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SISO Update


15 Jan 2021

SISO Update

Happy New Year from your friends at SISO! After closing the calendar year on the most challenging in the industry's history, there is much to be hopeful for in 2021. Last week, one of the first major B2B events, Surf Expo, owned by SISO member Emerald, was successfully produced in Orlando. As we look ahead, plans are currently underway for the first-ever collaboration by three major trade show producers, including Informa Markets, Clarion Events North America and Tarsus Group. We are looking forward to bringing you the details behind the February launch of MAGIC Pop Up Orlando, WWIN Orlando Showcase and OFFPRICE. Stay tuned.

Wishing you and yours a prosperous and healthy new year!

SISO sends our deepest condolences to the family and colleagues of Sheldon Adelson 

“Sheldon Adelson was a true legend in the exhibition industry. He built one of the major exhibition brands in technology and the Sands Convention Center that not only revolutionized the resort, casino and exhibition markets in Las Vegas but also in Macau and Singapore. He was a major personality, a showman but most of all a one-of-a-kind entrepreneur,” said Douglas Emslie, SISO Chair.

Read more about Adelson who was awarded the Krakoff Award in 2014: (1/12)


SISO Activities

Case Studies

As the year begins, 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 a playbook for how others are forging ahead during these uncertain times.

Last week, SISO published a 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. 

In late December, SISO published a 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. 

In case you missed it in October, SISO published a Case Study on Super Pet Expo: How All Show Services Produced a B2C Show Safely and Successfully in Virginia.

SISO Webinars

Did you miss our interview with Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave? Watch previous episodes online to find out more about how he took the massive
in-person event online in 2020. You will also find webinars on women's leadership, global business travel and consumer confidence, and restarting events after COVID-19. Content for new webinars is currently being planned. Stay tuned for announcements.

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:

•   11 a.m. EST on Tuesday, Feb. 9

•   11 a.m. EST on Tuesday, Mar. 9

•    *Monday, Apr. 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. 

Consumer Show Organizers

SISO will offer a roundtable on how the B2C experience is changing the B2B landscape. When we look at B2B shows, the B part is being disintermediated as so many products are now available direct to the consumer. As event producers, we have to change how we position and market these events. Join us for an open and collaborative discussion about ways to redirect and
re-energize your shows. Mark your calendar for:

•   12-1 p.m. EST on Thursday, Jan. 21

Pre-registration is not required. A reminder with connection details will be shared in advance of the session to the Consumer Show Organizer 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.


Catch up on recent podcast interviews with SISO Executive Director David Audrain and SISO Chair Douglas Emslie. Trade Show & Exhibitions Professional Dan Assor hosts topical discussions with event, exhibition, and business professionals on the The Dan Assor Podcast, In Conversation With, which is sponsored by SISO. Click on the links below to watch or listen.

– In Conversation With, David Audrain, CEO of ExpoDevCo (11/20)

– In Conversation With, Douglas Emslie, CEO of Tarsus Group Hear his optimism about “a path back to live,” his passion for the industry and more. (11/20)

SISO members can subscribe to The Dan Assor Podcast from any of these channels:

•    You Tube
•    Facebook
•    LinkedIn
•    Spotify
•    Apple


Moving Forward Updates

We are encouraged by the distribution and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. and around the globe. We recognize it will take some time to vaccinate our exhibitors, attendees and staff, but it's a critical step forward for our industry and the return of in-person events. As we anxiously await widespread vaccine distribution and enhanced testing in 2021, we're happy to share a few links of recent news and positive moves for our industry. 

•    CEIR released the first report in a three-part series, Global Virtual Event Trends SeriesReport One – Anatomy of Virtual Events and Financial Outcomes details extensive baseline data on the elements that are typically included in a virtual event, as well as performance outcomes regarding participation and financial data. (1/12)

•    USTA gives an update of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and ?features links to resources for small businesses and DMOs (1/12)

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

•    Bloomberg provides global vaccine tracker (updated daily)

•    USTA highlights COVID-19 relief programs that impact the industry

•    A number of new venues, hotels, airports, stadiums, and transportation organizations have recently received GBAC Star Accreditation. Here is a link to the complete directory:

•    BizBash provides 15 Tech Tools That Can Help Bring Back Live Events(11/11)


Coalition Updates

Go LIVE Together

As we await the swearing-in of the next Congress, SISO, in partnership with Go LIVE Together, will proceed to raise our industry's profile through the continued support of legislative provisions that ease the monetary burden of increased expenses and ensure safety, legislation that offers event cancellation insurance and tax credits that encourage event participation among small businesses, the backbone of our industry. If you'd like to brush up on the Go LIVE Together legislative priorities, you can find the details here.

GLT continues to highlight the impact of business events on local economies through a video series, releasing the latest installment highlighting how NRF: Retail's Big Show contributes $50 million to the New York economy. Check it out here (and feel free to share).

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

The Meetings Mean Business Coalition and Let's Meet There continues to focus on industry recovery and moving forward together. The coalition has launched its Meet Safe platform, developed in partnership with Simpleview. The platform is designed to showcase that with the proper adherence to state and city gathering limits and health and safety best practices, in-person and hybrid meetings and events can take place now and into the future.

Event hosts, hotels and venue operators, planners, destination marketing professionals and suppliers can submit detailed information about their
in-person or hybrid event, which will be showcased on this page. This resource will help planners, future meeting hosts and attendees learn best practices for meetings and events and ultimately showcase how professional meetings and events are organized responsibly with health and safety top-of-mind. 

The goal is to use this platform to advocate on behalf of meetings and business events in several ways:

1.  Show companies that meetings are taking place and doing so safely by showcasing a multitude of examples. 

2.  Use this tool with our elected officials to prove that business meetings and events should not be classified as a generic “gathering.” The end game is to ease the restrictions and limitations to meetings and business events across the U.S.

It is important for the coalition to gather as many examples as possible across the U.S. Please share examples if you have produced an event. Go to this page to find out the details. Check out the best practices for submissions here and reach out to Caroline Campbell with any questions. 

Let's Go There

The Let's Go There campaign aims to inspire Americans to make 2021 the year of vacation planning. 63% of Americans agree they desperately need a vacation, yet American workers on average let 33% of their paid time off go unused last year. Join the Let's Go There Coalition on Tuesday, Jan. 26, for the National #PlanForVacation Day and encourage Americans to start planning their vacation time for the year ahead. 

View their latest videos. Make use of toolkit resources available, or make a financial contribution. Contact to learn more.


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


Join your community online via SISO's social channels. Are you a member? Engage in our online member forum. Would you like to get more involved, or do you have a question about SISO? Email


Many thanks to our members for taking the time to participate in surveys, webinars, online forums, special interest groups, white papers, and committees. Sharing your experience with your peers is critical during these times when we have not been able to meet in person. We are grateful for your support.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay strong. Stay connected.




  • “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