Putting on a trade show from the ground up involves many moving parts and teams. A crucial partnership for Expo! Expo! is that of show management and host partners. This year, Expo! Expo! will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada at Mandalay Bay. Packed with numerous networking opportunities over three days, Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition offers attendees a wealth of information and valuable face-to-face connections. Here, IAEE spoke with Steven Walker of MGM Resorts as he shared his perspective on hosting Expo! Expo! this year.
Tell us a little about yourself. What are your current responsibilities?
I am the Executive Director of City-Wide Sales for MGM Resorts. I represent all 13 of our Las Vegas properties and help large events with their housing needs. I also partner with the LVCVA in attracting new shows and events to Las Vegas. I moved to Vegas in 2001 from Philadelphia…Philly Sports Fan!! Although, it looks like I may have to root for the Raiders as well when they come to Vegas.
Why do you attend Expo! Expo!? And how many years have you attended Expo! Expo!?
I have been attending Expo! Expo! since 2001. I think I have missed only one or two since then. I have represented two of the three major convention centers in Las Vegas over the years (Mandalay Bay and Sands Expo) and now represent MGM Resorts for all major shows regardless of where the event takes place.
How do you benefit from attending Expo! Expo!?
Expo! Expo! is one of the major events of the year that we make sure we participate in. Having one of the largest convention centers in the U.S. (Mandalay Bay), it makes sense for us to have a presence at the show. We do it for several reasons: advocacy and support of the trade show industry, developing/maintaining relationships, and conducting business.
What education sessions caught your attention at Expo! Expo! in the past?
I like to attend the education sessions that focus on housing issues and convention center contracting. It is always fun to hear from the other side of the business and have a friendly debate on the common issues.
How do you approach your time spent at Expo! Expo!?
I look at Expo! Expo! as a time to connect with our clients in a face-to-face setting and as an opportunity to meet new folks in the industry, both on the client side and supplier side. It is a real benefit to share ideas.
Why is it important to be involved with one’s local chapter?
The chapter events are a great way to keep the momentum going throughout the year. I’m part of the Southwest Chapter and they usually entail some sort of fundraiser for the organization or a local charity, so everyone wins!
If you were talking to someone who had not attended Expo! Expo! and was considering going, what would you say to him/her?
If you are in the trade show industry, whether it be on the organizer side or the supplier side, it is worth the investment to attend. Our technology and destinations are changing all of the time and Expo! Expo! is a one-stop shop to keep up on all that is going on.
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?
I would tell them, that as a first timer they should jump into as many interactive events as possible. Meet as many people as possible and be sure to do the follow-up work after the event (LinkedIn is my favorite). Try to bond with at least five people that you can contact throughout the year. Each year thereafter, attending Expo! Expo! will be easier and easier and that much more fun!
What is one event or program that attendees cannot miss at Expo! Expo! that you thoroughly enjoy?
Humanity Rocks is always a fun time and lets people loosen up a bit from a long day in meetings and on the show floor. Plus, proceeds benefit a local charity in the host city.
Will you be attending this year’s Expo! Expo! in Las Vegas? If so, what programming are you looking forward to experiencing?
I am looking forward to the main stage programming. This looks to be an interactive area that will add value to the day’s events. This year, there is extra pressure as we are hosting the event at Mandalay Bay, but it will be a memorable event for sure.
Register for #ExpoExpo by 21 October to receive early bird pricing! Visit the Expo! Expo! site for more information.