IAEE's Expo! Expo! Attracts More than 2,000 Attendees to Orlando
This year’s International Association of Exhibitions and Events’ Expo! Expo! drew more than an estimated 2,000 attendees Dec. 4-6 to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, where they had the opportunity to not only go to 80 educational sessions, but also network with colleagues at events such as the opening party at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and check out products and services on a busy showfloor.
The 2,000 attendees, which will be audited, were down from last year’s 2,300 in Las Vegas, a city that always draws an uptick, said David DuBois, the new president of IAEE, but were up from the 2010 show in New Orleans that drew 1,800 attendees.
“Whether you are a supplier, for-profit show organizer, association show organizer or corporate planner, we want you to go away from this event smarter to help your organization,” DuBois said.
To that end, the number of education sessions was doubled this year to 80, with the intention of offering a more inclusive scope of programming to target all of the suppliers that attend the show, he added.
“We had more education geared towards suppliers this year,” DuBois said. “We wanted 2,000 people to leave here raving about the educational enhancements at the annual meeting.”
The 3-day event was filled with several changes for the association, including the joint announcement by DuBois and John Graham, president and CEO of the American Society of Association Executives, that IAEE’s Midyear Meeting will collocate with ASAE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition next August in Atlanta.
“This partnership makes sense,” Graham said. “Both ASAE and IAEE seek to grow our key meetings, and our audiences can greatly benefit from both perspectives. The dialogue will undoubtedly open new doors for doing business together and creating long-lasting partnerships."
The combined program will include IAEE's education for exhibition and event organizers, as well as ASAE's trade show Aug. 5-7 at the Marriott Marquis.
Next year’s Expo! Expo! showfloor, which had 255 exhibiting companies on a 38,000 net square foot showfloor this year, will be split between two days with abbreviated show hours when the show is held in December at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.
In the past, DuBois said the showfloor had been two days, and the change back to that format is so both show organizer and supplier attendees have the opportunity to attend more educational sessions and also to better integrate the trade show into the overall event.
Another change at IAEE was announced by National Association of Broadcasters’ Chris Brown that the Exhibition Industry Foundation will be renamed the CEIR (Center for Exhibition Industry Research) Foundation.
Brown said the leaders from IAEE, CEIR and EIF met and decided “EIF wasn’t fully understood in the industry.”
He also encouraged people to donate to CEIR in Joyce McKee’s name, who blogged for the organization and passed away suddenly in November.
Also at the meeting, Doreen Biela, current chair of IAEE, passed the gavel to Jason McGraw, senior vice president of expositions for Infocomm International.
"I have had the pleasure of serving on IAEE’s Board of Directors since 2008 and look forward to a very productive year as its chair," McGraw said.
He added, "In the coming year, we will be updating IAEE’s strategic plan and expanding our education offerings. I am also eager to work with new IAEE President and CEO David Dubois in increasing the association’s reach within the United States and abroad."
Also new to the Board of Directors in 2013 are Christopher McCabe, senior vice president at Nielsen Expositions; Martin Moggre, CEM, executive vice president, Sales, Exposition Services at Freeman; and Manolita Moore, MBA, annual conference director for the Western Veterinary Conference.
At the annual awards luncheon, several people were honored, including Patricia Farias Barlow, who received the Pinnacle Award and gave a speech thanking the people who helped her early on in her career and continue to inspire her to this day, as well as a very moving speech from Pam Sain, who accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award for her husband Gary Sain, former president and CEO of Visit Orlando, who passed away suddenly in May.
During the lunch, it also was announced Global Experience Specialists raised $17,000 from their annual Humanity Rocks event to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Central Florida.
DuBois said IAEE is a vibrant and healthy organization, adding, “Personally, on behalf of the organization, I want people to leave Orlando with the feeling that IAEE is more inclusive and collaborative than ever.”