11 of My Favorite Things at IAEE’s Expo!Expo! 2023

December 12, 2023

Danica Tormohlen

Danica Tormohlen, an award-winning journalist who has covered the trade show industry for more than 25 years, serves as VP of Content for Tarsus, publisher of TSNN, ENN and Corporate Event News. Connect with and follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

With 1,850+ industry professionals (pending verified audit) and 241 exhibitors spanning 35,500 net square feet of paid exhibit space at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) Expo! Expo! Annual Meeting & Exhibition offered so much to do and see over the course of three days in Texas. Nearly every year in early December for the past 25+ years (except when I was pregnant or had newborns), I have attended “The Show for Shows.” In fact, it was the first industry trade show I ever attended.

In 2023, I worked a shift each day in our TSNN booth, and I thought we had one of the nicest and coolest giveaways on the show floor. Thank you to all who stopped by our booth to say hello or introduce themselves to our team! Congratulations to RX Global Event Director - INTERPHEX Doug Lugo, who won our drawing for a pair of the latest wireless Beats headphones. We had dozens of industry professionals subscribe to our newsletters, Trade Show Talk podcast and social channels on LinkedIn, X, Facebook and YouTube. For us, the lead gen, branding and new connections and reconnections from the event were worth the investment. 

While I did not attend every party, stop at every booth or sit in every education session, I took in as much as I could. Here are a few of my favorite things from Expo!Expo! 2023.

Best hotel: Omni Hotel Dallas, which is connected via skybridge to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas. So convenient!


Omni Hotel Dallas features 1,001 hotel rooms connected via skybridge to the convention center.

Best meetup: Women in Exhibitions Network (WIEN) North America, hosted and sponsored by Expo Convention Contractors Inc. What an incredible turnout! Full disclosure: I serve on the WIEN executive committee.

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Best party: Boots & Bling at Gilley’s Dallas by Visit Dallas and The Expo Group. Held at the quintessential Texas venue, the event featured country music star Josh Turner, and attendees lined up to get cowboy hats they could customize with feathers, bling and more.

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Best workout: Wake-up wellness with Maritz. I miss the 5K, but the workout with Cowboys Fit kicked my butt. I miss my friend Terrence Donnelly so I showed up to remember him and support the CEIR Foundation.



Wake-up wellness with Maritz at 6:15 a.m. on Dec. 6 at the Omni 

Best booth giveaway (besides ours): Cowboy hats at Superior Expo Services. They were so popular they were gone by the end of the first day. 

Best interactive activation: Luggage tags by OVG. Attendees lined up to personalize their OVG-branded leather luggage tags.



IAEE attendees could make personalized luggage tags, sponsored by OVG.

Best food: Dinner at Freeman’s event at Texas Spice at the Omni

Bwillworkest coffee and chocolate: Willwork Global Event Services

Best attendee gift: Holiday ornament from Visit Orlando. The hand-blown glass ornament was created by the Arribas Brothers, a 100-year-old family business with stores in Orlando. 

Best new tech: Maritz’s partnership with CLEAR for secure, verified contactless registration (stay tuned for our story and Q&A with the Maritz and CLEAR team from the show floor)

Best send-off: The Exhibition Services and Contractors Association (ESCA) Winter Celebration and Awards honored Executive Director Larry Arnaudet, who is retiring on Dec. 31 after more than five decades in the industry. Enjoyed the memorable toasts, roasts and stories shared by industry leaders. Plus, I was in the room where it happened ... Larry performing on the stage at the House of Blues Dallas.

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What were your favorites? What did I miss? Please share!


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