Expo expectations

AT: John W.C. Robinson

For the past couple months, whenever I’ve run into someone from the industry, there has consistently been one hot topic question on everyone’s mind: What do you expect from IAAPA Expo 2021?


Whether it’s been a business collaboration, a social event or even just a surprise meeting, all industry people have had the upcoming expo on their mind and are continually curious about what they should expect this year.

I recall when the COVID-19 pandemic began, some already feared in March of 2020 that IAAPA Expo 2020 would not happen. I was more optimistic and was certain it would occur, but I was wrong. 2020 was the first year there was not an industry expo to look forward to, to build the following year’s business on and to make connections to further the future of our industry.  But 2020 is the past, events are returning and IAAPA Expo 2021 is  — quite literally — just around the corner.

So what should we expect?

There have been some common thoughts and musings. 2021 saw the industry start to rebound, but there’s still a long way to go before things are back to pre-2020 levels or better. Even with the United States’ travel restrictions being eased starting on November 8, the international presence at IAAPA Expo 2021 likely will not be what we have become used to. And, while many are still nervous about the dollars and cents of it all, everyone is eager to once again shake hands with associates and friends from across the globe at the annual event.

I’ve even heard of a few companies who are eager for the event and seizing the opportunity to stand out on the showfloor — and in the industry — knowing that this year will be different than any other.

I look at the upcoming Expo and see nothing but a chance for true optimism. Buyers may be more cautious than previous years, but they will be buying. Exhibitors may not be pulling out all the stops, but they are eager to be on display and move the industry forward. 

More than an annual meeting, IAAPA Expo has become an annual celebration of the industry as it closes the book on one season and looks optimistically towards the next. No matter the scale or the changes to the guest list, this is the party that we’ve all been holding on to our invitations for far too long. It’s time to walk through the doors and enjoy the opportunities the event brings. Anything is possible!