Readers Respond: Nice Conference, Wrong City

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A week ago, DM News asked readers who attended the Direct Marketing Association's fall conference to tell us what they thought of this year's venue: Orlando, FL. You may recall there was some controversy brought on by a story in the Orlando Sentinel that painted the industry in an unsavory light -- even implying that a company tries to hypnotize people into buying things. An overwhelming majority of those who responded said the DMA should not add Orlando to the rotation, but the locale and problems with taxis and other amenities weighed far more heavily into their reasoning. Of the 77 comments received by deadline last week, 60 were against, while only 17 were in favor.

I've already had my say, so I now turn this space over to what our readers wrote. Names and company references have been deleted.

Yes: "It was a good experience, but I had a car at my disposal for part of the time. I would go back." ... "Great location for the show. Convention hall large and well laid out. Plenty of decent hotel accommodations and certainly no complaints about available activities after business hours. As for the issue of a negative article in the local paper -- get serious! If we take negative press seriously in our industry, let's have the convention on top of the Alps."

No: "While the Orlando area certainly provided opportunities for fun parties and good meals, the ability to conduct business was very difficult. Between the hot weather, the long distance between hotels and the long distance between the hotels and the conference center as well as the ridiculous taxi situation made the conference my least productive and least enjoyable." ... "The DMA has always had their shows in what I would term as 'walking' cities. This has served companies well as it is easy to get around. Orlando is not a city set up to do this." ... "This venue is a great place to have a show for those that have families and can piggyback a business trip with their personal family time before or after the trip. But as far as a convention area in general, I think it's awful." ... "[It was] difficult to get around the city - too spread out when going to vendor events, and restaurants were not convenient to take out clients. I spent over $200 in taxis and cars." ... "I can see it now: 'Slimeball Telemarketers to Again Darken Orlando's Doorstep' - Orlando Sentinel."

So, there you have it. DMA officials will make a decision about whether to return to Orlando in the next few days. The question is: Will they listen?


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