Expo! Expo! Sneak Peak

Originally published by Trade Show Executive August 2017 Edition

I always enjoy writing this month’s article because I get to officially tell you about all the great new things we have planned for attendees at this year’s Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition. I can confidently say that IAEE is in a unique position to provide attendees what no other organization can, and that is the “show for shows.” But if we step back for a moment, isn’t that what we’re all trying to do? To create that definitive “something” that makes our organizations and, ultimately, our shows THE event to attend in your specific industry? Planning for each year’s Expo! Expo! starts more than a year out from show date and I am truly grateful for the awesome staff that not only puts on the “show for shows,” but brings you, the exhibitions and events community, year-round content and programming that is timely and relevant.

It’s All About Connections at this year’s Expo! Expo! on 28-30 November in San Antonio, Texas. This theme has given us plenty to think about, and we have taken the opportunity to focus on the feedback we have received from members on the areas of interest that are at the top of most people’s “meeting wish list” right now.

One of the accomplishments we are most proud of is the reputation Expo! Expo! has built on its exceptional education programming and networking opportunities, making it the “show for shows.” Our Education Committee received more than 130 session proposals this year! The vast expanse of information presented helped us hone in on the following three areas of development: research informed; data guided; and experience design, all infused with technology and innovation in mind.

Expo! Expo! continues its strong commitment to providing the most diverse product mix marketplace in the industry and as the leading industry platform for innovative solutions. The Tech Start Up Program, now in its third year, will design greater experiences for attendees to interact and engage with emerging technologies. The attendee and exhibitor mobile app and beacon tech will provide a brand-new user experience that will enhance connections with peers and give greater insight and interaction with show content. New show technology partners have come into the mix, further emphasizing Expo! Expo! as the tech laboratory for the industry.

Other new initiatives created to enhance the Connections made at Expo! Expo! include the Women’s Leadership Experience, sponsored by Experient, which will include a panel discussion with a life-hack gathering activity; a unique, communal learning and networking experience that will include six rounds of 15-minute discussions on various topics such as Ask the Expert, Leadership and Personal Development, Technology Use Cases and Personal Style Inspiration; and special programming for university/college students and faculty.

View the Expo! Expo! Schedule at a Glance!

In the coming months, I will be delving further into the new ideas and concepts we are exploring at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2017. In the meantime, visit the Expo! Expo! website at www.myexpoexpo.com.

I look forward to connecting with you in San Antonio this November!

David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President & CEO

Getting Unhooked from Our Smartphones

Posted on July 27, 2017 by: Ryan Estis

How many times will you stop reading this blog post to check e-mail, text messages or social media?

The heaviest smartphone users click, tap or swipe on their phone 5,427 times a day, according to the research platform dscout. The rest of us still touch the addictive things 2,617 times a day on average. That level of connection is wreaking havoc on our ability to focus on tasks that require more concentration than it takes to post a status update.

Adam Alter, author of “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked,” warns that many of us — youngsters, teenagers, adults — are addicted to modern digital products. Not figuratively, but literally addicted.

In a New York Times interview, he explains:

In the past, we thought of addiction as mostly related to chemical substances: heroin, cocaine, nicotine. Today, we have this phenomenon of behavioral addictions where, one tech industry leader told me, people are spending nearly three hours a day tethered to their cellphones. Where teenage boys sometimes spend weeks alone in their rooms playing video games. Where Snapchat will boast that its youthful users open their app more than 18 times a day.
Behavioral addictions are really widespread now. A 2011 study suggested that 41 percent of us have at least one. That number is sure to have risen with the adoption of newer more addictive social networking platforms, tablets and smartphones.

We increasingly struggle to look away from our screens.


Mine was. The frightening thing about the addiction was that I didn’t realize the impact it was having on me until I went into “detox.” During the first few days of my initial digital detox, I desperately wanted to check my phone. I felt low-grade anxiety and was completely out of my comfort zone. Ironically, eight days later when I got my phone back, I left it off for a few hours to fully absorb my transformation. In that moment I was much more aware of the impact technology was having on my ability to be fully present.

Yes, the internet has fundamentally transformed the way we connect and communicate. It’s launched a whole new economy where anyone with an idea and an internet connection can start a company and connect with a global marketplace full of opportunity.

For that very reason, we’re living in the golden age of entrepreneurship! However, letting technology intrude into nearly every waking moment isn’t healthy and the time to create a little more discipline around it is now.

On a recent road trip with Seth Mattison, we discussed how to be more intentional in our relationship with technology and how we know when it’s time to unplug. Case in point, notice the irony of our full immersion into tech while talking about the benefits of a digital detox in this video!

VIDEO: On the Road with Seth Mattison

The key is to get off of autopilot and become a bit more aware and intentional in managing our technology so it isn’t managing us. Give the digital detox a try this weekend and DM me on Monday to let me know how it went!

Ryan Estis helps companies and individual contributors embrace change and achieve breakthrough performance. Each live event blends original research with compelling stories that move participants to take action. Ryan has 20 years of business experience working with the world’s best brands to initiate change, inspire innovation and deliver growth. Learn more about Ryan Estis.

Source: Getting Unhooked from Our Smartphones

The International Attendee’s Complete Guide To Expo! Expo!: An Interview with Mathys Taekema, Business Development Manager, RAI Amsterdam

RAI_picWith valuable 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. Like the exhibition and event 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 member of the Expo! Expo! Advisory Committee, who shares how he makes the most of the valuable information he receives from Expo! Expo! each year as a venue and as a show organizer.

Why do you attend Expo! Expo!?

I attend Expo! Expo! for several reasons. The first reason is that my company RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre has a booth on the expo floor. At this booth, I am promoting the destination Amsterdam and of course, our venue. During my time on the booth and at the many networking events, I have the opportunity to meet a lot of intriguing people who might be interested to organize future exhibitions and events in Amsterdam.

Also, Expo! Expo! is a great event to meet existing U.S. clients once a year. Besides exhibiting and networking, the event is also great to develop your Industry knowledge. I attend the education sessions and the on-site CEM courses at Expo! Expo!.

In October 2016, RAI Amsterdam became a co-owner of IBEX (International Boat Builders Exhibition and Conference). Since RAI Amsterdam owns a venue AND is a co-owner of IBEX, you have an interesting perspective on the exhibition industry. Can you explain the unique position of being an owner of a venue and a tradeshow? And what key benefits do you get by attending Expo! Expo!?

Indeed, RAI Amsterdam has the unique position of owning a venue, but it also ‘’owns’’ the expertise of organizing great consumer and trade shows for decades. RAI organizes renowned, market-leading international business-to-business (B2B) trade shows. We’re organizing 25 of our own titles in several brands such as professional cleaning, water technology and horticulture in the Netherlands and globally so it makes sense to share this kind of expertise to the U.S. market by attending Expo! Expo!.

Coming from a venue standpoint, what insights have you brought to the table to make IBEX successful? And did you implmenet any insights from Expo! Expo! in your business plans?

The years of experience in the international marine leisure market with a large agent network adds to the international flavor of the show, as well as the expertise on the venue’s capabilities. In my role as Business Development Manager, I’m not responsible for the business plans for our own shows. However, we’re currently in the middle of a reconstruction of the two divisions – Convention Centre and Exhibitions. With this reconstruction, we’re expecting these two divisions to work closely together.

What I learned from Expo! Expo!, such as planning an exhibition will be helpful in this organizational rebuilding and can provide new ways for the two divisions to work better together. Especially since we’re working more with exhibition organizers in partnerships. Sometimes, there are interesting overlaps between being a venue and owning a show, which results in good opportunities.

At last year’s Expo! Expo! in Anaheim, you attended as an exhibitor. How would you describe your experience on the show floor?

We had a good show and picked up some new leads. At our booth, we invited the attendees to play a game of “Throw the Can.” Everyone was very engaging and enthusiastic about this, which resulted in a great atmosphere and some interesting conversations.

The best thing that happened at Expo! Expo! was an attendee walked up to me, handed me her business card and literally said to me, “Here’s my business card. Send me an email when you’re back in the office because I want to organize an event in your venue!” We’re currently working with her on the Request for Proposal (RFP).

Expo Expo Blog Quote (1)

Prior to exhibiting on the show floor, you took the CEM courses: Floor Plan Development and Exhibition and Event Sales. What were the key takeaways for you and how did you apply them at RAI Amsterdam?

Although my role at RAI Amsterdam does not include a hands-on approach to organizing a show, what I learned in the CEM courses was extremely fascinating for me. Being in the same room with so many industry professionals, who are all organizing different shows gave me plenty of insight into how they work, think, sell and plan their shows. These insights have helped me understand the show organizer thought process, which has resulted in a better way of working with show organizers to produce a successful event.

Expo Expo Blog Quote - RAI Amsterdam

Were there specific education sessions that you attended in Anaheim that really resonated with you? If yes, please tell us how you applied what you learned.

I attended an interesting session, Event Intelligence on the Show Floor: Using Data to Improve Exhibitor Performance, which was all about lead retrieval systems. This session included a short presentation with business cases and an interesting Q&A session with Anna Knight, Brand Director, Consumer Technology and Licensing from UBM EMEA. Partnered with N200|GES, Knight explained how UBM has been using the lead retrieval system for a couple of their shows. This session made me realize how important it is to educate and encourage your exhibitors to be innovative and to use these kinds of systems in order to make the most out of the show.

Could these education takeaways apply to both an exhibitor and show organizer like yourself? If yes, how so?

Yes, most certainly this applies to both exhibitors and show organizers. As an exhibitor, you want to assure you meet your goals of the exhibition (number of leads, etc). As a show organizer, providing a platform where exhibitors can make the most out of their participation means you are doing a good job of fulfilling the exhibitors’ needs and potentially of having them exhibit again in future shows.

How has Expo! Expo! helped RAI Amsterdam as a venue and a show organizer?

From both venue and show organizer side, Expo! Expo! provides us a yearly platform to meet existing and new clients. Expo! Expo! offers plenty of education sessions, which are helpful in my day-to-day job activities.

Name an unforgettable moment that has happened to you at Expo! Expo!

Besides the great (business) contacts I’ve gained over the years, I believe the most unforgettable moments were the opening receptions in Los Angeles (2014) and Anaheim (2016). IAEE really knows how to organize a good opening reception with great food and entertainment, which makes it an outstanding networking event.

Expo! Expo! Opening Reception in Anaheim, CA

As a seasoned international attendee, what advice would you give to those abroad who have not attended Expo! Expo! or are thinking about attending Expo! Expo!?

I would advise them to register and attend the event in San Antonio in November so they can experience for themselves the value Expo! Expo! offers to their attendees. There’s really not a better platform in the U.S., where you have the opportunity to meet so many Industry professionals over a few days’ time.

Will you be attending this year’s Expo! Expo! in San Antonio? If so, what are you looking forward to experience and learn at this year’s Expo! Expo!?

Yes, for sure! I already booked my room at the Marriott Rivercenter to make sure I run into the right people during breakfast and at the bar. I’m very excited about a new idea, where we have to create an International Pavilion on the show floor. This pavilion will consist several destinations and venues from all over the world and it will offer a “one stop shop” for show organizers who are organizing exhibitions outside of the U.S. Apart from that, I expect to see a lot of friends again in San Antonio and meet new people on the show floor, in the education sessions or during the network events. It goes without saying that I’m also looking forward to the educational sessions.

Registration for Expo! Expo! is open! Learn, network and make connections in San Antonio at the “show for shows” on 28-30 November!

IAEE Expo! Expo! 2016 Was All About Action and Results

Originally posted by a2z

Exhibitors and attendees at IAEE Expo! Expo! 2016 were primed to take action leading up to and during the annual events industry’s prime gathering. Building on the success of recent years, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) once again collaborated with a2z to offer online planning tools to attendees along with brand-promotion opportunities to exhibitors. a2z’s contribution included the expo management solution for the show management along with the online interactive floor plan, exhibitor galleries, and Connect™−the online matchmaking, networking and scheduling solution.

Significant Engagement
The Expo! Expo! Connect website enabled buyers and suppliers to easily and securely request appointments with each other to make their time at the event much more productive. This year, appointment and email activity was at its highest with more than 4,400 emails and appointment requests being exchanged between registered participants. In addition, IAEE utilized the Connect platform to seamlessly generate and coordinate over 600 Hosted Buyer appointments.

High Exhibitor ROI
For Expo! Expo! 2016, the exhibitors were familiar with the online promotion tools available to them in their online console from the get go. They added a significantly higher number of product listings, videos, press releases, and show specials to their online profiles. This produced deeper and more extensive engagement from attendees and website visitors. The online galleries were viewed four times more this year than last year. This increased engagement garnered exhibitors on average seven qualified pre-show attendee leads.IAEE Expo! Expo! 2016 Connect Engagement
Download as PDF

Congratulations to IAEE for a tremendously successful event in 2016!  We can’t wait to see what this year brings!

SOURCE: IAEE Expo! Expo! Was All About Action and Results

Messe Frankfurt North America goes to Expo! Expo!

Great write up about #ExpoExpo 2016 in Anaheim by Messe Frankfurt NA

Pictured above (L-R) Dennis Smith – President & CEO, Carina Whitaker – Operations Director, Kari Martin Bush – Marketing and Conference Manager, Carrie Kittrell – Sales Manager, Brian Hays – IT Director along with (not pictured) Patrick Nohilly – President & CFO and Austin Berry – Business Analyst are all excited to attend this year’s Expo! Expo!  December 6 – 8 in Anaheim, CA!

Almost every trade show professional attends IAEE‘s annual “show for shows” to stay up-to-date with industry trends and technology while networking with like-minded professionals. This year’s Expo! Expo! provides an “inside out” approach, focusing on five key strategies: Interaction and Engagement, Innovation, Giving Back: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Encouraging a Global Spirit and Community, Learning: Plan, Perform and Lead.

Two of our employees who have attended Expo! Expo! in the past share their experience:

View original post 162 more words

Show Floor, Education and Networking: An All-Inclusive Tale of Expo! Expo!

By Jessica Finnerty, CEM; Manager, Meetings and Events, Auto Care Association

Last week, I wrapped up my annual expo. A year’s worth of work culminated in just a few short days. While the work was exhausting and strenuous, I would do this all over again in a heartbeat.  Fresh with ideas I am inspired to learn how to make improvements and create a better Auto Care Association expo for next year. What better way to learn cutting edge trends than by attending Expo! Expo! in Anaheim, California?


This will be my third year attending Expo! Expo! and let me tell you what you can expect – the best and the brightest; the new and exciting; the tried and true. From event technology to attendee acquisition and so much more, the expo floor is chock full of everything that an event planner could need to help make his/her show a success. Already, I have received meeting requests from industry leaders about products and services spanning the entirety of the industry. In addition to the meetings already on my agenda, I am excited to walk the show floor and discover new innovations that could be beneficial to me and my organization.


However, the show floor is only part of the Expo! Expo! value. The 2016 educational offerings address topics for all aspects of planner life. These sessions are critical, particularly to me, because unlike so many other sessions for event planners, these sessions focus primarily on the exhibition side rather than the meetings. I find more relevant content in these few days than I do throughout the rest of the year. Of particular interest this year is the MATSO agenda. The challenges for large-show organizers are different compared to organizers of smaller shows and it’s great to have the opportunity to collaborate with others who are in the same boat.


Of course, what is a conference without the networking? After all, isn’t the power of face-to-face interaction what we are selling? Getting the chance to meet and connect with so many industry professionals has been instrumental to my career because I can talk shop with other planners, or hear tales from the other side of the aisle. From the familiar faces at my local chapter event to the friendships that have yet to be made, I am looking forward to all of the interactions in just a few weeks.

Check out the 2016 Expo! Expo! Feature Networking Events!

My show is in the automotive sector and our tagline is “Ahead of the Curve” (see what we did there?). This is not only our mission statement, but our promise to both attendees and exhibitors alike – attend AAPEX to keep your business ahead.

Thanks to Expo! Expo!, I can keep MY business ahead of the curve, the competition and the expectations.


Expo! Expo!

Originally published by Trade Show Executive, November 2016 Edition

We are only a few weeks away from Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Anaheim, California and I could not be more pleased with the program we have in store for attendees. With more than 70 education sessions on and off the show floor, great networking opportunities and social events, this year’s meeting is all about the experience of sharing information with colleagues and keeping our industry thriving.

This year’s show focuses on five key strategies that provide an “inside out” approach to the Expo! Expo! experience. We will offer show organizers inspiration and solutions that they can apply to their own events, which includes providing product/service providers the appropriate platform to educate on their unique offerings. Here is just a taste of what to expect at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition in December.

2016 Expo Expo Banner 740x200

Interaction and Engagement

There is no denying the power of conducting business in a face-to-face setting. The connections made at exhibitions and events are all potential investments – at the end of the day, this is serious business! At the same time, we are not robots (at least not yet) and the ability to connect on a personal level with current and potential associates is an essential part of doing business. With this in mind, Expo! Expo! has integrated various tools of interaction and engagement such as mobile app beacon programs, crowd sourced content, a general session backstage tour, IAEE chapter meet-ups, networking events for young professionals and LGBTQ meet-ups.

Check out these Expo! Expo! Featured Networking Events


Whether you are a technophile or technophobe, Expo! Expo! has something for you, even beyond knowing what is available or what is new. What is your technology need? Are you interested in collecting big data? Tracking attendee behavior? Maximizing your marketing efforts?  Or, perhaps, your goal is to have attendees walk into your show and simply say, “oh wow!” The innovation is out there; quite often the challenge lies in deciphering the best approach to meet your objectives. That is when you take full advantage of Expo! Expo!’s Tech Center Showcase, Tech Start Up Pavilion, Beacons, New Product Showcase and Show Tech Partner Highlights.

Giving Back: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)


There is much information regarding the economic impact our industry has on its destinations. In fact, we are quite proud of the local revenue that exhibitions and events deliver. It is only natural to extend this positive corporate effect and contribute in a social sense to the local communities that host our meetings. For many years, Expo! Expo!’s Gift of Service has exercised local volunteerism and this year is no different. This year, we are working with the Orange County Family Justice Center. In addition, proceeds from the eighth annual Humanity Rocks: A Celebration with a Cause will be donated to the organization. Last year, we launched the IAEE Chapter Challenge that extended our CSR to a national level, with each chapter contributing to their local communities through various activities. They will be reporting their results in Anaheim.

Encouraging a Global Spirit and Community

By now you already know that the “I” in IAEE is not just a letter – it is a call to action. Expo! Expo!’s International Reception celebrates attendees who understand and embrace just how globally connected our industry is, and who are ready to take the power of face-to-face meetings to the next level. Our gracious host Visit Anaheim has welcoming programs in store, and Expo! Expo!’s concierge programs are ready to serve attendees at every turn.

Learning: Plan, Perform and Lead

As I mentioned in my September column, we have taken a very thorough approach to our education programs at Expo! Expo! We have meshed cutting-edge principles of neuroscience with good, old-fashioned industry experience to create an innovative array of learning opportunities for all levels of job experience and functions.


Expo! Expo! is a great opportunity to surround yourself with the best of the best in the exhibitions and events industry, and I look forward to seeing you in Anaheim at the “show for shows”!


David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President & CEO

Making the Most of Your Expo! Expo! Experience: An Interview with Benjamin Rabe, CEM

With more than 70 education sessions on and off the show floor, over 265 exhibitors, 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 own exhibitions and events. Although there is no such thing as too much information, how do show organizers decide which new technologies and innovative solutions to apply when organizing their own unique experiences? Here, IAEE speaks with Benjamin Rabe, CEM, Events Director at SmithBucklin, who shares how he makes the most of the valuable information he takes away from Expo! Expo! each year.


IAEE: Why do you attend Expo! Expo!?

I have been an IAEE member for over 10 years now, and I have attended probably eight Expo! Expo! meetings so far. My number one reason for attending is the networking. It’s good to hear a bit of what people outside of SmithBucklin are doing with their events. Also, I enjoy the education sessions and just learning about new trends and topics that are being done by people other than my colleagues here.

Check out Expo! Expo! Featured Networking Opportunities

IAEE: Tell us a little about the shows you manage.

I manage four different teams here at SmithBucklin, and some of them organize multiple shows. For example, KeHE Distributors is a corporate client of ours who puts on three shows a year: the KeHE Summer Selling Show, KeHE Holiday Show and KeHE Natural Show. I oversee the team for the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) International Summit & Exhibition on Health Facility Planning, Design & Construction in March as well as its Annual Conference in July. Then, I work on the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) Show as its exhibit director. The NAFEM Show is held every two years, and it is a large Top 100 trade show in terms of square footage. I also manage another smaller show.

IAEE: Given your experience, the sessions that caught your attention at last year’s Expo! Expo! were Innovative Floor Plans to Drive Engagement; When Data Met Strategy: A Love Story; and Beacon Gamification and Matchmaking. Were you able to extract key takeaways from each and apply them at your different events?

Yes! The innovative floor plan session definitely opened my eyes to new approaches to floor plan design. The facilitator covered over half a dozen different ways to approach floor plan design. I knew of a couple of them because we were already doing them, but it did help me to have an official name to some of the things we were doing so that I could use the right terms and technology when discussing how to innovate a redesign of a floor plan for the clients that I work with.

For example, with KeHE Distributors, they always had one pavilion toward the center of the show floor, which is what you would call the “central hub approach.” Next year, we are going to have five different “neighborhoods” throughout the show floor instead: a KeHE Kitchen, a Power Up Pavilion, an Entre Pavilion, a Fresh Pavilion – which we have never done before – and a Flavors of New Orleans Pavilion.

We are also working on how we are going to drive traffic and map out the attendee’s journey. We want attendees to visit all those different spots on the show floor, which was a strategy covered in that session. The concept of the “attendee journey” is hot and trendy right now.

Learn more about Expo! Expo! Education Sessions!


IAEE: With regards to the “attendee journey,” did you find that technology is going to play a huge role on how you create that journey? For example, will you be using iBeacons on your floor? If so, did you learn a lot from the Beacon Gamification and Matchmaking session to help integrate those two strategies – the floor plan design and beacons?

As a matter of fact, yes! We are going to be starting with one beacon in our registration area and are definitely exploring the idea for a couple of other events. I am applying this with both KeHE and NAFEM, so I am working with Marketing to incorporate it.

With KeHE, for example, we have done a lot of traditional marketing pieces such as the invitations to attend and the brochures, etc. But now, it’s really about working with how to connect everything. We must connect the dots from the invitation to branding the show at the hotel check-in, to moving it through the curb of the convention center all the way to the front door of the trade show floor, to the entire map of the show floor experience and, finally, the five places that we want every attendee to visit. Basically, we want attendees to connect when they go to each of those areas – not only to the show, but also to our brand – so that they want to come to our event next year. It’s an effective way of making our event more “sticky” so that it becomes a “can’t miss” event in the attendee’s mind.

For NAFEM, it is really important that what they see before the show – all the pre-show marketing and what’s popping up in attendees’ Facebook feeds and all the other social media – is also tying into the “wow” factor that we are planning to have in the lobby and leading all the way to the convention center. As soon as attendees get off the curb, the concept we want to convey is that this show is like no other show on earth. So while walking up the steps, attendees will feel they are coming up to this world that ties into all the marketing and pre-show promotion they’ve received. We want to portray this virtual world made out of food service equipment – an entire city or village that is all those pieces put together – that is our show brand.

IAEE: That is quite the concept!

Yes! You have to check out www.thenafemshow.org to see what I am talking about for this virtual world, but the marketing piece looks like the front of the Orange County Convention Center is made out of food service equipment. And, I want to stress that this is a much higher and more elevated thought process than “oh well, let’s design a pretty sign” and then not have it connect to that registration brochure. We have truly integrated what we want attendees to feel, think and do, after they get a message from us or hear from us.

I would say, from the perspective of having attended the sessions at Expo! Expo!, that the information I took away really helped my team to engage in the dialogue needed with our counterparts in the marketing and advertising departments to realize our design vision, and successfully integrate all the components.

IAEE: One of today’s big trends is augmented reality and virtual reality. And, from a best practice and show manager’s perspective, how it will change the exhibition floor. Questions arise as to what the show floor will look like 5, 10 and 15 years down the road, and whether there will still be a need for a physical experience on the trade show floor. Is this a topic of discussion at SmithBucklin?

It is, but I think it all does come back to the power of face-to-face interaction and the networking. In our marketing messaging to attendees, we focus on the education and the new products/solutions that they are coming to see and touch. We also talk about the networking but attendees need those two things first, because that’s what they will use to convince their boss or supervisor that the company should support their coming to the event. Networking will also play into the equation, because it still is one of the top three reasons cited in research as to why people attend events. Still, you can’t state that as your number one reason when you go to your boss’ office.

IAEE: Another hot trend is data analytics – whether a show is collecting the right data and how to use it. If you do get the right data, how do you analyze it? Organizations with smaller staff may not have the resources to devote to data analysis, so how does SmithBucklin use data to drive attendee experiences?

With some of our trend pavilions, for example, we look at not only the results from the survey data, but also the badge scanning in those pavilions to see who checked in and who clicked through the mobile app to look something up. We then look at it how many tips we are getting and how they relate to survey results. We look at qualitative and quantitative feedback to decide if this is something that we should continue to do, tweak or change. We bring all this to the debriefing of the strategic review meeting because sometimes we see that ‘Wow, we spent all this time and energy on this one pavilion, but only 10% of the people went there.’ and sometimes, we’re thrilled that our ideas and hard work paid off just as we planned.

The When Data Met Strategy: A Love Story session really helped me understand how to create a data road map, and evaluate all the different spots you get your data from. Then, you must think your way through this process to decide what end result you want to get to. In my case, I have used that entire “road map thought process” to map out a new process for us to collect all our internal data for our meeting statistics and then get all our buying power.

We had a lot of different sources until I started to put everything together on a piece of paper. I realized we didn’t have a central place to collect it all, so this past year I worked with our IT department to create our own proprietary system to collect all the data from all of our different show leads and event leads, and then to collect all the data post-event or to capture and report all the business that we are doing. This is definitely something that we need to do in order to collect the data, analyze it, and formulate dashboards so that we are able to report it quarterly to our senior leadership. We are doing this with all our clients.

IAEE: It sounds like last year’s Expo! Expo! led to quite a few breakthrough ideas and practices that have taken you down some interesting new roads this year. Will you be attending this year’s meeting in Anaheim?

Absolutely; I’ve already got my eye on sessions that I plan to attend and look forward to hearing what others are doing. I will definitely be in Anaheim!


My #ExpoExpo Experience by Chad Chappell, CMP, Director of Sales Development with Visit Baltimore and Chair of the IAEE Expo! Expo! Advisory Committee

I have regularly attended Expo! Expo! for many years, but this is the first year I had the opportunity to be your Chair of the Expo! Expo! Advisory Committee.  From this view, I have seen first-hand that IAEE is a great organization and that Expo! Expo! is the premier opportunity to get the most value out of your organization’s membership.  As an attendee, I always felt a great vibe at the show. There was the top-notch education and B to B opportunities (all those great new leads!) as well as first class social events. But honestly we have several opportunities a year in our industry to attend similar shows, but there was always something a bit better, different, and special about Expo! Expo!  I took it for granted and came away satisfied year after year.  Now being so involved in the Advisory Committee I have unique insight as to how this happens.

Quite simply, its evolution.

Each year the IAEE staff take a deep dive into every aspect of the show.  What worked, what did not, and most importantly, they take that information to the Expo! Expo! Advisory Committee and put forth recommendations.  You are probably saying, of course, every organization does this after their annual trade show or event each year.  But IAEE is different because they have built very strong partnerships and relationships with the destinations and venues that host each year, as well as seek out member and exhibitor feedback. They then leverage those relationships and feedback to make real positive changes.

Sometimes those changes do not work. Sometimes they are a spectacular success. But that’s ok because it is always another opportunity to learn.  No risk, no reward!


That is what makes Expo! Expo! so great.  In the trade show and event industry I think you must be entrepreneurial and take risks.  If you are an organizer for either an established show or new show, a service provider for an established company or a new company, you must evolve or you die.  Maybe that is the vibe I have been getting?  All this entrepreneurial spirit in the air from the attendees creates something special.   It’s all about the action!

See you in Anaheim! Baltimore and San Antonio’s proud Synchronicities partner (shameless plug time).

If you haven’t registered, visit www.myexpoexpo.com.



What It Takes to Make a Great Event (My Expo Expo Experience)

By Michael Doane, Marketing Manager with CadmiumCD

The two years prior to 2015, I had been fairly active with my IAEE membership online, chatting with other members through the IAEE MemberLink forum and taking advantage of all the great resources IAEE has to offer through the member portal. But I never had the opportunity to attendee Expo! Expo!.


In 2015, Expo! Expo! was hosted by my hometown, Baltimore, MD, and I HAD to go. I remember walking through the exhibit hall and seeing old friends everywhere, plus meeting colleagues face-to-face for the first time that I knew from online industry events like the weekly Twitter group, #Expochat. It felt like a reunion.

Let’s talk about education for a minute. The quality of education surrounding the CEM Learning Program and industry knowledge is fantastic. I walked away from every Expo! Expo! session with a better understanding of clients’ pain points and responsibilities. This is why Expo! Expo! exemplifies what it takes to make any event great: they facilitate the opportunity to make great connections face-to-face, and the chance to receive a quality education.


I’m excited to return to Expo! Expo! this year in Anaheim for the same reasons, but I have the added bonus of being involved with the conference on another level. This year I won’t just be an exhibitor and attendee, I will also be a speaker. I’ll be giving a presentation on Thursday, 8 December with Brittany Doyle from SPI called “Driving Attendee Engagement with Event Tech.” CadmiumCD’s co-founder, Michelle Wyatt, will also be talking about sponsorship with our good friend from Sponsorship Boost, Jennifer Kehrin.


This is what I love most about IAEE and Expo! Expo!. It feels like every year that you’re involved with the organization, the opportunity to contribute to the industry increases. I hope to see you this December in Anaheim!