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Tech vendors -- the 2010 AARP event in Orlando seems like an opportunity!

You've got products to improve the lives of AARP members. This week I had a chance to chat with Jackie Berdy, who is 'Exhibition Space and Sponsorship Programs Consultant' for the AARP Orlando@50+ event September 30-October 2. Although it is not yet posted on the AARP website for event sponsors and exhibitors, Jackie tells me that the event planning prioritization process has placed technology top of mind for this business-to-consumer event that attracted 24,000 last year. 

AARP planners want the event to showcase those products.  Following our chat, Jackie (JberdyAARP@showmgmt.com, office 410-531-7627) sent me this description that characterizes the attendee at the event as well as AARP's view of the role that tech will play in Orlando (emphasis is mine):

Event description from AARP: "Members that come to AARP’s National Event & Expo tend to be savvy, energetic community leaders and influencers with a median age of around 63. Based on last year’s attendee survey, approximately 45% work full time; 28% work part time.  The 50+ audience represents 1/3 of the US population but will spend 2/3 of the disposable income, outspending younger shoppers by $1 Trillion.

Life@50+ The Digital Experience streams the event program live, then moves the Orlando@50+ program and exhibiting participants to the AARP.org website to share it with nearly 38,000,000 AARP members through April, 2011. This “Virtual Event” is expected to attract an additional 25,000 – 50,000 attendees after the event.

The expo is a cash and carry show, so there is an opportunity to sell products and services directly on the show floor.  

A main focus of Orlando@50+ will be technology.  The feedback from AARP members who attended the event last year in Las Vegas was loud and clear.  They want to see more technology companies participate, especially those with products that can improve their lives in some way.

Orlando@50+ will feature a Technology Pavilion at the front of the show floor that will include hands-on, interactive exhibits from all types of technology companies as well as a 500-seat theater that will feature technology presentations.  Plans are in place for a Technology Lounge where members can email and surf the web and a Technology Learning Lab that will allow companies to promote their brand to a captive audience."

Why be there to meet these consumers and tech sponsors? Call me crazy, but this certainly seems like an unmatched opportunity for many of the vendors who read this website.*  True, there are many events throughout the year that vendors attend in order to raise their visibility with channel partners, learn what others are doing, form alliances, meet and educate professionals about their products, and find referrals and prospective buyers. But I am not sure there is an event that has attracted 24,000 attendees whose average age is 63 -- who may be caregivers, who may have several friends who are caregivers of seniors, and who have the money to spend on technology for themselves and for family that 'can make a life better'. That description seems to characterize so many of the technologies I hear about all the time.

It will be especially interesting to learn whether streaming the event live and keeping the material on the AARP website for multiple months is also good for vendors. For those that have a need to know, AARP has a Google Page Rank of 8 (out of 10).

Thoughts welcome.

* PLEASE NOTE: I am not invested in any way in selling sponsorships, exhibitors space, or soliciting attendees at this event. Nor do I have first-hand details about costs or logistics. Please contact Jackie Berdy to learn more.


June 15, 16 at Santa Clara University where I will be speaking and moderating a panel as well. Tech vendor attendees can use a discount code of FOM1 for the event. Hope to see you there.


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