NPGA plans Southeast show relocation to Nashville for 2016

October 8, 2013 By    

The National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) is planning to move its Southeastern Convention & International Propane Expo from Atlanta to Nashville, Tenn., in 2016, according to details from association meetings this week in Portland, Ore., and an NPGA webinar held on the move.

Though contracts have not been signed, the association says it is moving forward with the intent to complete the deal.

The decision is a result of NPGA’s efforts to review and find ways to improve the industry’s biggest show, which had suffered from attendance declines in recent years.

Industry officials say Atlanta has hosted a Southeast propane show for more than 50 total years.

“The task assigned was to create increased attendance, excitement and opportunities for the show, and I think this does that,” says Milt Swenson, chairman of NPGA’s Conventions Committee, of Arrow Tank & Engineering Co., who led two September webinars to explain the decision.

The city of Nashville opened a $623 million convention center this year that would provide, with 1.2 million total square feet, a more intimate venue for the show. Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center, which opened in 1976, is the fourth-largest convention center in the United States, measuring 3.9 million total square feet.

Nashville offers 10 hotels and 1,480 rooms – similar to Atlanta’s peak-room availability – within five blocks of the convention center. An Omni adjacent to the convention center would most likely serve as the event’s host hotel.

Swenson says the city could close a street running between the convention center and the Omni for outdoor events associated with the show.

A task force set up to review the show offered three recommendations to NPGA’s Executive Committee – focusing on the venue, show dates and co-locating at some point with the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Expo. In addition to the new venue, the show in 2016 would run from Friday to Sunday instead of the current Saturday-to-Monday pattern to accommodate site availability in Nashville.

Swenson says three propane industry groups were consulted on relocating the show – the Southeastern Advisory Committee (composed of state presidents, state directors and state association executives of seven southeastern states); NPGA’s Exhibitor Advisory Committee; and its Conventions Committee.

Members of the three groups visited Nashville and came away with a unanimous decision to hold the show there in 2016, Swenson says.

“The Executive Committee gave this site selection committee the ability to make the decision to move, if the site visit went well and all of the parameters would be in place as far as the venue, hotel availability, etcetera,” Swenson says.

No other cities outside Atlanta were seriously considered because general consensus for Nashville existed within the Southeastern Advisory Committee and timing to secure dates in Nashville became a factor, Swenson says.

The expo drew 2,785 total attendees (including 1,303 attendees and 1,266 exhibitor personnel) to this year’s show, breaking a three-year decline in the number of attendees walking the trade show floor.

It is uncertain whether Nashville would host the show beyond 2016. Atlanta will continue to host the event in 2014 and 2015. – Brian Richesson

Pictured above: Attendees walk the trade show floor in Atlanta

Comments are currently closed.