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Mark Your Calendars: 9 Virtual Events for Planners

The next three months are rich with professional development and networking opportunities—and you don’t have to leave your desk.

Between now and mid-January, meeting and event pros can take in a huge array of educational sessions ranging from marketing and incentives to technology and event design. All of these events are traditionally held in person but have adapted to be either hybrid or fully online for this year.

October 12-16: Planet IMEX
Among dozens of educational sessions, the event will feature on-the-ground reports from various regions around the world on their ability to hold in-person events in the near future. There will also be a Virtual Event Tech Day to help planners gain clarity about tools that help with event coordination and execution. Cost: Free

October 13-15: Event Planner Expo
Sessions will focus on event marketing—how to build an event’s brand as well as boost the brands of sponsors and exhibitors—while a trade-show component brings planners together with venues from around the country. Cost: $47 basic access; $97 enhanced access; $347 premium access

November 2-6: Event Tech Live
Educational sessions will address technological approaches for every aspect of meeting and event coordination. Attendees can also sign up for dozens of product demos. Cost: Free basic access; $195 premium access

November 3-6: Meeting Professionals International’s World Education Congress
The in-person component of the event takes place in Dallas, but virtual attendees will have access to general sessions and breakouts, plus social and entertainment activities. There will be 15 keynote speakers and nearly 30 breakout presenters and facilitators. Cost: $799-$999 in person; $299 virtual

November 18: Exhibition and Convention Executives Forum
Besides a full day of presentations and discussion sessions focused on navigating the present business-event climate, the forum offers a three-day technology demo from November 18-20 that includes passes for three technologists per organization. Cost: $495

December 1-2:  Incentive Research Foundation UNvitational
Open to anyone in an incentive-related role, the event features session topics such as using incentives to accelerate business recovery, delivering incentives virtually, and legal considerations for different types of incentives. There will also be small-group discussion opportunities, while preliminary findings from The Incentive Travel Industry Index will be presented in a general session. Cost: TBD

December 1-3: Experiential Designers and Producers Association’s ACCESS 2020
A hybrid event with the in-person component happening in San Antonio, the event features the theme “Adapting to the New Model for Business Events in 2021.” Sessions will discuss new ways that the delivery of impactful experiences can take place during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. Cost: $400-$750 virtual; $500-$1,850 in person

December 8-10: IBTM World Virtual
Given that IBTM’s in-person annual event is known for its hosted-buyer program and planner-exhibitor appointments, those activities will still happen in the online medium. There will also be a series of live and pre-recorded educational sessions on topics related to logistical and legal considerations for business events as well as ideas for on-site and virtual event execution. Cost: Free for qualified planners

January 12-15, 2021: Professional Convention Management Association’s Convening Leaders
Stating that this event “will be your community design lab for what business events will look like in a post-pandemic world,” the association is going the hybrid route—hosting about 25 in-person locations around North America in addition to welcoming virtual attendees. Cost: $295 virtual or in person.

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