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The Trade Show Executive Fastest 50 Awards & Summit Returns with a Bang

group photo of Informa at the TSE Fastest 50 Awards & Summit

MIAMI — After a three-year hiatus, the Trade Show Executive (TSE) Fastest 50 Awards & Summit made its comeback at the Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) May 1-3. Recognizing a history-making year for the Fastest 50 and Next 50 trade shows, the event brought together the top executives from the honored shows for three days of networking, education and glamorous celebrations. 

The TSE Fastest 50 Awards & Summit started out by tasting the flavors of Miami Beach during the Chairman’s Dinner. Attendees were able to enjoy good food and good company at Joe’s Stone Crab, an iconic spot with a more than 100-year history in the area. 

The agenda also featured the Seas the Day yachting experience, which saw participants test out their sea legs aboard the luxurious mega-yacht, The Striker, for a cruise around Biscayne Bay and to check out the fabulous real estate of Star Island, the home to the rich and famous. 

Following the networking events was the official kick-off of the Fastest 50 Awards & Summit. The opening reception was held at the National Hotel, where all the attendees gathered for a toast to the start of the event, under market lights and surrounded by art-deco architecture. 

Knowledge is Power 

The educational summit, held at the MBCC, featured a robust program of case studies, panels, interviews and a keynote from Dr. Peter Rupert, a Professor of Economics at the University of California at Santa Barbara, who provided an expert outlook on inflation, recession, labor and a global overview. Dr. Rupert emphasized that he does not predict a recession in the near future, and that the U.S. is not currently experiencing a recession.  

One panel session focused on growth strategies revealed some effective tactics on navigating challenges and harnessing positive momentum, such as acquiring and retaining talent and creating more personalized experiences for customers to deliver more value as professionals pay more to attend events. 

Case studies delved into what went into the success of ProMat and the Chicago Auto Show, including tactics of using an integrated attendance-acquisition model and social media monitoring, and another session featured a discussion about Trifecta and NATDA’s journey from acquisition to alignment. The session Unleashing Event Tech covered how to use technology, like using facial recognition and AI, to enhance face-to-face events. 

Related. Trade Show Executive’s Fastest 50 Grand Award Winners Are Revealed Marking the Return of the Industry; Informa Markets Recognized for Exceptional Leadership 

Another panel focused on how trade show organizers can sustain the high growth many are experiencing, and how to take creativity to the next level for sponsorship and exhibitor sales. The panel also discussed how to maximize space when a show is growing, such as looking at creative spaces, including outdoor space and parking garages and lots, and encouraged show organizers to stay open-minded and keep trying out ideas to see what works best for the show’s audience. 

“Bringing our award-winning content to life on stage is an important aspect of our events,” TSE Vice President and Editor-in-Chief Gabrielle Weiss said. “The organizers of the Fastest 50 and Next 50 ranked shows are some of the most innovative and adaptable people in the industry. Here we focused on content to help put more jet fuel in their engines continue their upward climb.” 

The Industry’s Shining Stars 

The Fastest 50 and Next 50 Class of 2022 broke growth rate records for the Fastest 50 program. The Fastest 50 shows grew by an incredible 82.8% in exhibit space, 76.5% in exhibiting companies and 88.2% in total attendance. The Next 50 shows also reported high growth, with the group growing by 30% in exhibit space, 33.3% in exhibiting companies and 33.5% in total attendance.   

Altogether, the Fastest 50 and Next 50 shows spanned just over 20 million square feet, saw more than 66,000 exhibiting companies and attracted nearly 2 million attendees. Using the Events Industry Council formula of an average of $1,156 spent per attendee, the ranked shows generated a whopping $1.8 billion impact for the cities and regions they were held in. 

Attendees returned to the MBCC for the highly anticipated Fastest 50 gala reception and awards gala, where the Grand Award winners were revealed, and this year’s Trailblazers recognized on the main stage. Winners included World of Concrete, IMEX America, Public Works Expo and COTERIE New York, among many others. 

Earning the Outstanding COVID-19 Comeback and Industry Stewardship Award was Charlie McCurdy, Non-Executive Chairman, Informa Markets & Strategic Advisor, Informa PLC, Informa Markets; Ken McAvoy, President, South Florida Ventures & Executive Vice President Corporate Development, Informa Markets; and Nancy Walsh, President, Informa Markets, North America. The Rock Star Award was given to Lydia Janow, Senior Vice President Events, Aviation Week Network, for her excellence in trade show management. 

“The success of the TSE Fastest 50 and Next 50 shows in 2022 definitely teed up a bright future and a solid foundation for our industry that will be its underpinning for years to come,” said Weiss. “We felt strongly that it was important to recognize the talented leadership of Informa Markets in Charle, Nancy and Ken. Informa has the Lionshare of TSE ranked shows and led the charge to bring our industry safely and securely back to business.” 

Photos from the TSE Fastest 50 Awards & Summit, captured by Oscar & Associates, will be available on the TSE Fastest 50 website at a later date. 

Reach Gabrielle Weiss at (312) 493-7753 or 

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