Events are a diverse and eclectic breed. There are weddings, outdoor festivals, block parties, street fairs, sporting competitions, concerts, branding activations and product launches, corporate meetings, galas, fashion shows, fundraisers, awards show, private parties, circuses, carnivals, and more. As such, there are event trade shows for meetings, for weddings, for experiential marketers. Finding the best one to boost your business is a matter of figuring out which one caters to a specific aspect of the event process that is most relevant and interesting to your business.
Some expos focus on technology, some on various vendors that can support your event, others are about developing relationship sand discussing both the state of the industry and innovations to consider (AI being this year's emergent topic).
Here are some of the top ones to consider:
Event Marketer's Experiential Marketing Summit (EMS) tailored to the brand experience and experiential marketers. Held in Las Vegas, the expo addresses trends, logistics, innovation, tech, DEI initiatives, and case studies
The Event Planner Expo in New York City is one of the more wide-ranging trade shows, bringing together executives, business owners, and event professionals from a wide range of specialties from corporate meetings to holiday parties and charity functions to product launches. They always host keynote speakers (Gary Vaynerchuk was the 2023 headliner) to discuss sales, marketing, trends, tech, and creativity.
Connect Marketplace has partnered with BizBash to create two events during the year, one in Vegas and the other in a different city every year (2024 will be in Milwaukee). Focusing mostly on tourism, collegiate athletics, and corporate meeting planners, there is a trade show floor as well as one on one meetings for B2B networking and sales.
Event Industry Expo (EIX) bills itself as the "largest trade show and conference for event rental companies, manufacturers and suppliers." With many educational and networking events, and speakers from vendors to planners to entertainers, EIX is pretty comprehensive, covering almost every type of event.
Event Tech Live is—surprise!—dedicated solely to spotlighting event technology. Held in London and now in Las Vegas as well, this trade show draws corporate brands, planners and marketing agencies, as well as technology vendors to broadcast innovations and tech trends.
Emerging Leaders by Northstar in Kentucky focuses on the younger generation of event planners and helping them to build relationships with suppliers to jumpstart and sustain their careers. With a trade show and one-on-one meetings, much of the focus is on tourism and the hotel industry.
Confab Content Marketing brands itself as the storytelling expo. With content being king, Confab is perfect for strategists who want to learn how to access an audience through content creation whether through UX, social media, long form video, or simple copy. They explore what your brand message is and how best to get that across through various platforms.
In our next installment, we'll round out the list with the rest of our top picks. PopUP CleanUP specializes in cleaning and trash management for large scale events.