TSNN Preview & Planning Guide to Expo! Expo! 2023

November 22, 2023

What do you need to know before you attend Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition? After chatting with IAEE Vice President, Marketing and Communications Nicole Bowman and scrutinizing the full schedule of programming, TSNN put together this list of new and notable networking and education events to help you plan.

Scheduled for Dec. 5-7 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center (KBHCCD), Expo! Expo!, which was held in Louisville, Ky. in 2022, is on pace to draw 2,000 event professionals to Dallas, the hometown headquarters of the association. 

The KBHCCD, which is set to break ground on a massive expansion in 2024, currently offers 1 million square feet of space and connects via skybridge to the 1,001-room Omni Dallas Hotel, the headquarters hotel for the event. 

IAEE attendees can sign up for a behind-the-scenes tour of the convention center to get a preview of the expanded OVG-managed venue that will feature 800,000 square feet of exhibit space when construction is completed in 2028.

Besides the event, Dallas offers a wide variety of restaurants, shopping, attractions and more near the KBHCCD. As the ninth-largest city and part of the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the nation, Dallas covers 343 square miles and has a population of 1.2 million. If you have some free time before, during or after the event, Visit Dallas has put together some ideas for IAEE attendees here. 

Expect mild winter temperatures in early December in Dallas, with average highs of 59 degrees and average lows of 38 degrees. Check the weather before you pack. 

Incoming IAEE Chair Marie Browne

The event marks a new era for the association, as Marsha Flanagan takes the helm on Dec. 1 as the first female CEO and president in its 95-year history. IAEE Chair Dennis Smith, vice president of business development for AAHOA, will officially hand over the gavel to Incoming IAEE Chair Marie Browne, RX group vice president.

This year’s “Show for Shows” will include its usual mix of tried-and-true activities, as well as plenty of new offerings to keep the event fresh. One of the first things that regular attendees will notice: tweaks to the event schedule.

With so much to see and do over the course of three days, TSNN has curated a list (in chronological order) of what you need to know before you head to Dallas.


House of Blues Dallas is less than 1 mile from the Omni.

1. ESCA Winter Celebration. Held in conjunction with IAEE, this annual event will feature the ESCA awards presentation and a celebration of the retirement of ESCA Executive Director Larry Arnaudet, who is also the winner of this year’s IAEE Pinnacle Award. Honor and toast Arnaudet’s five decades in the industry. The event will be held 6-10 p.m., Mon., Dec. 4 at the House of Blues Dallas.


2. Executive half-day. This new session, scheduled for 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Tues., Dec. 5, was created for top-level executives and designed to provide high-level strategic insights, industry trends and leadership skills. The event is sold out, but IAEE will provide an opportunity onsite to attend should space become available due to non-attendance on a first come first serve basis. Remember: Plan ahead for next year and register early. 


3. 7 content tracks with dozens of sessions by industry experts. What are the challenges facing event professionals in 2023? Beginning on Tuesday and running through Thursday, IAEE session will address key topics in these areas: 

  • Building and Retaining Talent
  • Do the Right Thing No Matter Who’s Watching
  • Exploring Event Technology
  • Surveying the Exhibition Landscape of Tomorrow
  • Innovative Sales & Sponsorship Solutions
  • Marketing Matters
  • The Business of Legal


IAEE 2023 will be held Dec. 5-7 at Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas.

4. Opening Reception on the show floor. New in 2023, Expo! Expo! will open at 3:45 p.m. on Tues., Dec. 5 with a Neighborhood Block Party. Join the festival and do some business while you stroll through four iconic neighborhoods in Dallas: Victory Park, Deep Ellum, The Arts District and Dallas Farmers Market. Be sure to check out the cool activations by Visit Dallas.


5. Inclusive events. After the neighborhood block party, IAEE is hosting two events on Tues., Dec. 5. From 8-9:30 pm, meet with other members of the IAEE Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community at the iconic JR's Bar & Grill at the PRIDE After Party. From 9-11 p.m., the Young Professionals Party — for IAEE members under 35 years old — will be held at Free Play Arcade - Dallas.


6. Sold-out show floor with 250 exhibitors, including venues, cities, contractors, event tech companies and much more. A complete list of exhibitors and the floor plan can be found here. The show will be open a total of 7.5 hours over two days — 3:45-6:45 p.m. on Tues., Dec. 5 and 10:15 a.m.-2:45 p.m. on Wed., Dec. 6.


7. New(er) exhibitors: IAEE Tech2Grow Collective. IAEE has partnered with DAHLIA+Agency to cultivate the IAEE Tech2Grow Collective, a shared-space hub with experts and ideas for scaling the most important components of your exhibition. The area on the show floor will feature 12 companies — from Cobalt Event Studios and Jampack to Snoball and Zenus. 


8. Wakeup wellness. Start the day off right with the Terence Donnelly Memorial Health & Wellness Event, hosted by Maritz at 6:15 am on Wed., Dec. 6 at the Omni. In honor of Terence Donnelly, who unexpectedly passed away in July 2019, this event is designed to bring the IAEE community together to celebrate the host city and Terence. Instructors from Cowboys Fit, a fitness facility in partnership with the Dallas Cowboys, will lead the wakeup wellness program. All fitness levels are welcome and registration funds will be donated to support the CEIR Foundation.  


trend hunter
TrendHunter's Jonathon Brown will be the keynote speaker.

9. Keynote by TrendHunter. At 8:30 a.m. on Wed., Dec. 6, TrendHunter Chief Growth Officer Jonathon Brown will be the one and only keynote speaker at the event. Using hip hop as a lens for uncovering innovation lessons, Brown’s keynote will bridge diverse worlds to uncover shared principles and fresh perspectives. As the leader of the Business Innovation Group, he’s interviewed more than 400 leaders to uncover best practices around innovation across different industries. After hundreds of interviews with global innovation leaders, Brown has uncovered methods for sparking creativity and systematic innovation across many industries. 


The Omni is connected to the convention center.

10. Meetup for women. Women in Exhibitions Network is hosting a happy hour from 4:45-5:30 p.m. on Wed., Dec. 6 at the Pegasus lobby bar at the Omni. Stop by for cocktails, conversations and connections with leaders from the North American chapter before heading to chapter receptions. All are welcome. RSVP here.


11. Chapter Receptions. Always a highlight, IAEE Chapter Receptions will be held 5:30-7 p.m. on Wed., Dec. 6 at the Omni. Mix and mingle with peers in your region.


backyard dallas
Humanity Rocks will be held at Backyard Dallas.

12. Humanity Rocks returns. A celebration with a cause, Humanity Rocks will be held 9 p.m.-12 a.m. on Wed., Dec. 6 at Backyard Dallas. Help support a local charity at this networking event that will feature games, live entertainment, food, drinks and fun.


13. Two theaters on the show floor. On Wed., Dec. 6, IAEE will offer educational content in its Innovation and Sustainability theaters on the show floor. Twenty-minute sessions on a wide variety of topics will run from 10:30 a.m.- 2:10 p.m.


Enter to win these Beats headphones at TSNN booth #1113.

14. Stop by TSNN booth #1113. Meet the TSNN staff: President Rachel Wimberly, Vice President of Sales John Rice and Vice President of Content Danica Tormohlen. Enter to win a pair of Beats headphones that will be given away during the event. Valued at $200, these wireless on-ear headphones are one of the hottest tech gifts this holiday season.


15. Two nights of exhibitor parties. In years past, IAEE exhibitors only had one night available to host client events. In 2023, exhibitors are welcome to host parties after the show floor closes at 6:45 p.m. on Tues., Dec. 5, and after chapter receptions end at 7 p.m. on Wed., Dec. 6. 


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Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact