by Cynthya Porter
It stands to reason that if you are going to an expo that is selling to people in the exposition business, exhibitors and hosts are going to bring their A game to the event, and Expo!Expo! 2019 delivered that and then some. Anchored at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, the event by day was a dizzying array of hundreds of education sessions aimed at honing the exhibition craft from myriad angles, and by night a networking extravaganza spread across ballrooms, private suites and even Drai’s Beachclub & Nightclub, located at the Cromwell Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, for the closing party.
The Expo!Expo! show hall boasted nearly 300 exhibitors that specialized in everything from high-brow technology to straight-forward services to destinations both around the country and the world that attract exhibitions and events. A “Tech Huddle” area offered an endless stream of experts addressing all manner of technology available to the industry today, an international pavilion gave attendees a glimpse at services available around the world, and a Brews and Views Hub made for a relaxing space to listen to industry experts expound on topics affecting the industry today. Transportation providers, general service contractors, giveaway companies, marketing companies, digital service providers and more rounded out the space, making two days of show hall access barely enough to consume the wisdom it contained. Fortunately, BodyWorks, The Attendee Wellness Company, was on hand to deliver free massages throughout the show, easing the aching muscles of attendees and reminding those who plan events that taking care of attendees in such a fundamental way builds a relationship with them like no other.
If the quantity and quality of education sessions and exhibitors wasn’t enough, also nearly impossible to completely consume was the flowing food and beverage service that marked the show hall and the event, with each breakfast, lunch and evening event trying to outdo each other with beautiful, interesting food and luxurious cocktails. It was, without question, a “dress-to-impress” event in that regard, featuring stunning table-top ice sculptures with cubbyholes for delicate desserts, all manner of food stations showcasing some of Las Vegas’ best fare, and in-booth offerings that provided a taste of that destination to the show floor. Louisville brought its bourbon, Orlando flew in its signature chef from the Orange County Convention Center, and New Orleans served up signature hurricanes to woo attendees with delicious flavors that might sway their next venue decision.
On the serious side, a swath of industry associations held their gatherings at the event and attendees seeking the coveted Certified Event Manager designation had endless resources to move them along in their quest. On the fun side, celebrity look-alikes dazzled, local lounge performers crooned, and showgirls glittered, in the end providing an experience that only Las Vegas can. The 2020 Expo!Expo! is slated for Louisville, Kentucky, home of bourbon, race horses and southern charm Dec. 8-10. And a year from now, it will also be the home of one of the exhibition industry’s most impactful gatherings— one that gives the professionals who attend all the resources, connections and education they need to go forward into a new year of exhibition and event planning.
This story originally appeared in the January/February issue of Exhibit City News, p. 68. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/exhibitcitynews_janfeb_2020