AALAS – Baltimore 2018
This year’s AALAS meeting was the most successful yet for Datesand and took place in Baltimore back in October. Jonathon and I headed out with a jam packed schedule for the week. After a long flight from Manchester and a lengthy layover at JFK (which included some VERY hot Hot Wings!) we landed into a cold and rainy Baltimore.
Saturday was spent setting up the booth and hitting the local CVS for bits we had forgotten. We then met with Andrea for dinner and to discuss our exciting progress with potential US Distribution partners. Sunday started with a new venture for Datesand – a distributor and key customer brunch meeting. This gave us an opportunity ahead of the meeting to discuss the key products in more detail and deliver some training on the new JWIA products. With around 15-20 attendees over the 2 hour session which included distributors and their invited key customers, he session was a great success. It was then straight on to prepare for my Technical Trade Presentation that afternoon.
There are 2 streams of Technical Trade Presentations on the Sunday afternoon at AALAS which allow exhibitors the opportunity to present to the delegates. It can’t be a direct sales pitch but should be about the technical nature or development of products or services. Years ago I had done one on the welfare enhancements on the Mini Thermacage and this year we submitted to present on the Janet Wood Award. With over 100 people in attendance, my 15 minutes of fame on the stage was really well received and 2 people even rated me as their “favourite presenter of the week”! Preben from Scanbur reliably informed me that I used the word “amazing” 7 times so I need to take a look at a thesaurus for future presentations! Straight after the presentation it was off to meet with one of the new US Distributors and then into a working dinner with Angie, our new contact at the Andersons.
On Monday, the trade exhibition opened and over the next 2 ½ days, the nearly 5000 registered delegates made their way around the trade hall to see the 400+ exhibition stands. This was by far our most successful show in terms of people visiting the stand and being really excited by the products. In fact we returned with over 300 leads and orders from 3 of our newly appointed distribution partners!
The formalities rounded off with the International Luncheon on the Wednesday where Allan Thornhill was deservedly awarded with the AAALAC Fellowship which is co-sponsored by Datesand and Priority One Services.
Wednesday evening saw the, now traditional, Brit’s Night take place at a local (but pretty dubious) Irish Bar. The numbers of UK trade and delegates was very low this year, probably due to a combination of location and funding available but we had a very entertaining evening nonetheless…Alan Graham and Jonathon got pretty competitive playing pool with some locals and their oponent’s jacket really didn’t need to be scratch and sniff!
Thursday saw the long journey home start and we arrived back to the UK early on Friday morning full of enthusiasm and excitement for the opportunities ahead.