Top 10 Must-Attend Event Conferences in 2019

May 31, 2019 Jessica Stewart

Meetings and Conferences have seen a great rise across the world in recent years. According to the Event Marketing 2019: Benchmarks and Trends report, leadership teams including Vice Presidents and C-suite executives believe in-person events are a critical component of their company's success. 

If you're in the events industry, you probably work long hours trying to pull off these amazing events for your clients. We get it. Planing live events is no easy task.

But finding time to pick up on the latest trends in the industry can be overwhelming. And also when can you find the time to meet other professionals?

If you've questioned this consider yourself a great event planner professional. It's important to keep up with these things so it's good you're thinking about it. 

Here's an idea: attend event conferences. They're a great way of taking in new content and knowledge that can benefit your business. So now you're probably asking yourself what are some of the best conferences for event industry pros?

We've compiled a list of the ten conferences that are worth attending in 2019. Topics (not exclusive to event planning) include networking, event management software, and technological advances. 

Best Event Conferences of 2019  

Read on to see our top picks and why they're worth you're time. 

1. GBTA Convention 

Location: Chicago, Illinois 

Date: August 3-7 

Conference Link 

With over 9,000+ members and 7,000+ attendees expected this year, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is considered the world's largest business travel and meetings organization. 

GBTA Convention 2019 will offer opportunities to learn about the latest innovations and products in the business travel industry. You'll hear first-hand accounts from professional who manage business travelers across the globe and the vendors that make productive and cost-effective travel possible.

95% of travel buyer attendees say that this expo influences which suppliers they select for their travel program. The GBTA Convention allows innovators to introduce new products and technologies that will alter the business travel landscape. 

2. IMEX America 

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada - Sands Expo 

Date: September 10-12 

Conference Link 

IMEX America is a unique tradeshow that focuses on giving you a tailored learning experience. It prides itself on being the best worldwide exhibitions for event professionals. It offers professional events, seminars, meetings, and even incentive travel.

It balances 3,000+ exhibitors with powerful education tracks that makes IMEX Group stand out from the rest. At IMEX sessions cover topics like event tech and polishing professional skills. So there's something for every kind of events professional. 

And with over 13,000 attendees, IMEX America continues to be regarded as the must-attend industry event of the year. Attendees express the quality of the buyers as a motivator to attend IMEX Conferences, so make sure you find yours.   

3. The Event Planner EXPO 2019 

Location: NYC, NY 

Date: October 3 

Conference Link 

The Event Planner Expo is considered the premier trade show of the events and hospitality industry. It gives the attendees an opportunity to network with industry professionals, discover partners for their upcoming events and increase business.

The Event Planner Expo features over 150 exhibitors representing the best vendors and venues in the city. This expo also gives you the opportunity to discover excellent partners for your upcoming events. 

Attendees can visit the inspirational speaker series (past speakers include Barbara Cocoran of ABC's Shark Tank), and take advantage of the opportunities to network with the Event Planners, Corporate Decision Makers, marketing, PR and HR professionals and CEO's that attend the expo. All the while attending an opening party and afterparty complete with food and cocktails. 


4. MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum 

Location: Washington, D.C.  

Dates: October 16-18 

Conference Link 

MarketingProfs B2B Forum is described as the place where leaders, innovators, and people who make things happen gather to learn about the latest in B2B marketing. The conference will take place on the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, situated on the banks of the Potomac.  

5. Dreamforce 2019 

Location: San Francisco, California 

Dates: November 19-22

Conference Link 

Dreamforce is one of the largest cloud and SaaS centric conferences in the world. Whether you're a company of five or a Fortune 500, you're going to see what success looks like by going to Dreamforce.

With over 2,000 sessions and thousands of live solutions from the world's largest cloud ecosystem, Dreamforce has content specific to your industry and role. It has a heavy emphasis on customer and partner case studies, in addition to CRM topics. These include marketing, sales, automation, artificial intelligence and more. 

6. EIBTM World 

Location: Barcelona, Spain 

Dates: November 19-21 

Conference Link 

EIBTM stands for The Global Meetings and Incentive Exhibition. And is the leading exhibition for the conference, incentives, business travel and meetings industry. For 31 years it has had one goal: to inspire the events world to deliver exceptional experiences. And so it has been.

With over 15,000 industry professional attendees, IBTM continues to provide inspiration and business connections to a global community that recognizes the importance of creating world-class events for their customers. The conference includes an exhibition floor, networking opportunities, and professional education. 

7. The Special Event 

Location: San Diego, California 

Dates: January 8-10 

Conference Link 

If you value the importance of learning and maximizing knowledge about the event industry, The Special Event is right for you. Over 4,000 event professionals come together to connect and collaborate with event planners, wedding planners, corporate planners, caterers, business owners and more.

Each year's program offers you access to over 100 sessions across multiple conference tracks. And the topics range from food photography to best practices for handling event emergencies. You also have the opportunity to earn CE credits towards your CMP certification.

Click here to learn more about CPM's and its recertification process. 

8. International Confex 

Location: Olympia, London 

Dates: February 26- 27 

Conference Link 

For 35 years International Confex has delivered ideas, inspiration and a unique meeting ground for the global events industry. It's described as a vivid showcase of all the elements that make events one of a kind.

The conference features ground-breaking technology, out of the box team building activities and creative finishing touches. Because it is the most comprehensive event of its kind in the U.K., buyers attend the conference to compare, source, and select new venues and services. 

Packed with 350 suppliers, Confex is also a fantastic opportunity to learn more about leading solutions in the event technology space. So if you're an event professional this is a great place to network and witness amazing insights from the tech world. 

9. Eventex  

Location: Online 

Date: March 26 

Awards Link 

A celebration of creativity, innovation, and effectiveness in the industry have led Eventex Awards to be the most coveted competitions in the world of events.

An Eeventex Award is a symbol of high achievement and excellence that inspires anyone in the events planning industry to be the best. If you want to find which category your events and services brand fall in this are a few of the 50+ categories: 

  • Art, Entertainment, and Public 
  • Brand and Experiences 
  • Cause and Green 
  • Conferences and Meetings 
  • Corporate and Community 
  • Regions  

10. Experiential Marketing Summit 

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada - Ceasers Palace 

Date: May 14-16 

Conference Link 

Join more than 1,800 marketers from around the world at the Experimental Marketing Summit, the ultimate training conference on experiential marketing. Here you'll learn about emerging trends, best practices and dive into the biggest case studies of the industry.

At the Summit, you can count on learning about experiential marketing from companies like Uber, General Mills, Samsung, and General Motors. This event is geared toward hosting training sessions, such as explorations into Gen Z or trends in event experiences design to keep you up to date with cutting edge marketing practices. If you're looking to develop strong marketing skills, this Summit is where you need to be. 

Let's take a moment to mention some other conferences you may want to keep your eye on for the benefit of variety:

  • The Motivation Show 
  • National Restaurant Association Show 
  • Catering Executives Conferences 
  • Idea Factory  

Some Event Statistics You Should Know

If you already have an idea of what conference interests you there's no harm in gaining more knowledge about the latest trends. In fact, you can use these statistics in your next event marketing presentation, or conference spot if you register for one. 

  • Between 2017 and 2018 the number of companies organizing 20 or more events per year increased by 17 percent.

The most successful business are spending 1.7x the average marketing budget on live events. 

B2B Event Industry Statistics  

  • 68 percent of B2B marketers use in-person events for lead generation initiatives. 
  • 55 percent of B2B organizations spend over 21 percent of their marketing budgets on events. 
  • 58% of B2B companies use event software at their events, compared to 54% of B2C companies. 

Commercial and Professional Services 

  • 46 percent of leadership (Vice President and C-Suite) agree that in-person events are the most important marketing channel to achieve key business objectives. 

About Event Marketing Budgets 

  • 62 percent of senior marketers plan on investing more in live events in the future. 
  • 30 percent of business are spending 21 percent or more of their total events budget on hosting events. 
  • 34 percent of event planners spend most of their budget on catering. 
  • 10 percent of event planners spend most of their budget on speakers and marketing

Event Trends 

33 percent of event planners would use additional budgets to invest in enhancing the attendee experience, according to the 2019 Global Meetings and Events Forecast produced by American Express Global Business Travel's Meetings and Events division. 

The forecast was created by surveying 700 meetings and events professionals around the world and conducting interviews with 30 industry experts. 

The report explains that the events industry is settling into a normal idea of exceeding client's expectations despite unique challenges like higher hotel and air travel prices.

Factors like technological transformations are part of the universal ship impacting the meetings and events space. So it's vital to understand what important trends are occurring on a regional level. 

Want to know what these transformations are about? Keep reading below! 

Some of these include the following: 

1. Facial recognition software: Don't make your sponsors wait around in line and increase time with your sponsors by integration this latest technology. It allows attendees to check-in using only their face.

For example, imagine, cameras at kiosks and registration desks scanning attendee faces upon arrival. And no lines. Imagine that. Face recognition is not only a fast seamless way to check into an event, but it also provides a more personal experience for attendees. 

2. In-time phone audio translations: Imagine an event where you receive international guests that flew from other countries.

Maybe you're not sure how fluent they are with English, and you also want to enhance their experience by simplifying the bridge of communication. Well,  why not give them the gift of easy translation with the in-time translation app? 

They'll get an interpretation for sessions, silent conferences, and overflow audiences. This can be an event planner's prime tool since the app can be programmed for following up on leads to customer service responses. 

To install this type of app attendees simply need a laptop and a smartphone (or a tablet). Embracing these solutions connect your attendees with your event more quickly and efficiently than ever before.   

What Event Caught Your Eye? 

If you're an event planner or someone with a passion for the event industry, it's time to get your flights booked. While a lot of information about new products and knowledge can be found at the event's websites, it's great to get a hands-on demonstration or be able to ask questions.

These conferences can enhance your professional skills in ways you'll be glad to recognize. 

This year is packed with event conferences and expos worth your time and money. Looking for more information about the latest industry trends? Make sure to click here and read "The Latest in Event Design Trends."  



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