Top Conferences and Expos for the Event Planning Industry

September 20, 2018 Susan Serena

As an Event Planner in New York, you rely on establishing a solid client network in order to be successful and thrive in your field. Networking is the key component to implementing that solid client network, and what better way to build your network than to attend a conference or expo?

Conferences and expos are regularly available for attendance throughout the year, and they serve as the perfect opportunity to connect with other professionals in the event planning and hospitality industries and to grow your foundation of connections. Some even provide knowledgeable keynote speakers to whom you can learn from and become inspired by.

Keep reading to see which expos I’ve named as the top ten conferences for the event planning industry, which you will gain numerous benefits from attending!


1. IBTM America

IBTM America is a three day invite-only event, where the industry’s top buyers and suppliers are in attendance, and able to meet one-on-one. This event’s main goal is to unite US and international travel industry suppliers, with the most highly qualified event planners. The show takes place from June 14th through June 16th in Hollywood/ Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Not only does IBTM host this event in America, but they also host similar events in Africa, China and Latin America. For more information regarding the event visit!


2. MPI World Education Congress

MPI’s WEC17 is scheduled for June 19th through June 22nd in Las Vegas, and is expected to be unlike any other typical trade show. By incorporating an overall dynamic vibe, WEC is providing attendees with an unforgettable experience rather than a day full of meetings. At this expo you are able to interact and network with over 2,000 global event professionals, and participate in discussions regarding the latest trends in the industry. Additionally, WEC’s closing night celebration will feature the music of rock legend, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts. For more information about this trade show, please visit their website at


3. The Event Planner Expo

The Event Planner Expo has been ranked as the number one expo for the event planning and hospitality industries, and for valid reasons so. While I’m sure some of you have been to trade shows that could best be defined as a complete snooze-fest, this show is the outright opposite of that. This expo presents their attendees with endless opportunities to network, while also incorporating a party-like atmosphere into the showcase. The Event Planner Expo is a one day event that encapsulates 150 exhibitors and 3,000 event professionals all under one roof, making it the most ideal place to enhance and increase business. This can’t-miss event takes place at the Metropolitan Pavilion on October 4th, and features an all-star line up of world renowned keynote speakers including, lifestyle maven Martha Stewart, celebrity event planner Colin Cowie, and marketing guru Randi Zuckerberg. The Event Planner Expo is celebrating their 5 year anniversary this year, and anticipating a bigger and better turnout than ever before. You are guaranteed to walk away feeling driven, energized, and inspired, along with innumerable more high-end business connections. For more information about this event please visit!


4. ILEA Live

ILEA Live is a three day event which is held on August 10th through August 12th at the Hyatt Regency Calgary in Calgary, Canada. ILEA is a global company with thousands of creative event professionals whom are amongst the top in their industries around the world. Their company includes event planners, caterers, decorators, entertainers, educators, photographers, hotel managers and audio-visual technicians. This conference is an educational experience where event professionals can collaborate and connect with peer companies, and strengthen and sharpen their business approaches. This year, ILEA is celebrating their 30th anniversary and they are anticipating the amount and quality of their vendors and attendees to be better than ever before! Be sure to take advantage of this top of the line event, and learn more information about it at!  


5. Venue Connect

IAVM is hosting their 92nd annual Venue Connect Conference and Trade Show this year from August 7th to August 10th at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee. At Venue Connect, you will find professionals from different types of venues such as arenas, convention centers, universities, stadiums and performing arts centers. They also offer a hands-on Boot Camp experience, where you can participate in small group sessions and gain an even better understanding of venue operations. To purchase tickets and read more about this showcase, pleasure refer to their website at!


6. IMEX America

This three day trade show which runs from October 10th through October 12th in Las Vegas, is a world renowned event, having received several prestigious awards. IMEX America is free to attend for the public, and inside the venue they are able to meet with over 3,000 exhibiting companies that represent the best the event planning industry has to offer! This expo also includes a hosted buyer program, which is the largest in the country, and allows you to book appointments in advance, thus you are able to make the most of your time and be as productive as possible. Please visit for more details about the trade show and to buy tickets!


7. Event Tech

This expo, held from November 13th through November 15th at The Paris, in Las Vegas, features over 1,000 marketers from Fortune 1000, and the most advanced marketing agencies. Event Tech is a one of a kind conference, which specializes in teaching the ways in which professionals can use social media and technology to their benefit. At this expo, you can attend any of the 100 classes provided, covering all topics from using mobile apps to creating shareable content to getting the most utilization from things like Snapchat and viral videos. You can additionally test the latest technological gear, such as drones, selfie apps, wireless chargers, and Twitter vending machines! Be sure to visit Event Tech’s webpage at to purchase tickets!


8. The Special Event

The Special Event is among the industry’s most popular trade show for all professionals in the event planning industry. At this colossal event spanning from January 30th through February 1st, 2018 in New Orleans, you are able to connect with over 5,000 companies, exhibitors and mentors. While most expos offer a few key speakers, this expo offers over 100 education sessions to choose from! There is sure to be a seminar available for everyone! Read more about this colossal event at!


9. Catersource

Catersource, the show for catering and event professionals, takes place from February 18th through February 21st, 2018 in Las Vegas, and features catering professionals, event professionals, owners and executives and culinary professionals. The expo offers numerous, exciting optional events to attend, like industry award celebrations and luncheons. Additionally, the network opportunities are endless from the conference activities in the attendee lounge and exclusive Connect Club. For more information and the chance to purchase tickets, go to!


10. Canada Special Events Live

Canada Special Events Live is an expo hosted from March 28th through March 30th in Toronto, Canada. This year, CSE is celebrating their 20th year of being Canada’s only national conference for individuals solely in the event planning industry. This event is designed and fabricated to provide attendees with the inspiration, ideas and resources necessary  to create innovative, excellent events. CSE Live has a fantastic lineup of experienced speakers, such as Grail Noble, Peter Carruthers, Janice Cardinale, Mariela McIlwraith, Keri Miller and Jordan Benson. Refer to their website at to buy tickets!


Aside from these 10 expos which are all highly recommended and worth attending, there are furthermore considerable other conferences I suggest, such as The Independent Planner Education Conference, Northstar Meetings Leadership Forum and Incentive Works. At each of these events, there are ample chances to network with other professionals, mingle with colleagues and gain inspiration and knowledge.





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