By: Jessica Finnerty, CEM, Manager, Meetings and Events, Auto Care Association
We are only a month and a half away from “The Show for Shows” and the excitement is definitely building. I have already started receiving emails from prospective exhibitors and invitations to networking events. I am getting updates about all of the new and exciting additions for this year, and my schedule is starting to take shape. And just a few days ago, at the annual IAEE DC Chapter lunch, pretty much all of the conversations ended with “See you in Las Vegas?”.
This will be my sixth Expo! Expo! and each one has been better than the last. Partially because IAEE continues to find new ways to innovate and invigorate the event. Last year in New Orleans was one of the best shows ever, both by the numbers and according to the many attendees that were there. But also, because each year lays a groundwork for the ones that come after, building on all of the relationships and knowledge that I have already acquired. Every time I attend, my family grows and my knowledge of, and place within, the industry deepens.
As a planner for a major trade show, I find myself wearing many hats. And Expo! Expo! manages to find a hat rack for all of them. The diverse show floor covers all corners of the industry, from the products and services that will wow your attendees, to the ones behind the scenes that make planning a breeze. When not sourcing specific needs, I use my time on the show floor to experience first-hand all of the trends and tech that will be the topics of conversation throughout the industry for years to come, either by seeing it at exhibitor booths or learning about it at the many educational areas scattered throughout the expo hall.
In addition to the learning opportunities on the show floor, the six educational tracks cover stages of planning from all sides of the aisle ensuring that there is relevant content for everyone. Each year, I come home with takeaways that range from logistical ideas for my show to personal insights and goals. Last year’s panel on security was incredibly eye-opening with organizers sharing personal stories about their experiences with crisis. It really brought to light all of the many ways that a planner can be blindsided by an emergency and helped to change my thinking on what it means to be prepared.
And of course, Expo! Expo! provides so many entertaining and engaging events. The networking receptions are always a great time, especially the Humanity Rocks charity concert. But there are many other ways to engage, such as the Gift of Service volunteer program. I have done this for the past three years and it is always an incredibly fun and rewarding event. And this year will see the creation of a new event – the Terence Donnelly 5K Run/ 1K Walk, in honor of a colleague who passed earlier this year. Despite not being much of a runner, I might be looking forward to this most of all.
Exciting new programs, a packed show floor, robust education and top-notch networking….all taking place in the exhibition and events capital of the country. It is truly is shaping up to be another amazing year for Expo! Expo! and I, for one, can’t wait.
Register for #ExpoExpo by 21 October to receive early bird pricing! Visit the Expo! Expo! site for more information.