With 142 education sessions on and off the show floor and networking sessions primed for idea sharing, Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition offers attendees a wealth of information they can take straight to their organization and immediately implement. Like the exhibitions and events industry, the attendee make-up of Expo! Expo! is rich in diversity and always evolving. Here, IAEE speaks with Mathys Taekema, Business Development Manager at RAI Amsterdam, and chair of the Expo! Expo! Advisory Committee, who shares why he attends the “show for shows”.
Tell us a little about yourself. What are your current responsibilities?
I have been working with RAI Amsterdam for over eight years now. I started as Account Manager for Exhibitor Services. In that role, I was responsible to assist show organizers with all the services they wanted to offer to their exhibitors on the show floor. This package included services, such as electricity, cleaning but also floral decoration and stand construction. After 4 years, I moved to the Business Development department in which I’m advising Trade Show Organizers about Amsterdam as a premier destination and our venue as a possible location for their future event(s). So, I have the pleasure to sell both a beautiful city and a great venue. I welcome clients to our venue by giving them a tour and explain more about the building and its configurations, but I also travel to see their shows in different venues/countries to get a good idea about the exact needs for the show.
Why do you attend Expo! Expo!?
I attend Expo! Expo! for several reasons. The first reason is to meet with prospects who might be interested to organize future exhibitions or events in Amsterdam. Also, Expo! Expo! is a great event to meet and catch up with my existing US clients once a year. Besides that, the event is ideal to develop my industry knowledge. This is something I do via participating in the learning sessions and taking the on-site CEM courses.
How do show organizers like yourself benefit from attending Expo! Expo!?
Expo! Expo! provides me a yearly platform to meet existing and new clients. Besides that, the event offers a lot of learning sessions which are helpful in my day-to-day job activities, both from a venue and show organizer side.
How do you approach your time spent at Expo! Expo!?
As well spent! As mentioned earlier, Expo! Expo! is really providing me a platform to get in touch and engage with existing and new clients. Instead of visiting all of them separately, I can now talk to them in a few days’ time while enjoying networking events with great atmosphere and tasteful food and beverage. This saves me a lot of time and I have the opportunity to enjoy my time at the “show for shows”.
Name an unforgettable moment that has happened to you at Expo! Expo!.
During my first Expo! Expo! back in 2014, I did not know any of the attendees. As a first timer, I was wondering how the networking would be and if it would be easy to make connections with the other attendees. After one or two networking events, I found out everyone was very approachable and it was really easy to talk to anyone. Now, four years later I can say I know a lot of people and even made some friends along the way.
If you were talking to someone who had not attended Expo! Expo! and was considering going, what would you say to him/her?
This situation actually happened in 2017. I met someone at another industry event in Philadelphia and I told him more about Expo! Expo!. I mentioned the combination of show floor, learning sessions and great networking events at Expo! Expo!, which makes it a must attend event when you work in the exhibitions and events industry.
What tip would you give to a first-time attendee that you wish someone had told you when you attended Expo! Expo! for the first time?
With this I mean, dive into the event program and know which sessions you want to attend. Check the floor plan to schedule some time to meet exhibitors you want to see/speak. And finally, make sure not to miss any of the fun networking events!
What is one event or program that attendees cannot miss at Expo! Expo! that you thoroughly enjoy?
There are two networking evenings that I always really enjoy. It’s the Tuesday evening with the Opening Reception and the Wednesday evening with the several Exhibitor receptions (Freeman always nails it with a great location and wonderful food!) The receptions are followed by the GES party, Humanity Rocks. They know how to throw a party! I love it when it becomes a real party and everyone is getting on the dance floor!
Will you be attending this year’s Expo! Expo! in New Orleans? If so, what programming are you looking forward to experiencing?
Yes, I will be attending the event this year and I am very much looking forward to the whole event in general, but if I needed to pinpoint one thing I have to say is the New Orleans City tour. I travel a lot and I’m visiting a lot of beautiful locations worldwide but most of the time I only see the airport, the highway (while sitting in a taxi), the hotel and the venue. I’m really glad that on Thursday afternoon, there is time to do a City tour. I believe this could also be a surprisingly good networking opportunity.
I am also looking forward to all of the specific programming geared to international attendees that the Expo! Expo! team has in store including the Global Insights Learning track; International Pavilion and Theatre and International Business Exchange and Reception both on the show floor.
Mathys will be at Expo! Expo! Will you? Early bird registration ends on Friday, 26 October.