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SISO Update


21 Jan 2022

SISO Update

As we ring in the new year, many U.S. trade and consumer shows are going forward in this new environment as we move beyond the pandemic to endemic. Most Q1 shows are expected to perform better than 2021. In recent weeks, safe and successful events — such as the Surf Expo, CES, ASI Show and PPAI — have been held across the U.S. Earlier this week, top 100 trade shows such as World of Concrete, SHOT Show and NRF's Big Show were held in Las Vegas and New York.

SISO sends our deepest condolences to the family and colleagues of James Bracken

James Bracken

“I was lucky enough to get to know Jim when I first became involved in SISO, and he
really epitomized the entrepreneurial spirit of SISO,” said SISO CEO David Audrain. “Jim was
a highly respected industry leader and a pleasure to talk with. His contributions to SISO and
the exhibitions industry were significant, and he will be missed by the large number of people
who had the opportunity to get to know him.”

Read the full SISO release about Jim who served as SISO Chair in 2004.


SISO Activities

Case Studies 

Earlier this month, SISO published a white paper on FDIC International, produced by Clarion Events North America. As the Omicron variant is peaking in the U.S., it's important to remember last summer when the Delta variant was emerging in the U.S. Last August, Clarion safely and successfully produced FDIC International.

After postponing and eventually canceling in 2020 due to Covid, the 2021 event was planned for its typical dates in April but was postponed to August due to the pandemic. FDIC International opened Aug. 2 in Indianapolis as the Delta variant was beginning to surge. After not being able to gather as an industry in-person since April 2019, nearly 24,000 registered fire professionals attended FDIC, which drew 650 exhibitors covering 360,000 nsf in 2021.

SISO produced a video case study of MJBizCon, held Oct. 19-22 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The show attracted 27,000 attendees (more than 85% of 2019's 31,523 attendees) and 1,200+ exhibitors covering 250,000+ net square feet. Watch the video.

As you return to live events, we encourage you to check out the recent SISO White Papers on how SISO members have successfully produced events during the pandemic. Since October 2020, SISO has published 10 white papers and seven video interviews for members to use as a playbook for the return to live events.


Special Interest Groups

Small Business

In 2022, the SISO Small Business SIG will continue to hold open monthly roundtable discussions, which will take place at 11 a.m. ET on the fourth Tuesday of the month. Please email with any questions. Mark your calendars for these upcoming roundtables:

  • 11 a.m. ET on Tues., Jan. 25
  • 11 a.m. ET on Tues., Feb. 22
  • 1-5 p.m. ET on Mon., March 21, which will be held in-person at the SISO CEO Summit. A separate registration fee of $49, which includes lunch prior to the program, is required.


On Jan. 20, the SISO Marketing SIG hosted a webinar titled Creating Your Data Journey: What you need to consider with industry experts Marc Blumer, Customer Journey Architect, mdg, A Freeman Company, and Kieron Tarling, Group DPO - Clarion Events. The one-hour session provided insights on audience acquisition, outreach to known audiences and a peek into what is coming with cookies and privacy changes. Watch the video or view the presentation.

Consumer Show 

On Jan. 19, the SISO Consumer Show SIG hosted a webinar titled Reports from the Frontlines: Three B2C organizers share insights about producing public events during the pandemic. Executives from ReedPop, Fast Forward Events and MAD Event Management discussed what worked and what didn't when producing safe and successful B2C events in recent months. Get a behind-the-scenes view from leaders who have been there and done that for NYComicCon, San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival and Side Hustles & Opportunities Conference (SHO). Watch the video.

Human Resources 

Does your company have diversity goals? Are you looking for programs to help achieve those goals? Join our webinar to preview OneTen, an initiative to hire 1 million Black individuals over 10 years into family-sustaining American jobs. Find out more about this committed group of CEOs — from companies like Delta, AT&T and American Express — who are willing to change the human capital paradigm in the U.S. and to be accountable for their ongoing retention, development and advancement.

This session will take place at 1 p.m. ET on Wed., Jan. 26. Registration is free, but you must register to attend. Click here to register!

CEO Summit

Mark your calendar and plan to attend the SISO CEO Summit, scheduled for March 21-24, 2022, at the Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club in St. Petersburg, FL. Back by popular demand, Economist Anirban Basu will offer an updated outlook and forecast on Tues., March 22. If you haven't received your code for registration, please contact Anna Osnower.

Couldn't make the SISO CEO Summit in 2021? See the video wrap-up and hear what our attendees had to say.

Summer Conference

Mark your calendar and plan to attend the SISO Summer Conference, scheduled for Aug 9-11 at the Oklahoma City Convention Center in Oklahoma City.

Asia CEO Summit

Mark your calendar and plan to attend the Asia CEO Summit, which will be held Oct. 4-6 at the Fullerton Hotel in Singapore.

??????CTO Interview Series

In December, SISO hosted an executive webinar series, sponsored by JUNO. For-profit execs from Diversified Communications, Emerald, Tarsus Group, Clarion Events and RX Global shared how they are investing and strategizing for tech in 2022. In these 30-minute sessions, tech executives answered:

  • How is your organization handling data ownership when working with event tech companies? 
  • What's in your tech stack and what have you added recently?
  • Where is your organization investing in tech?
  • How are M&As on the tech vendor side impacting integration and implementation?
  • What's one of your top tech strategies for 2022?

Watch or listen to recordings of the CTO Interview Series. You'll also find key takeaways from each session.

On-demand Content

SISO has partnered with CLIPr to provide curated content from the 2021 SISO Summer Conference. Now showing: You can view content from four sessions, including:

  • Deeper Dive Live with Q&A Pandemic-Era Producers
  • Learnings From 21 Months of Managing Covid: An Epidemiologist's Tale
  • Innovation Showcase
  • Closing Session: Industry Advocacy

CLIPr uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to create searchable recorded meeting recaps and actionable insights enabling users to search, skim and find what they need to learn better and drive desired outcomes in a fraction of the time.

Select, watch, search and skim what matters most to you. View videos from the 2021 Summer Conference here.

Advocacy Alliances

Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance (ECA)

While the weather remains cold in most of the U.S., activity on some of ECA's top policy priorities is heating up. Here's the latest news from Washington, DC and state capitals across the country:

Music Under Severe Income Crisis (MUSIC) Act 

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators continues to work on a comprehensive relief package for small businesses disproportionately impacted by the ongoing pandemic. This legislation would include support for multiple hard-hit industries (restaurants, community gyms, etc.), as well as incorporate the ECA-supported MUSIC Act, which includes a grant program for certain small businesses in the convention and trade show industry.

ECA continues to strongly advocate for the MUSIC Act on Capitol Hill. While the timeframe for consideration of this legislation is unclear, proponents are pushing for action as early as mid-February, which would coincide with the deadline for passing a new bill to fund the federal government.

International travel 

On Jan. 1, the Biden administration lifted the travel ban for foreign nationals recently present in eight Southern African countries. At this time, no further country/region-specific travel bans are anticipated. In addition, the U.S. State Department recently agreed to allow consular offices to waive in-person interview requirements for certain work and student visas through the end of 2022. It's expected this will marginally improve current visa interview wait times though ECA continues to urge the State Department to prioritize the urgent restoration of visa interview and processing operations at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world.

State digital advertising tax legislation 

With state legislatures ramping up their 2022 sessions, new digital advertising tax bills have already been filed in Massachusetts, Wyoming and Nebraska. These bills would establish a new tax for online platforms (e.g., Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, et al.) that derive revenue from accepting digital ads. ECA will continue to work with the Advertising Tax Coalition to oppose all new state digital advertising tax legislation as these taxes would be passed down in the form of increased costs to show organizers and others who place digital ads for their events.

ECA support

We continue to solicit further financial support from SISO members to underwrite SISO's $250,000 annual commitment to the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance. In 2021, we secured $162,500 from 13 SISO member companies. Thanks to these SISO members for their generous contributions:

Access Intelligence LLC
Clarion Events
Diversified Communications
Emerald Holding Inc
Gardner Business Media Inc
IMEX America Ltd
Informa Markets
International Market Centers
Marijuana Business Daily
Northstar Travel Media LLC
RX Global
Tarsus Group

If you are able to support this essential advocacy effort, please contact David Audrain.

Events Industry Council (EIC)

The newly launched Global Business Events Barometer from EIC has found a significant upswing in global group demand during Q3 2021, while overall business meetings and events activity has recovered to approximately half of pre-pandemic levels. During Q3 2021, the barometer indicates RFP activity rose 124.4%, and hotel group room nights increased 68.8% compared to the same period in 2020. In addition, 57% of companies reported conducting domestic business travel, more than twice as 2020. International travel is also improving, with one in five companies continuing or resuming international travel, three times as many as a year ago.

The report has been supported and sponsored by several leading organizations, including AHLA, ASAE, Freeman, IACC, IAEE, Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, Maritz Global Events, Meetings Mean Business, MGM Resorts International, MPI, Northstar Meetings Group, NYC and Co, PCMA, RCMA, SISO and USTA. A copy of the Global Business Events Barometer can be downloaded here.

Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC)

JMIC hosts the Net Zero Carbon Events Initiative. The pledge was officially launched at the COP26 meeting on Nov. 10 in Glasgow. To date, 296 supporters, including 185 signatories, have signed the pledge.

U.S. Travel

U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued a statement to recognize CTA President Gary Shapiro and the CTA team for the safe commencement of CES. “By staging an influential live event that safely convenes thousands of global professionals across the technology, business and political spectrum, CES is nothing short of a model for how business trade events can and should take place in 2022. It is our sincere hope that other professional event organizers will follow their lead this year.” Read the full statement.

Moving Forward Updates

According to the CDC's data, as of Jan. 18, a total of 209.0 million Americans, or 62.9% of the U.S. population, had been fully vaccinated. In total, 248.7 million Americans have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, or 74.9% of the U.S. population. Worldwide, 9.75 billion doses have been administered across 184 countries, as of Jan. 18, according to Bloomberg. In addition to the encouraging news on vaccine rollout and boosters, we're happy to share a few links of recent news and positive moves for our industry.



  • “Without a doubt the most valuable three days of the year for networking, learning, and meeting colleagues.”
    Tony Calanca, Calanca & Associates LLC
  • “Two of the best acquisitions Access Intelligence had executed came directly from contacts and discussions held at the SISO CEO Summit. Beyond that important networking for transactions, I learn best practices from the best in the industry. The ROI for membership is immeasurable.”
    Don Pazour, CEO, Access Intelligence
  • “The impact of SISO is so much bigger than its size. It feels more like a global council of important tribes than a traditional trade association.”
    David Adler, CEO & Founder, Bizbash Media
  • “Our industry thrives on the personal relationships that face-to-face builds, and the CEO Summit is the ultimate place to build YOUR network!”
    Tom Mitchell, President, Messe Dusseldorf North America
  • “As busy, independent, for-profit organizer, SISO keeps our company connected to all the key players working in this industry and allows great relationships and ongoing learning of best practices from the best in the business. All invaluable assets to help move our business forward."
    Howard Hauben, CEO, H2 Events
  • “The SISO membership represents the entire for-profit tradeshow community and the annual SISO conferences are must-attend events for their educational and networking value.”
    Joel A. Davis, Founder & CEO, JD Events
  • Being a member of SISO has allowed me to navigate the dynamic landscape of our industry in the most effective way possible. Personally, it’s been a journey of continuous learning, networking, and collaboration that fosters deep relationships with industry leaders. Professionally, the insights I’ve gained, the resources I have accessed, and the collaborative initiatives and advocacy work have helped to take my organization to new heights. SISO, to me, is an indispensable asset for my career and business.
    Liz Irving, President, Clarion Events