IAEE’s Expo! Expo! 2021 in Philadelphia Is the Latest Show to Require Proof of Vaccination 

October 1, 2021

Amid a growing trend to put strict health and safety protocols in place at events, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) has implemented a COVID-19 vaccine requirement, among other safety measures, for all in-person attendees and exhibitors of the hybrid Expo! Expo! IAEE Annual Meeting and Exhibition 2021. The event is scheduled for Dec. 7-9 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (PCC) in Philadelphia.  

IAEE officials said the organization is committed to providing the safest event experience possible at Expo! Expo! and is working closely with its show partners on multiple health and safety measures. 

“The IAEE Board of Directors voted unanimously for the vaccine requirement and believes this is the right decision for our trade show community at this time,” said 2021 IAEE Chairperson Bob McLean, executive vice president of Promotional Products Association International (PPAI). “We are looking forward to experiencing the best and safest Expo! Expo! possible this year in Philadelphia.” 

According to IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, while Expo! Expo! is such a highly anticipated event in any given year, the enthusiasm for this year’s in-person event is understandably even higher, and the association must remain cognizant of ensuring a safe and successful experience for everyone.  

“We must continue to be mindful of the current environment and are therefore leaving no stone unturned,” DuBois said. “With everything IAEE and its partners are doing to provide the highest duty of care, we are confident that the Expo! Expo! experience will deliver as it always does.”

All attendees and exhibitors will be required to present proof of full vaccination, and the last shot must have been given before Nov. 22. Proof of vaccination can be submitted through the secure platform Fern Health Check, powered by ShareMy.Health. IAEE will share instructions and a link to the platform with participants a few weeks before the show via email. 

Masks will also be mandatory at Expo! Expo!, since Philadelphia has an indoor mask mandate for most businesses, except those that have required proof of vaccination for all staff and patrons. While the Pennsylvania Convention Center has instituted a vaccine mandate for its entire workforce, it has opted to keep its mask requirement in place for employees and anyone participating in events at the facility. 

Other health and safety measures for participants at Expo! Expo! will include agreeing to complete daily screening procedures, adhering to social distancing protocols put in place by IAEE and following the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization and State of Pennsylvania guidelines for virus prevention, including hand washing and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces. Expo! Expo! participants may also be subject to on-site COVID-19 rapid testing, and IAEE will share those details closer to the event date. 

Pennsylvania Convention Center Protocols

Meanwhile, as part of its commitment to reopening safely, the PCC earned Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR accreditation for outbreak prevention, response and recovery. As an ASM Global-managed facility, it also deployed the recently launched ASM VenueShield, an environmental hygiene program providing the highest levels of cleanliness and safety in partnership with leading medical professionals, industry experts and public health officials.

IAEE’s vaccine requirement announcement for Expo! Expo! comes as other industry entities are deciding to do the same, most recently for upcoming shows such as IMEX America 2021, set for Nov. 9-11 Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, and Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022, scheduled for Jan. 5-8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Past shows that required proof of vaccination have included Reed Exhibitions’ Bar Convent Brooklyn, held Aug. 17-18 at the Brooklyn Expo Center and the National Grocers Association (NGA) Show, held Sept. 19-21 at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. 

Meanwhile, leaders from the business and travel sectors recently gathered in Washington, D.C. to make a compelling case for the full and safe return of in-person professional meetings and events. Freeman, a global leader in events, and Epistemix, a computational modeling software company, also recently unveiled research that shows the safety of in-person business events when proper health and safety measures are in place.  

Show Highlights 

Dubbed the “Show for Shows,” Expo! Expo! will feature educational sessions that will be integrated with exhibitors on the trade show floor for a one-stop shop experience. The 2021 edition will showcase topics that are top of mind for decision makers, with high-level sessions covering strategic skills needed for leaders and companies to respond to future challenges, including cultivating content; communication and community; building networks with partners, exhibitors and attendees; and leading internal teams with empathy and optimism.

Digital Experience

This year’s show will also be offered as a digital experience. Streamed general sessions and exhibitor mobile sessions from the show floor will run Dec. 7-8, in addition to pre-recorded exclusive digital platform content on Dec. 9, which will focus on event operations as well as global perspectives, including the IAEE Asia Forum. There will be dedicated hours on the virtual platform for exhibitors and attendees to meet one-on-one or for attendees to browse through products and services at their leisure.

To register for the in-person or virtual Expo! Expo! event, go here. The deadline is Oct. 25.

Photo: Pennsylvania Convention Center. Credit: Greg Benson for PHLCVB

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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.