The summer and winter seasons in North America are punctuated by the Outdoor Retailer trade shows for our sister industry, the outdoor product and equipment retail industry. In the same way that adventure destinations inspire thoughtful travel, outdoor gear can inspire people to explore new places, activities, cultures and ideas. This is why we work so closely and so well with outdoor brands that promote what we do.
The ATTA sent four team members to the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City, Utah, this year. President Shannon Stowell and Vice President Jason Reckers were there to meet with advisors and hold strategic business meetings with partners and potential partners. Chris Chesak, Executive Director – North America and Oceania, met with current ATTA members, while Communications Manager Jen Pemberton met with media and talked to current members about their communications and marketing needs.
The team wanted to continue to show tour operators and members just how closely these two industries are related, so the ATTA invited Richard Edwards of PEAK Adventure Travel to enjoy the Outdoor Retailer Show with them. Edwards is a board member of the ATTA, but as a representative of many of the tour operators we work with, we wanted to show him in person how we work with outdoor industry brands through partnerships, sweepstakes and co-promotions. It was easy to align PEAK with several brands at the show that they could soon be working with on exciting consumer promotions.
“What the ATTA does is facilitate natural partnerships between like-minded companies,” said Shannon Stowell. “With so many of our advisors and partners in Salt Lake City for the show, it makes sense for us to be here and to introduce all these business owners and travel experts, whom we respect, to each other. Our goals are so similar that it makes our job easy.”
Of course, the fun part of the Outdoor Retailer Show is seeing all the new gear before it hits the shelves or web pages of our favorite stores. The sneak peak at Eagle Creek’s new EC LYNC luggage system, for instance, gets us excited about what we do. The system, which allows a traveler to use a roller bag, then either take off the bag to use as a backpack and/or collapse the whole system down into a single stuff sack, makes you want to pack your bags even if you don’t know where you’re going yet. It’s a great system for travelers who don’t like staring down a huge piece of empty luggage at home between trips.
Chris Chesak has been attending the Outdoor Retailer show for over fifteen years and said that this year was particularly productive and beneficial. “Bringing a respected operator like PEAK Adventure Travel to the OR show was a great way to demonstrate the incredible potential for partnerships between destinations, operators and equipment,” he said. “These connections seem really obvious to us, so it’s rewarding to see all the lightbulbs above everyone’s head when they realize how well we can all work together.”
A breakfast with the Conservation Alliance was a great reminder of why we are all in the business of getting people outside. Keynote speaker Gary Ferguson talked about the 50th anniversary of the United States’ Wilderness Act. Ferguson is a nature writer, whose books and lectures help pinpoint what it is about wilderness and natural places that is so important to the human experience. He boiled it down to Beauty, Mystery and Community, which seemed like exactly the right elements to focus on when inspiring adventure.
Everything at the Outdoor Retailer Show, from shoes to tents to backpacks to insulated beverage containers, naturally makes you ponder where you want to go and test out this sweet new gear. The way these products transport you in your mind to new places is exactly why the ATTA attends this show every year. We’re awfully good at daydreaming about travel already and the fantastic array of new apparel, gear and other innovative outdoor products at the OR show makes it even easier to slip away to the backcountry in our minds….or maybe even an impulsive trip based on new backpack.