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Global Pet Expo 2020: What You Need to Know About This Year's Show


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The annual Global Pet Expo will be held this year from Feb. 26-28 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., giving retailers a shot to get the year started right. Andrew Darmohraj, executive vice president and COO of the American Pet Products Association (APPA)—which co-produces the show with the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA)—reveals what attendees can expect from this year’s event. 

Pet Product News: Does this year’s event have a theme? If so, what is it and what inspired it?

Andrew Darmohraj: We are excited about this year’s theme, Welcome to Our World. Each year when we enter the creative process to develop the next show’s campaign, we always want to make sure that it engages audiences both familiar and not with Global Pet Expo. This year’s theme encompasses our key messages by welcoming attendees and potential attendees to our show, the world we know as Global Pet Expo! 

It also is a reflection of the show’s international audience—our exhibitors and buyers come from more than 80 countries around the world. This also is in line with the idea that this show is the best opportunity to experience “the pet world” in one place.

PPN: Global Pet Expo provides the opportunity to see hundreds and hundreds of new products. What advice do you have for first-time attendees about how to navigate this sprawling show? Are there any tools they should know about that can help guide them?

Darmohraj: There is no question that the show floor can be overwhelming for any first-time attendee, especially as it continues to grow year after year. The most important thing is to have a plan before you arrive—set appointments with exhibitors you have to meet and have a list of the things you absolutely need to accomplish.  

Once you are in Orlando, we always advise new attendees to check out the New Products Showcase, as it’s a good way to get a first glimpse of the latest in innovations for the year. This 45,000-square-foot space features over 1,000 new products. We also encourage buyers to check out the specialty sections including What’s New!, as these are first-time exhibitors that oftentimes are debuting new products as well. Designated special sections on the show floor help make navigating a bit easier, including: Natural Pet, Boutique and Everything Aquatic. Additionally, there’s a trolley on the show floor that makes a full loop of the exhibit hall, so you can simply hop on if you need to cover a lot of territory quickly. 

There are many useful tools online and on our Global Pet Expo app that can help you to be as prepared as possible in terms of scheduling meetings and planning your visit to maximize your trade show experience. Once onsite, we recommend picking up a show map, directory and a Show Daily to stay up-to-date on the show’s latest information.

PPN: The show truly is global. Tell us about who exhibits and attends the expo, and why industry participants from all over the globe make the trip each year.

Darmohraj: Global Pet Expo 2019 had amazing international participation! International buyers representing 81 countries made up 29 percent of the total buyer attendance, a 4 percent increase from the 2018 show. Additionally, Global Pet Expo had 304 international exhibitors representing 35 countries at the show. 
Global Pet Expo is truly an international marketplace. To make things easier for buyers, we feature country-specific pavilions. As with all attendees, we continuously look for new ways to help enhance the trade show experience, and we want to be sure our offerings continue to evolve to meet the needs of all of our exhibitors. As the first industry trade show of the year, attendees from around the globe have come to recognize Global Pet Expo as a must-attend event. This is truly a key opportunity to see firsthand more new product launches than can be found at any other event of its kind. Our growth across the board, and in our international numbers, reflect this sentiment, and we are proud to be known as the industry’s premier event.

PPN: What can attendees expect from this year’s Global Pet Expo Academy? And can you tell us a little bit about the thought that goes into developing the educational portion of the expo?

Darmohraj: This year’s Global Pet Expo Academy is bringing 46 hours of first-class educational programs that attendees can attend for free. Every session is jampacked with useful tips and expert advice from the experiences of today’s most successful retail educators. We make sure we continue to stay up-to-date on what buyers and attendees want to learn more about. As expected, this year’s seminars will include trending topics like social media and how to convert your connections to actual sales, hemp and CBD [cannabidiol] treats, and more. Attendees will be exposed to industry best practices that can be put into action immediately and for years to come.   

When we map out the academy for the upcoming show, we make sure that the topics are relevant to the attendees and we have the appropriate experts speaking about the topic. We’ve also used feedback from previous shows to see what seminars have been well attended and to ensure we are offering topics that attendees find truly useful. All the seminars can be found at globalpetexpo.org, and pre-registration is not required, but space is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

PPN: Aside from the opportunity to see so many pet products in one spot and the educational offerings, what other advantages come with attending the show?

Darmohraj: Never underestimate the value of a face-to-face meeting! We truly believe the rare opportunity to meet with valuable industry leaders under one roof is one of the most important reasons to attend. Our one-of-a-kind networking opportunities available at the show are second to none. Whether that be networking with other exhibitors or buyers or maybe even media, it’s a really great chance to get your company out there and expand your network within the pet industry. To kick off the first day of the show, you won’t want to miss our annual Networking Reception, open to all attendees. This is a great event where you can mingle, socialize, and enjoy cocktails and appetizers with exhibitors, buyers, media and trade show organizers. Make sure to visit our website to ensure you take advantage of all the offerings available to you at the 2020 show.

PPN: Are there any new features or highlights of this year’s expo that attendees should know about?

Darmohraj: With more than 360,000 net square feet of exhibit space, Global Pet Expo 2020 will feature an expanded trade show floor. With that, we expect more exhibitors, which means we also expect to see more new products than ever before! As mentioned previously, this year’s Global Pet Expo Academy will feature even more first-class educational programs, and look for some of the sessions to take place in “pop-up” spaces on the show floor! Additionally, we have an updated app, designed to more easily connect exhibitors and buyers. 

How Coronavirus Is Impacting the Show

Global Pet Expo organizers are taking action following concerns about how the coronavirus will impact exhibitors at the show. 

"The health and safety of all Show participants are paramount," officials said in a statement. "The Global Pet Expo management team is working closely with the Orange County Convention Center and surrounding hotels to stay apprised of developing precautionary measures to further reduce potential health risks at the Show. Additionally, we will continue to follow the guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, and will provide emerging information accordingly."

Organizers also noted that the "vast majority" of Chinese exhibitors will not exhibit at this year's show and will not have outside representation available to "take their place at this year's show." 

"Moreover, any foreign nationals that have visited China within the last 14 days are barred from entering the United States," officials added. "Therefore, these attendees will not be able to participate in this year's Global Pet Expo."

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