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SISO Update


19 Feb 2021

SISO Update

As we head into the last full week in February, the trade show industry has much to celebrate as governments across the U.S. begin to relax restrictions for gatherings. Last week, Informa Markets, Clarion Events North America, and Tarsus Group collaborated to offer the first large-scale rapid COVID-19 testing roll-out in the U.S. for B2B events. Held Feb. 9-11, MAGIC Pop Up Orlando, WWIN Orlando Showcase, and OFFPRICE required a negative COVID-19 test for all attendees, exhibitors, staff, contractors, and union labor. Stay tuned for more from SISO on how the show management teams and their partners were able to pull it off.


SISO Activities


The SISO CEO Summit will go forward as scheduled April 12-15 at The Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, FL. The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island is a perfect location for the Summit this year, as it has more than enough meeting space to facilitate our event in a well-spaced safe environment, with substantial outdoor space (and great weather) for the meals and social functions. Our event will be the only one on the property, and the hotel is giving us complete and exclusive use of the entire meeting space. The hotel is also less than 30 minutes from the Jacksonville, FL, airport with a wide range of flight destinations and many connections to Miami and Atlanta hub airports.

We will be implementing multiple safety protocols and processes, including:

  • Masks will be mandatory except when eating.
  • Social distancing and spaced seating will be implemented.
  • Advanced testing options will be provided to all attendees prior to travel.
  • On-site rapid testing will be required on arrival.
  • All relevant local health department safety guidelines will be adhered to.
The event is open to qualified senior-level executives at a SISO Member Company. Anyone who rolled over registration from last year's canceled event should have already received a confirmation of your new registration. Those who have not yet registered will receive a follow-up email soon with your unique invitation code and registration link. Once you are registered, you will have access to the limited room block at The Ritz-Carlton. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Anna Osnower at 
+1 (678) 567-6465 or


SISO supports the launch of the Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance (ECA), which will represent the business events industry under a unified voice. With the formation of ECA, the advocacy group will champion the common interests of U.S. exhibitions and conferences with legislators. “Through lessons learned with Go LIVE Together, Exhibitions Mean Business, and other efforts, we know that advocacy is an ongoing process, and not one that can be easily impacted by jumping in only when there is a crisis,” said David Audrain, SISO Executive Director, and ECA Co-President. Also representing SISO on the ECA board are Douglas Emslie, CEO of Tarsus Group; Hervé Sedky, CEO of EmeraldX; Nancy Walsh, President, Americas of Informa Markets; and Yancy Weinrich CGO, Americas of Reed Exhibitions. Read the full press release here.

Case Studies 

Earlier this week, SISO/UFI published a Case Study on Surf Expo, held Jan. 6-8 in Orlando. The second show produced by Emerald since the pandemic, Surf Expo was the first major B2B event on the calendar in 2021. To help members understand the full picture of how the show was held safely and successfully, SISO and UFI take a deeper dive by including perspectives from Emerald's executive management team, including President and CEO Hervé Sedky, COO Brian Field, and CFO David Doft, as well as the show management team, attendees, exhibitors, and suppliers on their show experience.

We encourage you to check out the recent SISO/UFI White Papers on how SISO members have successfully produced events during the pandemic. Since October, SISO has published three case studies for members to use as a playbook for how others are forging ahead during these uncertain times.
  • Case Study on IGES & SMGS: An inside look at two gift shows — one by Emerald and one by Clarion — that were held in-person in November in Tennessee.
  •  Case Study on Connect Marketplace: What do event planners want more than anything in 2020? To meet in person. While that has largely been unfeasible due to COVID-19, one independent show organizer, Tarsus Group, found a way to produce a hybrid hosted buyer program and trade show in October in the U.S.
  •  Case Study on Super Pet Expo: How All Show Services Produced a B2C Show Safely and Successfully in Virginia.



David Audrain, SISO Executive Director and CEO/Partner of ExpoDevCo, discussed working together to recover and rebuild the event industry during a podcast for large-scale event professionals. In this episode of In Case Of An Event by Hayley Haggarty, Audrain talks about how event competitors and associations are working together to keep the event industry on track to rebuild after the pandemic and what we should do to host safe and successful live events now.

Panel Discussion

David Audrain, SISO Executive Director and CEO/Partner of ExpoDevCo, will participate in a panel during the Evolve 2.0, a digital event produced by Swapcard. The panel, titled “Exhibitions & Trade Shows: Three Leading Voices on How 2020 Affected Their Sector & How They Plan on Tackling 2021 and Beyond, will also feature Kai Hattendorf, Managing Director & CEO, UFI, and Barbara Weizsaecker, Secretary General, European Exhibition Industry Alliance. With compelling data from their members, the association leaders will be sharing what happened to exhibitions in 2020 and what they are looking forward to in 2021. The panel will be held 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m., EST (US) on Thursday, Feb. 25. Click here for a complimentary registration to the three-day event, which will be held Feb. 23-25.


Join SISO for a 24-hour Vodcast Marathon on Wednesday, March 3. Produced by Dan Assor, the vodcast will raise awareness and donations for EventWell, which provides vital, immediate support to any event professional experiencing personal and financial hardship and is open to anyone working in creative communications, experiential marketing, live and business events, exhibition, hospitality, and travel in the United Kingdom (UK) and North America (US and Canada), in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Visit the LinkedIn event page and register to attend. You can also donate here.

Trade Show & Exhibitions Professional Dan Assor hosts topical discussions with event, exhibition, and business professionals on The Dan Assor Podcast, In Conversation With, which is sponsored by SISO. Members can subscribe to The Dan Assor Podcast from any of these channels: YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Spotify, Apple, and Twitter.

All Secure Guidelines 2.0

In case you missed it, SISO published the updated All Secure Guidelines, a best-practice guide for industry colleagues who are responsible for organizing and delivering organized industry events, trade shows, and exhibitions of all sizes, in all locations. The new guidelines were published in January after much collaboration with key stakeholders, industry leaders, and health experts over the last several months.

The guidelines in this document are based on information currently available regarding the behavior and characteristics of the Coronavirus, the status of testing capacity, where we are in terms of vaccine availability, and local or state guidelines with respect to large gatherings in any particular community. As more clarity with respect to these variables emerges, it is expected that these guidelines may need to be adjusted accordingly.

This document outlines What measures show organizers are taking to ensure the health and safety of all visitors, exhibitors, contractors, and staff particularly in response to COVID-19, How these measures are being implemented, andWhy it's an important component of the industry's All Secure Guidelines.

Special Interest Groups

Small Business

The SISO Small Business SIG has been holding open monthly roundtable discussions. Discussions take place at 11 a.m. EST on Tuesdays, except for the April session*. Additional dates will be added moving ahead. Mark your calendar and plan to join the sessions: Pre-registration is not required for the online Small Business SIG discussions. A reminder with connection details will be shared in advance of the sessions with the entire Small Business SIG community. Email with any questions.

  • 11 a.m. EST on Tuesday, March 9
  • *Monday, April 12 - This session will take place live and in-person at the SISO CEO Summit at The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island in Florida.

Pre-registration is not required for the online Small Business SIG discussions. A reminder with connection details will be shared in advance of the sessions with the entire Small Business SIG community. Email with any questions.


SISO partners with Virtual Events Institute to offer discounted training. VEI will provide a 50% discount to SISO members for its online education platform dealing with all aspects relating to the production, promotion, and monetization of online and hybrid events.

To receive the special SISO discount for these online education sessions, please register using this link

For additional information contact Peter Orford,


Moving Forward Updates

With a new administration in place in the U.S., two vaccines are now available, and a second stimulus package offering help for businesses struggling to stay profitable amid an ongoing pandemic, 2021 is looking brighter every day. We continue to be encouraged by the news that more SISO members are planning for a return to in-person events in the second half of 2021. We applaud the widespread vaccine distribution at a number of convention centers across the U.S., and we're happy to share a few links of recent news and positive moves for our industry.

– Government Relations and Advocacy Leader Tommy Goodwin Joins New Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance (ECA) as VP of Government Affairs (2/18)

– 2021 Industry Outlook One Year Post-COVID: A Roundtable with Hospitality Association CEOs. Speakers included Cecil P. Staton, President & CEO, AAHOA; Roger Dow, President & CEO, US Travel Association; Chip Rogers, President & CEO, AHLA. Click here to register and view the recorded webinar. (2/18)

– Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced reopening plans, LVCVA provided details and highlights of Nevada Guidance for Safe Gatherings and Large Gathering Venue COVID-19 Preparedness & Safety Plan: Submission Guide (2/16)

– New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that large venues would reopen in limited capacity on Feb. 23. Ticket holders who provide a negative PCR test within 72 hours of an event will be able to attend events at arenas and stadiums with a capacity of more than 10,000 people, although event capacity will be kept at 10%. (2/11)

– Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) offered its annual BTI™ Outlook with a focus on Europe (2/16)

– CDC is not recommending a requirement of negative COVID tests for domestic flights (2/12)

– Where can U.S. citizens travel internationally? Here's a list from New York Times. (2/13)

– IMC makes progress toward recovery with first Atlanta Market of 2021 by TSNN (2/3)

– PRYSM Group to launch 11 new shows, open 16 new offices by Exhibition World (2/3)

– CDC offers COVID-19 vaccine information and tracker (updated daily)

– Bloomberg provides global vaccine tracker (updated daily)


Coalition Updates

Go LIVE Together

As a direct result of our ability to demonstrate the economic impact of the exhibitions and conferences ecosystem, combines with the personal appeals of those directly impacted by the shutdown of our livelihood—like the story of Access TCA as covered in the Boston Globe—we're gaining more support from local, state, and federal legislators. We are making change.

Take a look at all that we've been able to accomplish so far, with your support. But much work remains to be done. This is why we need you, and our industry at large, to take every opportunity to bring awareness to business events. Take these 5-steps to make your voice heard today!

COVID Relief Now Coalition

Watch the Coalition's ad. Share it with your network and please amplify the message and continue to tell congress that Economic relief cannot wait.

SISO and GLT are members and strong supporters of the COVID Relief Now Coalition. Download resources from the toolkit to support the Coalition's efforts messages.

Meetings Mean Business Coalition

???Meetings Mean Business Coalition (MMBC) is planning ahead for Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID), which is set to take place Thursday, April 8.

The current landscape for meetings and events is one of the most challenging in our history. Even so, industry professionals rise to the occasion time and time again – from GMID 2020, where event planners in all regions swiftly pivoted to virtual; to today, where business and destinations are holding safe in-person events and embracing the hybrid model, as necessary. Following this positive trajectory, we are hopeful that we will see the same success during GMID celebrations in 2021.

We look forward to coming together on April 8 in all settings, stronger and more united than ever, to demonstrate the unwavering value of our industry with leaders in business, government, and the media. Showcasing our industry's value has never been more important – particularly at the state and local levels. Click here to read the full press release.

Anticipating that protocols for hosting safe in-person events may continue to shift and vary by location, MMBC urges all GMID event hosts to continue basing their planning decisions on information from local public health authorities, continuing to embrace hybrid and virtual events as mandated. Industry professionals based in the U.S. should also refer to MMBC's online reopening tracker – updated regularly with the latest state-by-state requirements.

Last but certainly not least, we're pleased to introduce the 2021 GMID theme, Meet Safe, complemented by the launch of – a platform created in partnership with Simpleview to showcase the many safe meetings and events taking place across the U.S. We welcome and encourage all industry professionals to submit their stories in the days and months ahead.

National Travel & Tourism Week 2021

?????National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) is an annual tradition for the U.S. travel community. It's a time when travel and tourism professionals across the country unite to celebrate the value travel holds for our economy, businesses, and personal well-being. Save the dates for May 2-8. View the recap of the NTTW 2020 here. Stay tuned for more details and an updated toolkit for 2021.

Let's Go There

View their latest videos. Make use of the toolkit resources available or make a financial contribution. Contact to learn more. Resources Guidance and updates on COVID-19 remain available on our site.



Guidance and updates on COVID-19 remain available on our site.



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  • “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