AFA is making preparations for its upcoming Annual Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition and doing its best to help all exhibitors to have a successful show. As such we are mandating increased measures to protect exhibitors from suitcasing/outboarding at the show. This is AFA’s Suitcasing Policy, which will be posted using signage around the exhibit hall and included in the onsite guide for all attendees.
What is Suitcasing?
Suitcasing is a parasitic business practice in which unethical companies will gain access to an event by obtaining some type of event credential (attendee badge, expo-only badge etc.) and then solicit business in the aisles or other public spaces used for the conference. This practice skirts the support of the organizer and the industry. This does not pertain solely to soliciting the attendees of an event. As we all know, some of your biggest customers/vendors can be other exhibiting companies. So, when a salesperson for “Joe’s Manufacturing” (who is not exhibiting) shows up in your booth in an attempt to earn your business as a sub on your next big contract, they are suitcasing.
AFA has a zero tolerance policy regarding suitcasing.
Please note that while all meeting attendees are invited to the exhibit floor, any attendee who is observed to be soliciting business in the aisles or other public spaces, or in another company’s booth, will be asked to leave immediately. AFA recognizes that suitcasing may also take the form of commercial activity conducted from a hotel guest room or hospitality suite, a restaurant, or any other public place in proximity to our event. For the purposes of this policy, suitcasing violations may occur at venues other than the exhibition floor and at other events. It is for this reason AFA must be informed of any hospitality suites, and expressed consent must be given prior to the event.
The Suitcasing Prevention Team
AFA has created a Suitcasing Prevention Team that will be in place for the duration of the conference. The team will consist of AFA staff, conference security, and the most important member of the team, YOU! Exhibitors will be our greatest asset in preventing suitcasing since there are so many of you and you are everywhere.
What to Look For
Identifying potential ‘suitcasers’ is fairly simple, given the nature of our event. First, anyone in uniform is probably not suitcasing which is a significant portion of the attendees. Second, look for those non-exhibitor attendees who appear to be initiating contact in the aisles or in booths. Lastly, any attendee who appears to be handing anything out in the aisles, because as we all know, distribution of anything is restricted to ones booth space unless otherwise approved by AFA.
What Can You Do?
Please report any violations you may observe to the Exhibit Manager, other AFA Staff, or conference security. The Exhibit Manager will investigate all complaints of suitcasing.
Upon receipt of a complaint from an exhibitor, AFA will review the complaint with the reporting party and if possible observe the suspected suitcaser. AFA will then address the issued directly with the subject of the complaint. If found to be valid, the complaint will be resolved by offering the suitcasing company the option of immediately purchasing booth space on the floor (if available) or surrendering the conference credentials and leaving the premises at once.
If you have questions regarding this or any matter relating to AFA events, please contact: Dennis Sharland
Manager, Industry Relations and Expositions