By: Jessica Finnerty, CEM, Manager, Meetings and Events, Auto Care Association
Fall is officially here, and with it comes many things: changing leaves, pumpkin spice and Expo! Expo! 2017! This year’s event will be hosted in picturesque San Antonio, which should serve as the perfect backdrop for another week of innovation, education and networking with some of the best and brightest in the industry.
As an organizer, Expo! Expo! always proves to be a critical part of my planning cycle. With my show taking place in early November, I am always primed with fresh ideas and in search of inspiration to make the following year bigger and better than ever before. The show floor always provides a wealth of new and exciting products from a wide variety of vendors, all of whom want to help me have a better event. From back of house management tools to onsite promotional materials and everything in between, I am always able to find the things that I need, as well as things that I never knew existed.
The Tech Startup Pavilion has always proven to be an invaluable tool in seeing what’s new on the event technology scene. This year, the Pavilion will feature a competition to determine which new startup deserves additional financial backing. With an emphasis on technology and innovation, Expo! Expo! will roll out the Path to Innovation – an interactive game to help attendees discover what’s up and coming in event technology. The Path to Innovation will exclusively feature products, which have either been released within the past year or have made a significant technological impact within the industry, allowing attendees to truly stay up to date on the kinds of tools available to them.
New doesn’t stop on the show floor! This year, education sessions will focus more on research, data and experience. With education sessions now starting earlier in the schedule, attendees have the opportunity to maximize their learning experience onsite. Similarly, the traditional one-hour education sessions on Thursday afternoon have been replaced with communal networking experiences, which are bite-sized learning sessions. Attendees can discuss and further absorb what they have learned and experienced throughout the week with their peers.
And of course, there is the networking! Each year, Expo! Expo! provides an outlet to not only make industry connections, but to also make new friends. I have had the opportunity to connect with people from all walks of the events industry, helping to broaden my perspective and appreciate all of the pieces that go into what we do as event professionals.
I genuinely look forward to Expo! Expo! every year. It provides tools and knowledge to help me advance my career, set amongst a variety of exciting and fun experiences. I am sure that this year in San Antonio will be no different, with its unique cultural history and wide selection of entertainment. With all of the new enhancements and additions to the program, Expo! Expo! 2017 is truly shaping up to be one for the books!