$400 to the total cost. So, either @2700 driving or @$3100 flying w/wife. @2100 and @$2200 without. That is way over $1000. (See why I'd like a Western convention?)The closer the convention, the less time I spend on the road and the less food I buy. As hotel price goes up, my cost goes up hundreds of dollars. My saving grace was staying with friends in Phoenix and Omaha and, looks like, in Columbia. And sharing a room in KC. I had reservations in Columbus, but it just got too expensive -- so I cancelled.

 

A second tradeoff is the focus of the Nats. As others have asked, is it a modeler's convention or a family vacation? With the exception of my wife, who can tolerate a Nats event for about one day and will find a quilt shop somewhere, Or two quilt shops. Or six. there are lots more quilt than hobby shops and they are everywhere. I have no interest in the Nats as a family event. I go for the models and the judging and the vendors and friends --- I find that interesting enough. I basically ignore all of the family stuff. Obviously, others don't see it that way. If I drive, I find that I can discover lots of things to do and see on the way and back.

 

A third tradeoff is the date of the Nats. Other discussion has indicated that those who make the Nats a family vacation want Nats in the summer. I would rather have Nats in the fall or spring, when it isn't so hot (usually) and when school aged kids aren't all over the places I want to see. I understand that, in the distant past, Nats used to be in the spring? But, I'm inside in air conditioning so the date is not a major issue for me.

 

I guess it really comes down to cost and available time. If Columbia winds up being costly, I doubt I'll ever be back East -- unless, as this year, I will combine the Nats with other visits to family and friends and spend at least three weeks on the road.

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This is one major advantage of living in Oklahoma. We're pretty much in the center of the country, so the location of the convention isn't too much a concern.

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Is that an offer?

 

Cause I love Bricktown. I have to tell this story.

 

At the OKC Nats, three of us from our local club attended. My wife was there with me. We discovered the Bricktown Brewery and their jugs of beer. We walked and ate there every night and bought a jug and had it filled and refilled -- cause there was a considerable price break if you bought the jug itself. My wife only had one glass. By the time we were ready to walk back to the hotel, the three of us were in that sombre and very serious phase of drinking, and we became very concerned about the jug. We designated my wife as the jug carrier. Because we were worried that we might be drunk enough to drop and break it. We told her that jug carrier was a position of great honor. We wandered along, quite jolly and happy to be at Nats. While my wife trailed, holding a jug of beer.

 

She didn't think it was as funny as we did.

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I remember heading into Bricktown for dinner at various restaurants. Yum!

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Lots of good discussion.

 

Seems there are a number of tradeoffs that IPMS, the Nats organizers, and individual IPMS members have to make.

 

 

A second tradeoff is the focus of the Nats. As others have asked, is it a modeler's convention or a family vacation? With the exception of my wife, who can tolerate a Nats event for about one day and will find a quilt shop somewhere, Or two quilt shops. Or six. there are lots more quilt than hobby shops and they are everywhere. I have no interest in the Nats as a family event. I go for the models and the judging and the vendors and friends --- I find that interesting enough. I basically ignore all of the family stuff. Obviously, others don't see it that way. If I drive, I find that I can discover lots of things to do and see on the way and back.

 

 

David, I think you have taken my comment about the family involvement in the wrong context. The convention is, has been, and always will be, about modelers. The convention has never provided family oriented activities except for perhaps a make and take. All of the direct activities including tours, demonstrations and other activities are centered around building models.

 

Having said that, selection of a venue can definitely impact the attendance and the type of attendees. If IPMS's sole focus was on the solitary model builder then the Motel 6 in the middle of the desert would be fine.

 

However, few model builders are isolated individuals who can spend money on a trip for themselves without consideration for the rest of the family. Thus a "family friendly" location that would allow members a choice of other activities would encourage a different group of builders more so than the Motel 6 option.

 

There is an entire range between Motel 6 and a Disneyland adventure and when looking at competing bids, it would not be unreasonable to consider this aspect. The question then becomes, would the model builder be willing to spend a bit more to include their family/spouse in the trip or is it solely a trip for the modeler? This is not something that we can answer as it is really the decision of the individual. What IPMS needs to consider when choosing a location, is can we attract more modelers to attend one location over another.

 

My personal answer goes like this. I won't go to Omaha or Columbus or Dayton. Been there done that, don't need to go back. Same with Loveland. My choice and I am not disparaging others who would. Would I go to Anaheim, Vega or Seattle? Oh, heck yes! A contest in or around DC or New Orleans? Absolutely! To me location is a critical component. The contest is important, but I want to see something I haven't seen before or I want it to be within driving distance. If I am going to spend a couple of grand, I want something beside a contest.

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I'd guess there is no one answer as to what people are looking for in the Nats.

 

I have taken advantage of the great room deals the Orlando folks made to take my family to Disney twice, and on the first trip we learned that when we're combining a family vacation with a Nats we have to add a few days for family time because there are going to be 2 or 3 days when I'm at the show and they're not going to see me. Aside from Disney we haven't done any more doubling up, mostly because the locations haven't been all that exciting for my family (I think we considered a double-dip for Virginia Beach once, but it fell through due to some family emergency).

 

I have to admit the last few Nats I rarely made it out of the hotel except for a short trip to a restaurant for dinner. Occasionally there is a good modeling-related tour (e.g. the Shelby museum in Loveland), but I rarely see any of the local touristy things there just due to lack of time, as without the family being there I'm unlikely to take extra vacation days to see the sites.

 

At this point in my life easy travel and a nice venue (big display and vendor rooms, lots of nearby restaurants and snack bars, reasonable priced rooms) are more important than the locations, but if I were retired or had young kids again I'd probably have a very different take. I think that's a good reason to rotate the show to appeal to everyone at least every few years.

 

Don

Edited by Schmitz
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...

David, I think you have taken my comment about the family involvement in the wrong context.

 

I think you're right.

 

Having said that, selection of a venue can definitely impact the attendance and the type of attendees. If IPMS's sole focus was on the solitary model builder then the Motel 6 in the middle of the desert would be fine.

 

What do have against Twentynine Palms? I would venture, however, that there is an unstated, or even stated, rule that Nats must have some sort of family activity. And that is is weighed in during the selection process. So, a chapter, say, in Boise (which I would eagerly go to) or some other small to medium city, won't bid because they "know" they are not going to be competitive.

...

 

There is an entire range between Motel 6 and a Disneyland adventure and when looking at competing bids, it would not be unreasonable to consider this aspect.

...

 

Yes. An example of a non-traditional destination city might be Salt Lake City, which I find full of family things to do. Activities there aren't in a neat package, like Disneyland; one has to make the effort to get out and find them. Like Omaha. And the upcoming Columbia. Ever been to Ninety-Six National Historic Site? I heard some complaining about Loveland because there wasn't much family activity on site ... when the Rockies were an hour or so away, Denver was just south, and Cheyenne was a bit north.

 

There may be a regional difference here as well. I'm from New Mexico, where a 7-9 hour drive is the minimum to get to any sort of larger city. So, a couple of hours from Columbia to Charleston is trivial.

 

Your point is well taken, though.

 

My personal answer goes like this. I won't go to Omaha or Columbus or Dayton. Been there done that, don't need to go back. Same with Loveland. My choice and I am not disparaging others who would. Would I go to Anaheim, Vega or Seattle? Oh, heck yes! A contest in or around DC or New Orleans? Absolutely! To me location is a critical component. The contest is important, but I want to see something I haven't seen before or I want it to be within driving distance. If I am going to spend a couple of grand, I want something beside a contest.

 

Here we are in general accord. There are some places I wouldn't go to ... not because I've been there, but because the getting there is such a pain. And, if the main convention hotel is sold out and the alternatives are problematic -- like Columbus -- I'd cancel. And did. But I will go back to Omaha. And would go back to Loveland ... because Nats is Nats and because I find a lot to do along the way and while there.

 

I absolutely agree with you that a new city that I haven't explored is a great attraction ... like Seattle or Vegas or DC or New York. New Orleans would be great -- I've been there a half dozen times and we are considering going back again this spring.

 

I do think that IPMS has been tending to repeat locations ... Phoenix, Columbus, Omaha, eastern Virginia. That could become a long term problem. And there are many locations that beg for a Nats -- San Diego, Seattle, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Boston, New York, Pensacola, San Antonio, Minneapolis, and on and on. I am always in hope that some new location will put in a bid.

 

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"What do have against Twentynine Palms? I would venture, however, that there is an unstated, or even stated, rule that Nats must have some sort of family activity. And that is is weighed in during the selection process. So, a chapter, say, in Boise (which I would eagerly go to) or some other small to medium city, won't bid because they "know" they are not going to be competitive."

 

I can tell you from personal experience this is NOT the case. I was told any number of times the same thing when we decided to bid OKC for the Nats. Mike Brickman (the second VP at the time) discussed with me exactly why we lost our first bid, which REALLY helped to prepare our next bid. Our bid was rejected because we divided our hotel room nights between too many hotels and that our primary hotel just didn't have as many rooms as our competitor, Dallas. Tours and stuff like that are considered secondary. We offered very little in the way of tours or outside attractions, and we still won the bid the second time around. We DID have our Bricktown entertainment district and a few smaller things which I am sure helped us. Having said that, like any competitive bid, the more you have to offer, the greater your chances of winning the bid.

 

EVERYONE has a chance to host the Nats. I would suggest you speak to either Ron Bell or the new second VP and ask a LOT of questions. They will be happy to tell just what they are looking for in a successful bid. They will also send you some copies of previous winners bids which is quite helpful as well.

 

In short, don't let any one tell you your city wouldn't be a good venue for the Nats. Present your bid with enthusiasm you feel for your town and that will go a LONG way to win the bid.

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Albuquerque had a very nice convention in 1995.

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Yes, it was my first IPMS Nats. My younger son won a first place in a Junior Figure category. He leads the family at placing at Nats.

 

IMHO, the folks who advocated and ran that convention are out of the club and/or out of the hobby or both. I have no idea what the current thinking is about Nats in the Albquerque club.

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The only tricky thing about Albuquerque is remembering not to take that left turn at Pismo Beach..... :smiley2:

 

GIL :smiley16:

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An interesting discussion...

 

Food for thought. We're seeing the "First Tier" cities (think Atlanta, NYC, Dallas, Chicago, etc.) being priced out of our market. When we bid for the Nationals here in Columbia the first time (2012 for the 2014 show), we went to the Convention Bureau, and they were more than happy to put together some ideas for us. We went back to them when we lost the bid and told them we were preparing a re-bid for 2016, and they did some quick math and revised their estimates to fit. Once we told them what the financial take was from the past several conventions, they literally started falling all over themselves to help. They are interested in putting Columbia on the map as a convention-friendly city, and are truly excited to be hosting IPMS this August.

 

So, if you live in a smaller city that's not quite on the lips of every American, contact the local convention bureau--you may be surprised what they're willing to do to attract people to their city. I'm thinking of places all over the country--Phoenix has bid several times, but what about Tucson? Scottsdale? Sacramento? Portland? Santa Fe? Grand Junction? I'd attend an IPMS Nationals at any of those places.

 

Some other cities that I think might have a willing partner in the city's convention bureau? Aiken/Augusta (SC/GA), Charleston (SC), Charlotte, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Jacksonville/St. Augustine/Daytona Beach, Saint Petersburg/Ft. Myers/Naples, Lincoln/Omaha, San Antonio, Baton Rouge, Birmingham...we've already covered OKC and Phoenix, but there are other cities out there that could host a dandy Nationals. It all starts with desire on the part of the local club, and a willing city convention bureau.

 

You won't know if you don't ask.

 

Ralph

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"You won't know if you don't ask."

 

EXACTLY! And don't listen to the nay sayers on the Net. No one knows your city like you do.

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Something else, and I believe it has been mentioned in the past when the subject has come up--if you think your club with 6 guys in it isn't large enough to shoulder the workload of a National Convention, why not contact the other clubs in the area to see if they'd like to present a joint convention? Orlando in 1999 was the first I recall where members from several Chapters joined together to host a Nationals, and it seems to be more and more prevalent these days. The Columbia show is being co-hosted, as a matter of fact. With the National office handling the finances, it is actually even easier now than it was them...

 

Ralph

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