It's been a hard few years for event planners. But if we've learned, and shown the public, anything, it's that we are a resilient bunch of entrepreneurs, willing to roll with the punches. Even if those punches were global events.
These event conferences, which we all sat through virtually in the past few years, are finally ready to welcome us in person again. We get to see our friends, enjoy the exposition, and return to some sense of normalcy.
Most event planners are choosing to go to multiple conferences this year to make up for all the world made them miss. If you want to go to an event in person or are looking for new events to attend, this is the list for you.
We've put together ten can't-miss event planning conferences to add to your calendar below.
1. The Event Planner Expo 2022
This event lovingly called "The Expo" is the biggest event planning conference in America, if not the world. It's celebrating its 10th anniversary, which means they're doing everything bigger than ever. You won't want to miss it!
"Bigger than ever" is quite the feat, given that this conference annually draws over 2000 people, lasts three days, and has boasted past speakers like Babara Corcoran, Colin Cowie, and Martha Stewart.
But because they're "The Expo," anything is possible. In fact, they're hosting the world-renowned Mel Robbins as their keynote speaker. She's in good company, with other big names like Jesse Itzler, Sharon Lechter, and Jason Feifer all poised to take the stage in 2022.
The conference is in New York City, as always, and is set for October 11th through October 13th, Tuesday through Thursday.
There's still time to buy tickets for the expo, but don't wait too long. With travel restrictions lifting, New York will see an uptick in tourism, which will fill up hotels. Make your reservations for the conference now!
If you're interested in exhibiting at the expo, make sure to sign your business up before they're full! You don't want to miss this ultimate marketing and networking opportunity. It could be the big break your business needs!
The exposition floor is sure to be exciting this year, with sponsors like LA Photo Party, the Live Events Coalition, and the International Live Events Association.
2. The Special Event Show in Anaheim
Are you looking for a meeting planning conference this spring? Schedule your visit to the Special Event Conference in May as your warmup to "The Expo" in October a few months later.
This year the conference is in Sunny Anaheim, California, which is heaven for event planners, parents, and Disney lovers alike. It's going on May 2-5, 2022.
This exposition is co-located with Catersource, making it like you get two conferences for one price. If you're a catering or culinary entrepreneur, missing this conference would be the biggest mistake of the year. You can learn more about what "co-locating" means on their website.
And even if you're not a food-related event entrepreneur, this conference is still worth going to for their programming. The conference boasts educational sessions for continuing education credits, networking events, showcasing events, as well as an exposition-floor trade show.
That co-location with Catersource is sure to mean delicious food right around the corner at all times -- can't complain about that!
It's not too late to book a booth or register for the conference, though date-wise, the deadline is getting close. Take a trip out to sunny California for this fun conference. You won't regret it!
3. BizBash Live in Puerto Rico
Let's say you wanted to go somewhere a little more exotic than Anaheim for your spring conference, but with a similar warm climate. BizBash Live is your perfect match!
Not only did they choose to have the event in gorgeous Puerto Rico (PR) for the aesthetics, but your attendance and the event send money into the PR economy. Your attendance will help the US territory rebuild after multiple destructive hurricane seasons. To increase your impact, plan to spend a few days before or after the event at a local resort.
BizBash does their events a little differently. You'll buy your ticket to attend on May 22-24, 2022, but you can also apply for specific programs. There's the Hosted Buyers Program for people looking for new partners, the Suppliers program that supplies the Buyers Program, and the Leadership Summit.
The summit involves thirty industry leaders, which you'll have to apply for if you want to be a part of. It's the first time they're hosting this sub-program, so you applying now and being part of the integral class will make history.
Finally, if you can't make it to the gorgeous island or aren't comfortable being in-person yet, there is a virtual version of this event hosted by Hublio.
As their event tagline goes, it's time to "Hit Play" for the BizBash live summit. Less than 100 days to go!
4. The Experiential Marketing Summit: EMS 2022
When you think of experiential events and marketing, what location do you think of, other than New York or LA? Las Vegas, of course! And that's where this fast-approaching conference is this year.
They're holding it at the MGM Grand Las Vegas, a place that Covid has likely kept you from the last few years. If you're ready to get back to sin city, you can write off this visit on your taxes.
The conference is on April 27th, 28th, and 29th, from Wednesday to Friday. That leaves plenty of time to have a fun weekend in Vegas with your newfound friends afterwards.
Their keynote speakers are from some of the biggest companies in the world, including Phil Duncan from P&G, Jamey Sunshine from Nestle, Ronnie Yoked from Anheuser-Busch, and more.
Their agenda includes everything from continuing education credits, to networking events, to a 5K run/walk as a break from all that sitting. Don't miss the Sustainability in Events Session hosted by Cisco -- it's sure to be one of the most visionary workshops at the conference.
Time is running out to register, so plan your time in Vegas for the last week in April!
5. The Canadian Meetings and Events Expo
Do you live in the Great White North? Or maybe you're looking for a reason to escape the heat in the dead of August. Either way, this meeting in Toronto is great for Canadian event planners and entrepreneurs alike.
You'll find it at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on August 16th and 17th.
Their website is sparse, but more information will populate as the dates get closer. There's still plenty of time to register, sponsor, and exhibit. Please find more information on their site.
6. The World Education Congress: WEC San Francisco 2022
Speaking of pleasant places to visit in the summer, WEC 2022 is in San Francisco this year. The event is put on by MPI, the Meeting Professionals International, and it's their 50th anniversary!
MPI makes it a point to hold diverse events that create a sense of community, which is obvious in their programming. The entire website has an air of inspiration to it, from the sessions they're planning to what they call them: breakthrough sessions instead of breakout sessions.
Cute! Especially for those of us who can't stand to be put in one more Zoom breakout room after two years of online events.
Speakers for this year include Denise Cox of Project Enye, Ben Chodor of Notified, Omar Tawakol of Cisco, and Chuck Ghoorah of Cvent.
Interesting-looking sessions include Persuasion through Personal Power, Designing for Sustainability, Top 10 Tips for Proposals that Pop, and How To Level Up Your LinkedIn Game, among others.
If you'd like to attend this MPI WEC conference, plan on spending June 21-23 in the Bay Area. Hotels in San Francisco are some of the most expensive in the country, so book early to save some cash.
7. Cvent Connect 2022: Las Vegas
Are you a hospitality professional who works with meeting and event planners? Maybe you're the corporate liaison for a specific hotel or conference center but aren't an event planner per se.
Well, you're welcome at Cvent CONNECT. Their events specifically mention hospitality professionals and promise to inspire your business and help you find cutting-edge strategies.
It, too, is in Vegas this year. Las Vegas was hit hard by the Covid decrease in tourism and is welcoming guests (and clearly conferences) back with great deals.
The conference is April 11-14, which is coming up fast. If that's too soon for you to take time off or make plans, there's a virtual option as well. You'll just log into the Attendee Hub on the days of the meeting.
Speakers include Olympic medalist Allyson Felix, Nyle DiMarco of Dancing with the Stars, and the CEO & Founder of Cvent, Reggie Aggarwal.
8. IBTM World
The previous conferences on this list have been national, but there are meeting planner conferences all around the world. IBTM is in Barcelona this year, which gives you a great excuse to fly to Europe.
Though the conference is in Spain, you'll find sessions in English -- their goal is to make the conference accessible for professionals of every nationality. Translators, translation services, and or subtitles may be available for virtual options.
IBTM is still working on its programming, as the conference isn't until November 29th, 2022. It lasts until December 1st, a gorgeous time to be in southern coastal Spain.
The speaker lineup looks all European, which is great if you work in international events. You'll find professionals from American Express, VisitScotland, and the United Nations on the lineup. International entrepreneurs may know more names.
Their programs are divided into separate categories, just like BizBash (above). You can choose between sessions for the Knowledge, Association, or Elite Corporate Programme speakers.
They're still accepting exhibit participants if you'd like to open your market to European sources.
Set your DuoLingo to Spanish (or Catalan), so you can easily get around the city when you're in Spain. You have time to learn the basics!
9. Wedding Merchants Business Academy
If this list hasn't convinced you to book a trip to Vegas this year, this is your last chance (for 2022). The Wedding Merchants and Business Academy (MBA) convention starts on November 7th and goes until late on the 9th.
It boasts over 150 seminars, 200 exhibits, and over 100 different speakers. You'll get to see a fashion show, hear presentations on better work-life balance, and work on your sales skills.
You'll find this conference at the Las Vegas Convention center, and you can find more information online. Ticket prices go up soon, so register for a discount!
10. International Live Events Association (ILEA)
Finally, last but not least is this years' ILEA conference. It was virtual last year, but they're planning to have it in person this year. Dates for 2022 are still TBD, so be sure to follow them on their socials for the announcement.
Take advantage of this conference for their continuing education credits and their well-respected event planner certificates and other branded programs.
Event Conferences and Meeting Planner Conferences in 2022
We're all glad to get back to our new version of normal this year. If you're ready to dust off those in-person work clothes, make sure you make it to at least one of these event conferences.
Choices for venues this year range from New York to Las Vegas, to LA, to Barcelona. You could even pick which of these meeting planner conferences you want to attend based on the location.
Be sure to put the Event Expo 2022 on your list - we can't wait to see you at our 10th annual event planning conference!