U.S. Industry Associations to Hold Best-Practices Summit this Fall

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Dallas, TX – The leading U.S. exhibition industry associations will convene in the Fall for a groundbreaking summit to develop a broad set of best practices for trade shows. An October date is being considered for the 1 1/2-day summit, which will be hosted by the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO), the Exhibition Services and Contractors Association (ESCA), and ASAE, the Center for Association Leadership.

A site for the meeting, dubbed the All-Exhibition Industry Summit, was not immediately announced.

Along with the four lead associations, two elected leaders from several other industry and exhibitor organizations will be invited to take part in what is being called the first gathering of such a broad range of stakeholders in the trade show industry. An independent professional facilitator will be retained to help guide the proceedings.

“We need to put our brains together to come up with guidelines to streamline our operations and ease the many processes that guide the work of our industry,” said John Graham, president and CEO of ASAE.

The summit comes on the back end of an economic downturn that has left behind an exhibitor pool that is demanding more in terms of ROI and experience, while at the same time clamping down on their own exhibition spending.

“The stresses of the Great Recession and the anemic economic recovery make it essential for all segments of the exhibition industry to consider how we might adapt ourselves and our industry to the new realities that lie ahead,” said SISO Chairman Sean Guerre. “The pressures to do our business efficiently have never been greater.”

Chuck Grouzard, president of ESCA, said different industry segments and associations have been focused on best practices in their own sectors; however they are adding up to a “piecemeal” approach. “The fact remains there are too many troublesome issues that demand a common and agreed-to set of understandings,” he said. “We believe it is now time for the entire industry to come together.”

The All-Exhibition Industry Summit will provide such a forum for discussions on the specific interests of the different players and areas of compromise. “If all of the organizations in our industry set aside our respective organizational egos and devote our full attention to crafting real solutions that will withstand time and further economic stress, we will have contributed something very important to our members and the customers that they all serve,” said IAEE Chairman Vinnie Polito.

Among the organizations that will be invited to participate in the summit meeting are the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR); the Corporate Event Marketers Association (CEMA); the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI);  the Exhibitor Appointed Contractors Association (EACA); the Exhibit Designers and Producers Association (EDPA); the Healthcare Exhibitors Association (HCEA); the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM); the International Center for Exhibitor and Event Marketing (ICEEM); the International Exhibition Logistics Associates (IELA); the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA); and the Trade Show Exhibitors Association (TSEA); and organized labor involved in the industry.

Reach Vinnie Polito at (203) 500-1586 or vpolito@vpelevae.com; Sean Guerre at (832) 242-1969 or sguerre@accessintel.com; John Graham at (202) 626-2741 or jgraham@asaecenter.org; Chuck Grouzard at (773) 284-5240 or cgrouzard@ges.com