SISO Unveils Several Member Programs, Supports Go LIVE Together Advocacy

July 1, 2020
Brian Field, Emerald

The Society of Independent Show Organizers has not only joined advocacy efforts with the Go LIVE Together Coalition during these challenging times, but also it has supported its membership of for-profit trade show organizers with several new programs.

“SISO has been laser focused on getting our industry reopened as safely and quickly as possible. We have moved quickly with our leadership of the Go LIVE Together coalition, the All Secure program and advocating to have our industry removed from the WHO mass gathering bucket,” said SISO Chair and Tarsus Group CEO Douglas Emslie.

He added, “If there is one clear lesson we have learned from this pandemic, it is that as an industry we need to come together and speak with one voice.”

David Audrain, SISO’s executive director, also said that having a collaborative effort during this critical time for the exhibitions industry was important.

“SISO has been working to bring the industry together to speak as one voice to highlight the importance of live events to the industries we serve and the value to the economy up and down the supply chain,” Audrain added.  

He said, “To achieve this single voice, SISO’s Board took a significant step in becoming the primary financial supporter and primary lead manager in the Go LIVE Together coalition, helping to bring the most important organizations in the industry together to advocate for our industry.”

Go LIVE Together comprises a coalition of more than 1,700 members representing thousands of companies and independent contractors with operations in the U.S. and 112 other countries.

The coalition has assembled to ensure that the industry is enabled to follow common safety guidelines, and when the health crisis is over, the voices and concerns of the live events industry are addressed in local, state, and federal recovery funding related to COVID-19.

“The Go LIVE Together initiative is advocating for financial relief that will support our industry now and as we begin to rebuild. With the generous financial backing of SISO, as well as other contributors, we’ve hired top lobbyists who are meeting with legislators to discuss the far-reaching impact events have on our economy,” said Freeman CEO Bob Priest-Heck. 

He added, “Specifically, we’re asking legislators for incentives in the form of tax credits to encourage attendees and exhibitors to return to live events and to offset the added health and safety expenses required to ensure participants can return to live events safely. Additionally, we’re requesting support for PRIA-like legislation that offers communicable disease pandemic coverage in event cancellation insurance."

Priest-Heck said Go LIVE Together was “immensely grateful for SISO’s generous financial contribution and for the strategic leadership David Audrain and Doug Emslie are providing to guide our path forward.” 

He added that the coaltion’s work has allowed for important conversations with federal, state and local governments.  

“The live events industry is continuing to get critical media attention, helping to raise awareness about the important role live events will play in our nation’s economic recovery,” Priest-Heck said.

Audrain said, while advocacy efforts were focused here in the U.S. working with Go LIVE Together, “globally, SISO continues to work with and support the efforts of UFI and the industry organizations as they reopen and rebuild.”

Beyond advocacy efforts for its members. SISO has launched several new programs, some in collaboration with mdg.  

“When the pandemic hit, we worked with SISO leadership to develop a couple of new content offerings that would provide advice and guidance to its members in relation to change management,” said mdg Chief Marketing Strategist Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes.

New content offerings included Turning Point: An Interview Series, which featured prominent leaders in the trade show space discussing ways they’ve applied lessons from past crises to the current one, their approach to scenario planning, people management and staying physically and mentally healthy through the upheaval.

Hardcastle-Geddes said mdg also created a 6-week CEO Roundtable series called The Six Dimensions of Live in the New World, hosted by Bruce Mau, Freeman’s Chief Design Officer, “that’s helping SISO executives visualize, plan and prepare for the future of live events.” 

A few other SISO programs currently assisting its members include online webinars, Town Halls, Special Interest Group discussions, online community discussion forums, the SISO Update newsletter and revised content SISO will be delivering both in-person and online at the SISO Summer Conference in August. 

“Within the SISO community, we have expanded our efforts to support our members and the industry at large by providing as much information and knowledge sharing as we can,” Audrain said.

He added of all the overall advocacy efforts, “I am proud of the way the industry has come together, and especially proud of the SISO Board and Members working for the whole Global Exhibitions Industry to recover together.”  

Add new comment

Partner Voices
One of the most iconic names on the Las Vegas Strip just got an upgrade. Mandalay Bay has everything that your business needs from a refreshed convention space designed to inspire productivity and creativity, to an impressive selection of world-class restaurants and amenities. If you're looking for a venue that's both inviting and innovative, you have to be here. New Wave Experiences Mandalay Bay continues to invest in a new wave of enhancements both in the convention space and within the resort as a whole. New restaurant openings including Orla by Michael Mina, drawing inspiration from the award-winning chef’s childhood in Egypt and with flavors and décor inspired by the spices found in markets common to coastal Mediterranean towns, as well as Caramá by Wolfgang Puck, bringing the essence of Italy and spirit of Wolfgang into one concept, are recent additions. The Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas also experienced a recent remodel of all 424 rooms. Swingers, a high-end, adults-only golf and entertainment concept will debut in Fall 2024. Enhanced Technology Creating a truly effective conference venue requires careful thought into what a business needs: the right technology, capacity, and inspiration to bring ideas to the next level. As part of the resort’s refresh, Mandalay Bay implemented state-of-the-art technology upgrades, installing cutting-edge Cat6A Ethernet cabling throughout the convention center. This advancement doubles the frequency of data transmission, enabling lightning-fast speeds up to 9400% faster. The convention center now boasts 11 dynamic digital walls, spanning up to 24' x 13', strategically positioned for brand placements, sponsorships and targeted event messaging. Additionally, attendees can benefit from 20 double-sided 55" mobile flexible display units, facilitating effortless navigation to meeting rooms and events. RFID locks were installed on all meeting room doors, and over 200 motion detection cameras have been placed throughout the space. Refreshing New Design & Fine Art The newly remodeled convention space provides a bright and vibrant atmosphere that complements Mandalay Bay's tropical-inspired brand. Featuring white-washed walls and ceilings adorned with bold floral patterns in cerulean and coral tones, the space is complemented by warm walnut accent walls. In addition to the redesign of all pre-function spaces, meeting rooms and ballrooms, Mandalay Bay's 1 million square feet of exhibit space has undergone a rejuvenation, including new paint, covered pillars and relocated strobe lights. Sustainable Spectacles Mandalay Bay is committed to Focused on What Matters and creating more responsible meetings. Refillable water stations all available around the resort, cutting unnecessary plastic usage from single-use bottles. The Mandalay Bay campus’ recent upgrades represent a bold step forward in redefining the Las Vegas experience. With a focus on innovation, sustainability, and unparalleled service, Mandalay Bay sets a new standard for excellence in business hospitality. Whether you're seeking cutting-edge conference facilities, world-class dining options, or simply a luxurious retreat, an unparalleled meeting experience awaits.