Episode 327 – Matt and Josh recap the 2023 IAAPA Expo

Networking, Podcast

Keep connecting with IAAPA in 2024! Join your colleagues and peers at the IAAPA FEC Summit from January 21st to the 23rd in San Antonio, Texas. Or, plan to celebrate the industry’s most significant achievements at the new IAAPA Honors event held in conjunction with the IAAPA North America Summit, March 3rd to the 5th in Las Vegas.

We can’t wait to see you there! Visit IAAPA.org for more information.


The 2023 IAAPA expo proved to be nothing short of incredible. From mesmerizing drone shows to jam-packed education sessions, this expo was a standout event. As attendance continues to grow each year since the pandemic,, the 2023 expo provided something meaningful for everyone and helped catapult our industry into the coming year. In this episode, Matt and Josh talk about their key takeaways from IAAPA’s 2023 convention from their on-the-floor and bird’s eye perspectives. 

IAAPA Expo is one of the best indicators of the overall health of the attractions industry.

With a crowded show floor and people lining every corner, IAAPA proved to be an exciting and energetic environment. Since its beginning, IAAPA has consistently served as a strong indicator of the health of the industry, showing the progress from concern and caution in the pandemic to the excitement and risk-taking that we’re seeing again today. 

Our industry provides so many avenues to be passionate about.

IAAPA encapsulates so many avenues of our industry under one roof, and provides a great opportunity not only to specialize in an avenue, but also to learn about different tracks and take great nuggets of information to apply elsewhere. Valuable lessons transcend boundaries; even individuals in HR can glean insights from the more imaginative, and vice versa. By allowing for these avenues to learn from each other, innovation can be born and our industry can go even further. 

Guest service training for frontline staff should include service recovery and complaint resolution.

Josh shared that throughout his expo experience, the number one issue he found is that not enough employers train their frontline staff on service recovery and complaint resolution. Service failures and guest complaints are part of the standard operation, and thus should be incorporated into our frontline staff’s training. Everybody loses when the manager gets involved, and our frontline staff should be well-equipped to get dissatisfied guests back on track to being satisfied. 

IAAPA Expo provides ample opportunities to overcome fears and expand your professional development.

Many people accomplished something for the first time at this year’s expo. So many people struggle with getting on the stage and sharing their knowledge, and many others struggle with imposter syndrome and confidence. IAAPA provides a safe and exciting place to overcome these fears, and it helps expand people’s confidence and skills like networking and sales that can boost their professional development. 

Investing in your team’s professional development pays off substantially in the long run.

Providing an investment in a young leader’s future can pay off substantially in the long run, and experiential learning is a priceless way to grow and develop a team. The offerings in Orlando are endless, and people can learn from their experiences at parks like Disney, Universal, and LEGOLAND in addition to their time at IAAPA. Young leaders in the industry are just as hungry as they are impressionable, and that investment will be priceless.

This year’s IAAPA Expo shows that the industry embraces creativity, innovation, and risk-taking.

The reveals and announcements at this year’s expo were far beyond anything that the exhibitors at IAAPA have previously offered. This year, we saw the industry not just follow the standard path, but take chances and go outside of its comfort zone. From gravy trains to brand-new coaster styles, we saw the industry saying “Why Not?” more than ever this year, generating even more excitement and energy on the show floor. 

Were you at IAAPA Expo 2023?  Tell us your biggest takeaway!  Click here to leave us a voice message in the Speakpipe.  To learn more about IAAPA, including events they host throughout the year all over the world, click here

This podcast wouldn’t be possible without the incredible work of our faaaaaantastic team:

  • Scheduling and correspondence by Kristen Karaliunas
  • A/V editing by Abby Giganan
  • Summary written by Mason Nichols

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