This Just In

TSE Celebrates Trade Show Organizers at CEIR Predict

Sue Pelletier, Senior Editor
Receiving the special TSE award for innovative collaboration (left to right): Greg Topalian and Desiree Hanson, Clarion, with Gabrielle Weiss, TSE; Carrie Ferenac, CNTV and CEIR Board Chairperson; and Cathy Breden, CEIR.

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Extraordinary times call for extraordinary efforts, and trade show organizers stepped it up in a big way as they pivoted to virtual, found new ways to collaborate, and discovered ways to engage attendees and deliver for customers online throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trade Show Executive editors along with the research team, identified organizers who went above and beyond and honored them at CEIR Predict Conference.

The winners were invited to the stage to receive their awards, designed by 4imprint, at the end of the first day of the CEIR Predict conference, held Sept. 13–14 at MGM National Harbor in National Harbor, Md.

Because much of what TSE does hinges on research — TSE was a founding sponsor of the CEIR Index — TSE had the data to identify outstanding trade show accomplishments.

Related. TSE Q2 Dashboard Report: Slow Pandemic Reopening Continues to Impact the Business

“When CEIR approached us about creating special awards leading up to the CEIR Predict conference, we were enthusiastic about having an opportunity to celebrate industry leaders — it’s one of our favorite things to do!” Gabrielle Weiss, Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of TSE, said. “We thought it was a great idea and wonderful way to join CEIR in celebrating industry leaders, innovation and align with CEIR on our love of industry data.”

TSE and CEIR quickly decided to move forward with plans to celebrate organizers who have demonstrated innovation during the pandemic. To create the awards and identify winners, TSE scoured its TSE Dashboard and proprietary databank to identify shows that exhibited a spirit of innovation, were able to pivot and deliver for clients, and used collaboration and unity to best serve its constituents and help move the industry forward.

“While we may not be able to predict the course of COVID-19 or the delta variant, we most certainly can predict that the talent in our industry, the resilience of the remarkable organizers, and the entrepreneurial spirit of these leaders will prevail,” Rick Simon, President and CEO, United Service Companies, TSE’s parent organization, said. “We saw this an opportunity to recognize and celebrate some of those who are leading and innovating their way through the pandemic at this year’s CEIR event.”

And the Awards Went to…

PPAI’s Ellen Tucker (second from left) and Bob Mclean (second from right) receiving the Pivot to Virtual Award, with Gabrielle Weiss, TSE; Carrie Ferenac, CNTV and CEIR Board Chairperson; and Cathy Breden, CEIR
  • The Impressive Pivot to Virtual Award went to the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) for its PPAI Expo Direct-2-You. The four-day show, held in January 2021, hosted 495 virtual booths and 10,753 distributor attendees and 6,355 unique visitors. What made this virtual show so impressive was how PPAI created virtual pop-up experiences to break up the day with cooking demonstrations, yoga sessions, pet pop-ups, live caricature artist drawing sessions, a coffee with comedian activity, an interactive game show and dueling piano bar experiences. PPAI also hosted an awards night, an after-hours, on-demand education and product pavilion for continued viewing when the show floor was closed. It also held pre-show exhibitor and attendee training sessions, so all were ready to navigate the show platform and do business, and delivered product sample boxes during the show to attendees who purchased them.
  • The Outstanding Digital Engagement Award went to the American Pet Products Association (APPA) and the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA) for the Global Pet Expo Digital Access show, held in March 2021. Buyers and 282 exhibiting companies from more than 80 countries flocked to the digital show; the 7,282 total attendees made 34,000 connections, according to TSE data. Buyers made more than 140,000 visits to exhibitor profiles and product showrooms. A new twist for this digital event was that the 42 education sessions were available for all attendees to access, resulting in over 5,000 session views.

“On behalf of the APPA team, I was delighted to accept the Trade Show Executive 2021 Outstanding Digital Engagement award,” Steven King, CAE, President and CEO of APPA, said. “As with so many organizations, APPA had to pivot from a live event to digital this year. Our amazing team did an outstanding job creating a digital event from scratch in just a few months. We had pet care community participants from around the globe and higher attendance at our educational sessions than ever before. Thank you for this recognition.”

Related. Three Top Trade Show Organizers Fashion a New Collaboration in Orlando

  • The Innovative Collaboration Award went to a collaborative effort between Informa Markets, Clarion Events and the Tarsus Group, which co-located their MAGIC Pop Up Orlando, WWNI Orlando Showcase, and OFFPRICE shows at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando last February. Usually competitors, the three trade show organizers pulled together to create an opportunity for fashion retail buyers to participate in all three of these top shows at one place and time during the unusual stresses the pandemic has placed on that industry.
Steven King, APPA, receiving the TSE Award for Outstanding Digital Engagement, with Carrie Ferenac, CNTV and CEIR Board Chairperson; Cathy Breden, CEIR; and Gabrielle Weiss, TSE

“It’s more important than ever for key events players to unite and work together to deliver on the needs of our brands and buyers in the safest, most thoughtful, and effective manner,” Kelly Helfman, Commercial President of Informa Markets Fashion, told TSE at the time. In addition to adhering to AllSecure guidelines, the collaboration was the first U.S. trade show to offer COVID-19 testing at the event.

“On behalf of CEIR, congratulations to the Promotional Products Association International for their PPAI Expo Direct-2-You; the American Pet Products Association for their Global Pet Expo Digital Access; and the collaboration by Informa Markets, Clarion Events and the Tarsus Group,” Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE, CEM, CEO of CEIR, said.

Reach Gabrielle Weiss at (312) 493-7753 or; Rick Simon at (312) 922-8558 or; Steven King at (203) 532-3654 or; and Cathy Breden at (972) 687-9201 or

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