“All great changes are preceded by chaos.”– Deepak Chopra
This summer has been exciting for the trade show industry as we continue to see shows return to the face-to-face format. This positive and forward motion acts not only as the “break in the clouds” we have eagerly awaited, but also provides industry executives with the opportunity to re-evaluate their strategic approaches to creating highly engaging and productive show experiences.
As show organizers strive to breathe new life into their events, the IAEE team is no different in taking the opportunity to examine, evaluate and evolve our vision for Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2021 taking place this 7-9 December in Philadelphia. The team has reflected upon the effects of COVID and recommendations from IAEE’s Essential Considerations for Safely Reopening Exhibitions and Events white paper, in addition to implementing lessons learned from show organizers who have already returned to producing face-to-face shows and/or face-to-face shows containing digital components.
With Expo! Expo!’s strategic pillars of Community/Engagement, Marketplace and Content acting as our foundation, we are also able to intertwine timely subject matter that would apply to the planning process in any given year. One example is the current cultural shift in awareness toward diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). The importance of DE&I is currently threaded through all IAEE initiatives, including content served up at Expo! Expo!.
With all of this in mind, here is a quick look at what that means for Expo! Expo! from a strategic perspective.
Community is the heart of our association and IAEE continually strives to fully serve its members by creating customized experiences for connecting, sharing and engaging with each other on-site. Providing multiple networking outlets – such as organized meetups, pre-event orientation programs, specialty meeting areas and app features tailored to our various member communities – gives Expo! Expo! attendees plenty of opportunities to ensure they make those all-important connections with colleagues.
Core to our mission, IAEE wholeheartedly embraces the understanding that exhibitions mean business. The trade show floor is the heart of B2B events! The biggest hurdle presented by the pandemic to our industry has been retaining our ability to conduct business effectively. This is a work in progress as venue openings and attendee comfort levels continue to unfold. Expo! Expo!’s face-to-face marketplace will diligently address safety concerns and procedures as it brings buyers and sellers together throughout the exhibition as well as at its education presentations on the show floor. Virtually, IAEE’s 365-day MarketHub ensures exhibitor companies match buyers’ needs.
IAEE prides itself in Expo! Expo!’s flair for fusing outside thought leadership with peer-to-peer learning through specially-designed education sessions, case studies, crowd sourcing and micro learning opportunities. Our ongoing goal to develop talent across the industry (i.e., foster industry longevity) continually inspires us to design valuable and operational efficiencies through a plethora of learning experiences for attendees at the face-to-face event in Philadelphia and for those participating virtually.
Because 2020 brought us drastic transition, 2021 is easily a year of transformation. Based on my conversations with many of you, this year is shaping into one of genuine reflection and application of the lessons learned from the most challenging chapter of our industry’s history. IAEE is a big believer in the adage that knowledge is power, and will therefore continue to share as much of this knowledge as we can.
Stay tuned to the latest Expo! Expo! developments at www.myexpoexpo.com and I look forward to exchanging more ideas with you at THE show for shows in Philadelphia this December!
David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
IAEE President & CEO