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7 of the Top Event Planning Conferences in 2021

To put it simply, 2020 was a rough year for just about everyone, including those in the hospitality and events industry. Many event planning conferences were canceled or postponed, and most of those that weren’t took place virtually. While 2021 may still look a little different than normal, expect to see many conferences back and ready to help industry professionals navigate the massive changes in the way they do business.

Read on to learn more about some of the top event planning conferences that 2021 has to offer.

Discover some of 2021’s top event planning conferences:

1. Cvent CONNECT

August 1-4 | Caesars Forum | Las Vegas

Cvent CONNECT is one of the world’s top event technology conferences that brings together meetings, events, and hospitality professionals. It provides inspiration for meeting and event programs and showcases the latest in event planning technology and strategy.

While Cvent was unable to meet in-person in 2020, they’re bringing attendees back to Vegas in 2021 at the all-new Caesars Forum. As the world moves towards recovery, Cvent CONNECT 2021 will usher in a new golden age of events as a re-imagined hybrid event experience that blends the best of in-person and virtual gatherings.

2. The Special Event & Catersource

July 19-22 | Miami Beach Convention Center | Miami

According to its website, “The Special Event + Catersource will bring together the entire events and catering industry for three amazing days in beautiful Miami Beach for a top-notch conference, entertaining show floor, and epic networking events.”

Additionally, it reads: “If you are an event planner, wedding planner, event rental company, caterer, florist, event entertainment company or any other professional working in events, The Special Event is for you.”

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3. Experiential Marketing Summit

Date, location details TBA

According to its website, the 2021 Experiential Marketing Summit is going to be a “virtual experience” in March and May 2021, followed by a live experience in October.

EMS is an industry-leading event planning conference, and it describes itself as “the event industry’s mega-show,” which “brings together b2b and b2c brand-side marketers, executives from leading event agencies, meeting planners, trade show organizers, event strategists, experience designers, event technology gurus and more.” 

From Marketing Strategists with 3M and 7-Eleven Sponsorship Managers to Bacardi CMOs and Capital One Directors, the list of past EMS attendees is a lengthy — and impressive — one.

4. Wedding Merchants Business Academy

November 8-10 | Las Vegas Convention Center | Las Vegas

Wedding MBA brings together wedding professionals from around the world, as well as 180 exhibitors, and it features over 150 educational seminars. The 2020 conference was virtual, but it’s scheduled as an in-person event once again in 2021.

“We were blown away by the resources and expertise we gained at Wedding MBA. This is an investment that will show returns immediately and perpetually. Good show, highly recommended,” reads a testimonial on Wedding MBA’s website.

Professionals who attend include:

  • Officiants
  • Venues
  • Planners
  • DJs/MCs
  • Caterers
  • Confectioners
  • Bakers
  • Photographers
  • Florists
  • Designers
  • Videographers
  • Gown shops
  • Photo booth operators
  • Beauty/makeup professionals
  • More

5. PCMA Convening Leaders

January 11-15 | Hybrid

Convening Leaders 2021 will be “your community design lab for what business events will look like in a post-pandemic world,” according to its website. The event will offer a combination of streaming broadcast TV (with a live studio audience in some locations) and in-person experiences through official network partners. It will feature speakers such as Olympic Gold Medalist and Two-Time Women’s World Cup Champion Megan Rapinoe and Olympic Gold Medalist and Four-Time WNBA Champion Sue Bird, among many others.

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6. International Confex

May 12-13 | ExCeL London | London

International Confex has been running for nearly 40 years, and this year’s conference will focus on the changing times and how event professionals can adapt.

“This year has highlighted the resilience of the events industry and the extraordinary individuals, companies and associations that drive it forward,” reads a section of International Confex’s website. “There are still challenges ahead, but you have got this, and we’ve got you. Confex is where the events industry usually meets, but this year it’s where we rally and we are bringing this extraordinary industry together to regroup, re-energise and restart.”

The team behind the event has brought together an advisory board of event leaders across Fortune 500 companies, agencies, exhibition and conference organizers, and associations to assist in curating a conference program that provides strategic and practical solutions to “kick start the return of events.”

7. IMEX America

November 9-11 | Mandalay Bay | Las Vegas

This conference is dubbed “the heartbeat of the global business events community” for a reason. With options for exhibiting, attending, networking, and education, IMEX America reaches a wide variety of event industry professionals, and it’s one you don’t want to miss.

The conference’s main talking point for 2021 revolves around nature. More specifically, “what we can do for nature and what nature can do for us.”

“In choosing nature as our talking point, we’ve taken a big, bold step,” said IMEX Group CEO Carina Bauer. “It’s a rallying cry for us all to do more to save the planet, to protect, conserve and help regenerate natural resources and species. We’ll also be exploring how biophilia and biomimicry are being used in important and fascinating ways, and in magical places and spaces all over the world.”

Now you’re all set to attend some of 2021’s best event planning conferences!

Prefer to look back on what we learned in 2020? Check out 8 of 2020’s most impressive examples of virtual events.

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