HPMA to set registration fees for industry professionals
HIGH POINT, North Carolina – Professionals doing business with the furniture and home furnishings industry will now have to pay a fee to attend the High Point Market (HPM), beginning with the upcoming April edition of the twice-yearly event.
The High Point Market Authority (HPMA) will now charge a US$55 fee for industry professions who register to attend online and in advance – including those working for factoring companies; manufacturers of furniture and furnishings who don’t exhibit at HPM; trade association executives; consultants; personnel from advertising, marketing and public relations firms; service providers; and, suppliers of components such as fabric, springs, foam and finishing materials.
The fee doesn’t apply to HPM exhibitors, retail buyers or the media.
Registering onsite will cost these industry professionals an additional US$30.
Retailer buyers wishing to register onsite to attend the five-day market will also be charged the US$30 fee. It won’t apply to those registering in advance and online.
In a statement, HPMA described its existing onsite registration system as a significant, nonessential cost.
“We classify this as a nonessential cost because we also maintain, at a significant cost, an online pre-registration system, which is available to all attendees from 14 weeks before each market opens through the week before market opens,” the statement read.
The authority also said it is planning to seek additional funding from local public sources such as the State of North Carolina, Guilford County and the City of High Point. In addition, it will ask for more sponsor support for market events and activities.
“As we move into the next few years, High Point Market Authority will begin to implement exciting new plans to improve the market experience for all attendees,” HPMA said. “Guests will enjoy improved amenities, more after-hours entertainment options, more exciting and informative learning opportunities, and more opportunities to meet – and create business connections with – colleagues, peers, and leaders from across our industry.”
HPMA president Tom Conley said the onsite registration fee is a way to encourage more people to register online.
“Onsite registration is a very expensive process, and we see shows around the world charging this onsite fee,” he said. “We are absolutely committed to making sure buyers can get into market without any charge whatsoever. We did this primarily to encourage buyers to register online.”
In addition to saving money, Conley said online registration aids the authority to reach out to first-time buyers ahead of market to answer any questions they may have about the event or help identify ways to make their market experience better.
“We call them if they register online and have been doing this the last four or five years,” Conley noted, adding that providing a positive experience helps encourage those first-time buyers to return to market. “It was to create the best High Point experience that we can.”
He also noted the US$55 industry registration fee isn’t a lot of money. “We are not doing it for the money, although the money will help,” he maintains. “We are trying to make the High Point Market experience the best in the world. That money has to come from somewhere.”
Conley also believes the fee will show local government partners that HPM is getting at least some financial support from the private sector. “The exhibitors are already paying us through the showroom tax, and they contribute very nicely,” he said. “This is another way to have the home furnishings industry contribute to the Market Authority budget.”
The authority didn’t say how much it expects to raise through the new registration fee for industry professionals.
The spring edition of the market will run from 25 to 29 April. Some 80 or so Canadian furniture and home furnishings companies are expected to exhibit.
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