Sun, surf and payments at WSAA
Location, location, location. It's the mantra of every real estate agent and retail merchant. Well, the Western States Acquirers Association put this saying to good use. On Sept. 26 and 27, 2012, WSAA hosted its 2012 conference in Huntington Beach, Calif. The stunning locale served as the backdrop for this year's event, themed An Endless Summer of Opportunities and Success. The convention attracted almost 900 attendees, breaking previous records.
The conference launched Wednesday morning with a golf tournament sponsored by SecurityMetrics Inc. If golf was not your sport of choice, SignaPay LLC sponsored a beach bike ride. Riders were able to enjoy the balmy weather and the Southern California beach bike paths.
Wednesday also showcased the Field Guide for ISOs seminar presented by Mark Dunn, founder of payment consulting firm Field Guide Enterprises LLC. Registration fees included admittance to this informative educational offering.
The seminar, a mainstay at many regional tradeshows, is presented by industry professionals and is continually updated. If you haven't attended the seminar lately, it may be time to attend one soon.
At the opening reception Wednesday night, it was already apparent in the sold-out exhibit hall that a spectacular show was underway. Vendors and attendees alike were delighted with the overall turnout, as well as with the ample opportunities provided to meet with vendors and engage in discussions.
Thursday was information-packed. After breakfast with the exhibitors, attendees were greeted at the general session by Xavier Ayala, Vice President of WSAA, and by platinum sponsor First Data Corp. The general session featured a panel discussion about how to stay relevant in the changing payments landscape.
Next up were the breakout sessions. These included panels discussing the move to Europay/MasterCard/Visa technology, mobile payments, how to turn new compliance requirements into a valuable portfolio tool and the future of acquiring.
Paul Martaus of the consultancy Martaus & Associates followed the afternoon breakout sessions with a presentation about disruptions in the industry. Drawing on his many years of experience in payments, Martaus presented a unique and honest evaluation of changes facing the industry and some innovative ways to not fight, but rather embrace, those changes.
In his presentation, Martaus invited merchant level salespeople (MLSs) to recognize the value of their merchant relationships and leverage those relationships to help usher in the future of payments.
The event concluded with a keynote address by Jeffrey Hazlett, author of Running the Gauntlet, and then the closing reception, where attendees could once again network and interact with vendors.
Regional tradeshows are increasing in popularity and perhaps reflect increasing opportunities in the payments industry. WSAA President Steve Eazell said, "I am truly humbled and honored to be a part of such an amazing experience. I am surrounded by some of the world's greatest human beings on the board of the Western States Acquirers Association. Their tireless and selfless devotion to this phenomenal event is inspiring."
He urged everyone to stay tuned: WSAA is working on "wonderful" enhancements for its 10th anniversary show, which will be held Oct. 8 to 9, 2013, in San Francisco, where WSAA held its first show almost a decade ago. The Green Sheet encourages all ISOs and MLSs to take part in these regional events.
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