This past May, after years of trying to fit it into my schedule, I finally made it to the IAEE MATSO Spring Meeting, hosted this year at another event I’ve always wanted to attend, the NRA Show, hosted by the National Restaurant Association.
Besides being surrounded in an incredible setting of dynamic chefs and creative products that will be arriving in restaurants in the next few months, I had the great opportunity to network with peers and others who manage larger trade shows. To say being an event planner is unique is an understatement. To then find a sub-group that fits with your event size and has similar challenges and opportunities with cities, venues, vendors and technology is incredible. I was honored to be among peers from leading events in the industry and among thought leaders who are changing the way large trade shows create a better experience for attendees and exhibitors.
I was impressed by the willingness of everyone, even would-be competitors, to share their tactics and challenges. A few of my key take-aways from the MATSO Spring Event:
- Technology continues to be the largest influence on everything we do, driving the constant evolution of trade shows with new technologies such as virtual reality, data capture and geo-tracking and networking. More importantly, the infrastructure needed to support those efforts is greater than ever in venues and destinations.
- Attendee engagement will be a key contributor to how any event organizer ties in the larger event experience. The expectation is that content, digital and social marketing is year round and that it can be easily consumed and done so on any device.
- Continue to challenge the traditional trade show model. If any competitor could challenge your event with another, how would it be different? Push your organization, venues and host cities to get uncomfortable and challenge conventional models and engagement at events.
A huge thank you to the NRA team, there is nothing like hosting other event planners, but what a great opportunity and a lot of fun to learn more about their organization and show planning.
I am looking forward to Expo! Expo! this December 6-8, where you too can network to find a group or forum that most closely aligns with your business and events. I look forward to seeing you in one of my favorite cities to host an event, Anaheim, for Expo! Expo! December 6-8!