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
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
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
Manager, Industry Relations and Expositions