January is all about getting pumped for the year ahead. If you’re an event professional, you might be considering an investment in self-education — while building your network within the industry.
To help you plan your year, we put together 2017’s top ten “must-attend” events for event organizers. There’s something for everybody — read on for the event that’s best for you.
MPI’s Experiential Event Series at SXSW
March 14-18, 2017 in Austin, Texas
If you organize live music events, are obsessed with technology, or just love to mingle, this is the conference for you. Hosted by the Professionals International (MPI) in partnership with SXSW, the Experiential Event Series gives event organizers a “behind-the-scenes spotlight on this world-renowned convergence of conferences, festivals, and expos and an introduction to its planners and producers.” You get to clock 20 hours of continuing education, gain an event certificate in conference production, and score a SXSW Platinum Badge as part of the package. This badge grants you admission to all official SXSW events, so you can soak up every aspect of the festival and network with tens of thousands of creative and event professionals.
Why you should go: The chance to meet — and party with — creative, innovative professionals.
BizBash Live 2017
May 4th in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; July 19th in Los Angeles; Fall 2017 in New York
Each year, thousands of event and meeting pros come together to collaborate, network, and get inspired at BizBash Live. You can choose between different packages to get access to a sprawling exhibit floor, workshop sessions, networking luncheons, and pre- and post-event parties. And with three prime locations around the country, you can choose the city and date that works best for you.
Why you should go: To mingle with fellow professionals from sought-after companies like AEG Live, Capital One, and Macy’s.
The Independent Planner Education Conference
March 19-22, 2017 in Colorado Springs, Colorado
If you’re ready to keep going after SXSW, go straight from Austin to Colorado Springs for IPEC 2017. This annual conference for independent event planners, hosted by Northstar Meeting Group’s leading brands, is held at the Broadmoor, a stunning upscale resort in the Rockies. The event is full of crucial information for event organizers — sessions this year include “How to Create Immersive Experiences for Maximum Impact” and “Building Your Personal Brand.” Attendance is by selection, and chosen participants get two productive days of pre-scheduled meetings with key U.S. suppliers.
Why you should go: You’ll enjoy the fresh air — and the insider advice.
PCMA Education Foundation Visionary Awards
May 3, 2017 in Washington D.C.
More than 1,000 event profs convene on Washington, D.C. every summer for the Professional Convention Management Association’s Visionary Awards, “celebrating inspirational leaders in business events.” It’s a red-carpet affair honoring winners in categories like “event designer of the year” and “meeting professional of the year.” The awards ceremony takes place at the swank Marriott Marquis on Massachusetts Avenue in the heart of the capital, walking distance from the free Smithsonian Museums.
Why you should go: It’s about time someone threw you an amazing event!
National Planning Conference
May 6-9, 2017 in New York City
The American Planning Association (APA) hosts this conference every year, bringing event professionals from all over the world to NYC. This is the place to find out about cutting-edge technology and event trends and hear from industry thought leaders. With hundreds of sessions and dozens of breakout workshops, this conference will help you dive deep into your specialty or dabble in something new. It’s also an excellent networking opportunity — the APA offers plenty of chances to mingle with meet-and-greets, luncheons, and mixers throughout the four-day event.
Why you should go: Networking in New York — need we say more?
June 2, 2017 in New York City
As a “live experiment pushing the boundaries of event experience,” Techsytalk LIVE is for the forward-thinking event organizer who wants to get way ahead of the technology curve. Techsytalk LIVE is an immersive, experiential event meant to push you out of your comfort zone. Attendees won’t be sitting in a hotel conference room watching a keynote speech. Instead, you’ll participate in an intense one-day event full of cutting-edge interactive experiences. You’ll come away with a much deeper knowledge of the future of event technology and how you can apply it to your own events.
Why you should go: Full immersion in a big, inspiring pool.
June 19-22, 2017 in Las Vegas, NV
The World Education Congress’s annual WEC convention in June is arguably the biggest “one-stop shop” for meeting planners and suppliers. With several invitation-only forums and receptions, attending WEC has cachet, helping boost careers and brands. This year’s keynote speaker hasn’t been announced yet, but previous years hosted authors and speakers such as Deepak Chopra, Simon Sinek, and Susan Cain.
Why you should go: You’ll learn to “think outside the ballroom.”
The Event Planner Expo 2017
October 4, 2017 in New York City
Short and sweet, the Event Planner Expo packs a lot of information and networking opportunities into a four-hour package. This is New York’s biggest showcase for event, conference, wedding, and party planning professionals. It’s as much about networking and making connections as it is about learning new things, so you can expect to rub elbows with the best of your industry at this high-profile afternoon affair at the Metropolitan Pavilion.
Why you should go: It’s an enormous bang for your buck.
October 10-12, 2017 in Las Vegas
This three-day trade show for international event and meeting planners hosts hundreds of exhibitor events and has won many prestigious awards in the industry. Their “hosted buyer program” is the largest in the country; the show also facilitates tens of thousands of appointments in advance, so you can make the most of your time on the ground. Last year, IMEX boasted 12,227 meetings, events, and incentive travel industry professionals, as well as a record 3,250 exhibiting companies. Best of all, attendees pay nothing to enter. It’s a great opportunity to see and be seen.
Why you should go: You’ll meet the full “who’s who” of the events world.
Northstar Meetings Leadership Forum
December 11-14, 2017 in Pebble Beach, California
An invite-only forum for leaders from all areas of the meetings industry, this event in tiny Pebble Beach is a high-level industry summit for an elite echelon. Whether you’re a supplier, planner, or media rep, Northstar offers opportunities to secure industry relationships and discover new prospects. It’s also a great chance to unwind and squeeze in some self-care during a busy holiday month. Aside from the obvious golfing opportunities, there are side trips scheduled to Monterey Bay Aquarium and tours on horseback. Plus, the food is guaranteed to be excellent.
Why you should go: You’ll establish yourself — and catch a few rounds of golf.
We hope to see you at one or two of these events this year. Go ahead, mark your calendar! And speaking of calendars, check out this Event Marketing Roadmap to plot your event’s 2017 promotional strategy week by week.