What to Expect At IAEE’s First-Ever Hybrid Expo! Expo!

December 2, 2021

Take a look at the jam-packed schedule of this year’s Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting and Exhibition, and it’s obvious why this annual gathering for trade show and event professionals is dubbed “the show for shows.” But this year, the show will serve as a homecoming for the $101 billion B2B exhibitions industry following two years without an in-person Expo! Expo! to help show organizers forge business connections, access premium learning opportunities and foster valuable peer relationships. 

Set for Dec. 7-9 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, the trade show and conference will once again feature a lively expo alongside cutting-edge education, networking opportunities and special events over three action-packed days. Held in hybrid format for the first time ever, the event will not only offer tons of valuable content, business and engagement opportunities with like-minded professionals, but it will also be the first in-person Expo! Expo! since 2019, which was followed by an all-virtual edition in 2020.  

“The IAEE team is looking forward to bringing the exhibitions industry back together in-person in Philadelphia,” said IAEE President and CEO David DuBois. “Now is the time to look forward to the new year, as we have learned much in the past year about how to produce safe events.”

This year, the event is expected to attract 1,500 to 1,750 in-person attendees and 180 exhibiting companies showcasing the latest industry trends and technology across 65 product and service categories on a bustling trade showfloor. In typical years, the annual event draws upwards of 2,500 exhibition professionals—60 percent exhibition organizers and 40 percent suppliers—and 275 exhibiting companies to a sold-out expo. 

This year, the show’s conference portion will offer two separate learning experiences— one held in-person and one digital—featuring 75 educational sessions covering a wide range of top-of-mind topics in various learning environments, including general sessions, thought leadership, a tech competition with presentations, a main stage theatre, exhibitor mobile sessions and on-demand sessions. 

These high-level sessions will cover the strategic skills leaders and companies need to respond to future challenges and weather crisis, including cultivating content; communication and community; building networks with partners, exhibitors and attendees; and leading internal teams with empathy and optimism.

Topics will include: 

  • Advocacy 
  • Attendee and Exhibitor Acquisition and Retention 
  • COVID-19 
  • Data 
  • Research and Trends 
  • Digital Event Management 
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 
  • Event and Show Design 
  • Event and Show Strategy 
  • Event and Show Technology 
  • Global Business
  • Leadership and Management 
  • Marketing and Communications 
  • Partner Sales and Sponsorships 
  • Safety, Security and Risk Management 
  • Wellness

According to IAEE officials, Expo! Expo! will stream general sessions and mobile exhibitor interviews from the showfloor Dec. 7-8, along with pre-recorded content focused on event operations and global perspectives Dec. 9. 

Exhibitor-driven interviews from the showfloor will provide overviews of new products and services, and dedicated hours are planned for attendees to learn about solutions being offered by exhibiting companies, connected digitally via IAEE’s MarketHub. Additionally, the in-person Tech Theatre sessions will be recorded and housed on the IAEE Expo! Expo! digital platform.

Meanwhile, in-person attendees will be granted complimentary access to the digital Expo! Expo! experience.

To keep things interesting, IAEE’s event team has also made a few tweaks to the show’s format this year. For those attending in person, here are some changes and new experiences to keep an eye out for: 

  • All educational programming will be taking place on the showfloor this year, with the exception of three Specialty Sessions: CEIR, the Executive Breakfast and MATSO MeetsCocktails and Content.
  • Main stage and tech theatre programming will be staggered over two days to give full meeting attendees the best use of their time.
  • Show hours have been extended.
  • The IAEE Tech Startup and Pitch Competition will take place Dec. 7, with the winner to be announced during the General Session Dec. 8.
  • The 2021 Awards, which are usually announced early before the show, will be revealed live during the General Session.
  • This year, there will be two nights of exhibitor hospitality nights.
  • The Opening Party on the evening of Dec. 6 will take place at Reading Terminal, one of the oldest and largest public markets in the U.S.

Some companies will be showing off new campaigns this year. For example, full-service event production company Shepard has partnered with Soles4Souls, which turns unwanted shoes and clothing into opportunity by providing relief, creating jobs and helping people escape the cycle of poverty. To learn more about this philanthropic campaign at Expo! Expo!, go here.

Additionally, TSNN will once again have a presence on the Expo! Expo! showfloor. Come to booth 743 to take advantage of free resources and fun activities, including a social media wall, sticker giveaways and an ugliest holiday sweater contest with a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card. To learn more, go here.

To help keep all in-person participants as safe as possible, the show will be executing a host of health and safety precautions, including requiring masks and proof of vaccination to attend. 


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