The Simon Background:
Beginning as a top regional amateur and progressing to a standout college player on the Hamilton College golf team, Simon has been involved in the golf industry nearly his entire life.
First working at a golf course, and then as a member of the PGA Show management team since 1998.
Under his leadership, the PGA Show twice was awarded the prestigious Gold 100 “Greatest Show” designation by Trade Show Executive Magazine and was recognized as a finalist for the 2022 TSNN Resilience/Comeback Award.
The pandemic impacted the broader trade show market and the PGA Show clearly was influenced during the ’21 and ’22 events. What’s the expectations for this year’s event?
Knowing the fast pace the PGA of America and PGA Golf Exhibitions are moving heading into the PGA Show, combined with the response by participating companies, PGA Professionals, buyers, media, industry leaders and a PGA Show Week calendar of events that is packed unlike any recent year, even prior to COVID, the golf community is in store for a busy, productive, enjoyable PGA Show Week experience.
The golf industry is very excited to be back in person, connecting with peers and driving business forward together at the start of the New Year in Orlando.
How will the ’23 event go beyond past shows and are all the key exhibitors planning to be on hand?
Yes, they are, in fact, more than 800 companies are participating in the PGA Show –emerging entrepreneurs, veteran manufacturers and the games’ most recognizable brands are building an exciting marketplace for thousands of PGA Professionals, buyers and industry leaders to discover what’s new and next on the Show Floor.
This year’s Show also is introducing multiple new features to help connect the industry, create an even better platform for product discovery and sourcing, and grow careers and businesses.
From the simple but valuable scan-a-badge feature on the mobile app — so that you can digitally collect and manage new business relationships — to important club fitting and range education at Demo & Fitting Day. From a simple self-serve kiosk for scanning your QR code to efficiently print your Show badge to a new Career Zone connecting employers with potential staff recruits.
And from the largest ever Inventors Spotlight pavilion with more than 50 inventors participating to the all-new PGA Professional Hub featuring Association partners, resources and a preview of the new Home of the PGA at PGA Frisco – we are committed to providing an exceptional PGA Show experience that continually refreshes with each year you attend.
Is Orlando the preferred place for the PGA Show to remain?
Orlando has been an ideal PGA Show destination since 1985 and continues to grow its value by offering additional services and amenities to our guests each and every year. The destination, combined with the unique offerings of our venues, create assets and facilities that we would be hard-pressed to match anywhere else.
The exhibit hall and abundance of off-floor meeting rooms of the Orange County Convention Center, the expanse of the range and practice facility of Orange County National Golf Center, the easy access to reasonably priced flights into Orlando International Airport, the wealth of hotel options at all price points, plentiful golf, dining and entertainment options and the likelihood of warm weather – for these reasons and more,
Orlando appeals tremendously to our PGA Show guests!
How much of a role does customer feedback influence actions by Reed and in what ways to you encourage such comments?
This is an easy, direct answer. Attendee and exhibiting company feedback drives our business.
We are only successful when our industry prospers from their PGA Show participation. From personal interactions with PGA Professionals, VIP buyers and participating companies to formal surveys and industry advisory boards that guide our planning – the PGA Show serves the industry, and we do our very best.
Not only meet the needs of the whole but anticipate them so that we provide business solutions that cater to industry trends and upcoming challenges.
What’s the biggest issue you have to deal with that few people will ever see or fully appreciate?
Meeting the needs of the whole.
There are widely varying sectors, cycles, business plans, etc. – that is why we build the PGA Show platform to serve the whole of our global golf community but create programs and event resources that offer a custom participation plan to address individual company, PGA Professional and buyer needs.
In reality, every PGA Show experience can be so uniquely crafted to meet and exceed business, career, education and professional connection goals.
During the PGA Show how much time do you spend on the exhibitor floor and what type of interactions do you seek out?
I try to minimize meetings off the show floor and spend the majority of the Show Day on the floor talking to guests and exhibiting companies.
We work so far in advance to plan the PGA Show that it is especially satisfying to connect in person with customers we’ve been working with throughout the year, to personally help with Show Floor navigation or booth needs, to talk about their business in the year ahead, often times to catch up on each other’s families, or golf swings.
Every year I always run into someone walking the aisles I haven’t seen in many years and that is exhilarating and part of the magic of the Show.
I find the golf community to be close knit and the PGA Show is a week filled with opportunities to reconnect with old friends, meet new ones and get so much business done in the process.
Has the PGA Show become more of a network opportunity versus sales event? A number of companies have opted to release new products at different intervals throughout the calendar year rather than at the PGA Show. Thoughts?
The PGA Show is both product sourcing/sales and networking! With additional educational and career value aspects on top of that.
While annual product introductions by leading equipment manufacturers changed many, many years ago, the PGA Show continues to be our industry’s best platform for the introduction of the newest innovations to the masses of PGA Professionals, buyers and media in one setting.
Multiple original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are taking advantage of this year’s PGA Show to showcase newly released products, and many apparel vendors have shared that they have full buyer appointment books for Show Week.
The PGA Show runs four days now. Do you see a situation in the near future where the show is truncated to three days – with the Friday date eliminated?
Many vendors are meeting with customers and writing orders until the final minutes of the final day.
The current, collective feedback of attendees and exhibitors is that one Demo & Fitting Day and three Show days is just right for the PGA Show.
What kind of advice would you give to someone interested in doing what you’re doing now?
Let the customer drive your decisions, be positive, keep a sense of humor, have fun, take risks and have the mindset “there’s always a way, we just need to find it”.
And wake up each and every day and remind yourself that what you do is truly meaningful and that we play a huge role in helping this amazing sport continue to grow and prosper,
How great is that!
Complete the sentence — Marc Simon is –
Someone incredibly thankful for this tremendous opportunity to serve the golf industry — supported by an amazing team that does incredible work — often unnoticed and behind the scenes.
Loves his family, golf and weather, and who is as excited for this upcoming PGA Show as he was for his first some 25 years ago.
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