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What’s Next?: Industry experts give their predictions for 2023

As the new year tiptoed in, we reached out to several experts in the industry to ask them about their hopes and predictions for the year ahead. But don’t worry—we waited to call until after the holidays. If anyone needed a break at the close of 2022, it was the people in the events industry! We’re still collecting opinions. If you’d like to share your 2023 predictions with us, send them to and we’ll publish them on our website. 

The events coming in 2023 are broad and multifaceted. More and bigger events are already a confirmed reality and not just speculation. At Caesars Entertainment’s properties across the country, the demand has been incredible. Bookings are strong through 2023 and well into 2024 and have been for some time. Being flexible and able to provide as many options as possible has been our culture. The more you can provide and adapt to planners’ needs and their vision, the more attractive your venue is. This is true for 2023 and beyond. 

— Kelly Gleeson Smith, vice president of sales, Caesars Entertainment

Last September, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research predicted tradeshow metrics in 2024 would exceed pre-pandemic numbers. I say it will happen this year. Companies I have spoken with are at 80 percent to 100 percent of 2019 revenues (some even higher), and that is with a COVID-limited 2022 January and February. A predicted 2023 recession will not significantly diminish tradeshow activity; there is too much pent-up demand and too much value provided. Barring some unforeseen worldwide event, the number of exhibitors and attendees in 2023 will exceed 2019 numbers. The future looks good.

 — Bob McGlincy. director of business management, Willwork Global Event Services

Alliance Nationwide Exposition can’t be more excited about the future of in-person events.  Alliance expects 2023 to be the true “grand opening” for tradeshows and events, and it’s going to be spectacular. We are witnessing never-before-seen pent-up demand from both show organizers and participants, which will lead to increased opportunities for everyone. The ability to move swiftly and with great flexibility will be necessary for our success.  

 — Nicole Unger, CMP, vice president of business development, Alliance Nationwide Exposition

I predict that 2023 will be the year we get back to 2019 levels in attendance. These attendance levels will set the stage for Las Vegas to prove, once again, we are the convention and tradeshow capitol of the world.

 –Tommy Blitsch, secretary treasurer, Teamsters Local 631

My crystal ball skews positive. I am very optimistic about 2023. Our amazingly resilient industry will continue to find its footing in this post-pandemic new normal. We have seen a lot of young, diverse talent come into our industry over the past 12 months. I believe that they will flourish while bringing new ideas and perspectives and will fall in love with how we all get to make a living. This influx of talent will be a very positive development in 2023 and have impact for years to come.

 — Paul Cunniffe, senior vice president, Freeman

I am excited by what I see for 2023. Based on the inquiries and committed jobs for first quarter, I believe that 2023 will exceed everyone’s expectations. January is going to start with a bang—CES looks to be record numbers followed by World of Concrete, Shot Show, KBIS/IBS and Photonics West to name a few. The steady work continues into February and March already. Here’s to a great 2023 for all of us!

 — Marypat Alroth, senior account executive, TruService Group:

We all see looming recession indicators and economic challenges due to inflation and limited supply; however, these contributors often create as much opportunity for business as one might experience in a boom. A downturn creates some volatility, and volatility provides opportunity to engage with people and organizations about possibility, which is right where we like to work.

The very real shortage of working people will be the ongoing story that affects our experiential economy in 2023. The expectation of the buyer or consumer is sophisticated when it comes to all phases of a brand experience. Many of those phases of engagement are dependent upon the behavior, experience and ability of key people doing their part. Right now, we are managing that role with less people, and in many instances, less experienced people.

2023 will be filled with lots of challenging and provocative discussions with our clients, our teams and our partners. All of which will contribute to our ongoing effort to do our next best work. It is our hope and intention that our legacy client activity will continue to drive innovation and excellence among our ranks, but if history is our teacher, there’s something new and exciting on the horizon.

 — Michael McMahon, president and CEO, Hill & Partners:

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