Outdoor Retailer has started accepting online registrations for its Summer Market, which will run this year from Wednesday, July 31 through Saturday, Aug. 3, and for its Open Air Demo, taking place on the eve of the show on Tuesday. Discounted “early-bird” registration is being offered through July 8.

Officials of Nielsen Expositions, which organizes the OR show, have admitted that exhibitors and visitors have been facing some initial problems in securing hotel rooms in Salt Lake City and the surrounding region for the fair because of the change in the dates and in the agency that handles applications for accommodation, but the process is said to be “largely under control” now. The remaining problems are being resolved slowly, mostly manually and case by case. Most complaints have come from “quasi-qualified” visitors and newcomers. The hotels are blocking out new guests in order to charge higher rates, but the organizes are trying to get them to release more rooms at the agreed convention rates.

Meanwhile, Nielsen has put out an analysis of attendance at the OR Winter Market in January, which showed that the quality of the visitors is improving and that more of them are coming from the north-eastern part of the U.S. and from abroad. The total number of visitors was up by 1 percent to 21,800 as compared to one year ago. Because of the new Wednesday-Saturday schedule, they were more spread out over the four days of the show.

Increases of 23 percent in the number of international buyers and 16 percent in the number of stores from the Northeast represented at the fair more than offset a 6 percent drop in the number of attendees who drove over to the show. OR said the decline was due to a tighter qualification process introduced for local and regional visitors and a classification of the retailers that eliminated persons under the age of 16 from the overall count.

The breakdown of the attendees is available on the OR's website, which has been completely redesigned, with more consistent and intuitive navigation and specific sections tailored to the seven major market segments served by the fair.

The new website, which will be easier to update, features an Industry Resource section with industry, association and advocacy news as well as downloadable pdf files of past and president OR Dailies. A new area is being opened this month to make it possible for visitors to log into an online “Summer Market Planner.”