​​ 7 Must-attend Event Planning Conferences | Ultimate Experience

, Published by Ultimate Experience

The world of event planning and organisation is one which never stops moving, and never stops evolving. Every year, new concepts and ideas arise, trends change, and new influencers come forward onto the scene. What better way to stay on top of this ever-developing industry could there be than to attend an event planning conference?

These annual events help event planners meet like-minded folk to share thoughts and ideas with, and bring together leading lights in the industry to celebrate its successes, plan future events, and stay informed on subjects as diverse as venue management, catering trends, and audio-visual developments...

What’s more, they tend to be a huge amount of fun, and give you the opportunity to travel, get inspired, and come up with amazing new ideas for your future events.

Every year, dozens of event planning conferences are held in major cities across the globe. Here at Ultimate Experience, we love nothing more than attending such events s - and we’ve put together a definitive list of 2018’s must-see events for you to jot down in your diary.

ESPA Live

Where: Nashville, Tennessee

When: Jan 5 - Jan 9 2018

Entry Fee: GBP 433 - 640

ESPA Live is one of the main calendar events in the event planning industry. Combining keynote speeches from industry leader such as Steve Uzell and Judi Holler with fun workshops, black tie dinners, and tours of Nashville’s world-famous centres of music and entertainment, this is a conference which simply cannot be missed.

The main highlights of ESPA Live include a series of networking breakfasts, in which industry leaders will be mingling with up-and-coming stars in the events world. As well as this, there are workshops on upping your customer service game, new developments in security, and holistic-based keynotes on subjects like “Open Roads, Open Minds, an Exploration of Creative Problem Solving”. The conference prides itself on its sense of fun and adventure, and attendees will be treated to a whole series of tours and gatherings based around the unique history of this beautiful and musical city.

Experi​​​​ential Marketing Summit 2018

Where: San Francisco

When: May 14 - May 16 2018

Entry Fee: GBP 160 - 2500

EMS 2018 is billing itself as the world’s largest conference aimed squarely at addressing developments in the world of experiential marketing. As the somewhat wilder and more unpredictable side of the events planning world, this is a conference in which you should expect the unexpected, and be willing to throw yourself headfirst into the forward-thinking and often dizzying sphere of experiential marketing!

em summit event planning conference

The conference brings together event planners from across the globe, and allows them to benefit from the wisdom and creativity of experiential marketing experts from huge international corporations.

Representatives and speakers from companies like Pepsi, Uber, General Motors, Samsung and many more will be delivering keynotes and workshops, and alongside bestselling authors, businesspeople and strategy chiefs, they’ll be offering a cornucopia of inspirational sessions we could all benefit from. Attendees will also get the chance to get up close and personal with a range of new products and tools before they’ve been released, making this event truly a game-changing happening that cannot be overlooked!

ILEA Live

Where: Denver, Colorado

When: 16 Aug - 18 Aug 2018

Entry Fee: TBC

ILEA Live is a vast, results-driven events planning conference held annually in Denver, Colorado. It prides itself on bringing together hardworking events managers with industry experts, providing stimulating displays, speeches and workshops, and being driven by a core of creative, innovative individuals, who make the whole event feel more like a series of rock concerts than a conference.

With the tagline ‘Empowering Creativity, Building Business, Inspiring New Thought’, you get a real sense of what this event planning conference is all about: bringing new ideas to the fore, and sharing ways to make them actionable back at home.

Alongside the usual keynotes and workshops, ILEA Live is renowned for its more innovative approach to conference sessions. Here, you’ll find their iconic ‘inspiration sessions’ - which vary wildly from year to year, and include out-of-the-box ideas for getting creative juices flowing. As well as this, ILEA Live provides ‘Thought Talks’ - shorter presentations which are followed by wide-ranging discussion, putting the audience first and allowing the attendees to drive the conversation.

IMEX America

Where: Las Vegas

When: 16 Oct - 18 Oct 2018

Entry Fee: TBC

IMEX America is a massive event planning conference and trade show, which this year will be attended by exhibitors and attendees from 130+ countries, each there to take in over 3,200 exhibitions. With so much going on, it would be impossible to come away from this world-famous event without a head brimming with new ideas, and buzzing with inspiration.

The aim of IMEX America is to encourage fresh, exciting and innovative ideas, and to give them a space in which they can blossom, be shared, and take root in the minds of thousands of attendees.

The conference is organised around several distinct activities for the delegates; there are dozens of keynote speeches, hundreds of workshops and interactive sessions, and also networking events, entertaining distractions such a golf tournaments and tours along the strip, and much, much more besides. Seminars, ‘playrooms’ (where new technology and tools can be explored), ‘campfires’ (small-scale meetings and conversations with industry leaders) and hot topic tables make this conference an endlessly varied treat for those in the events business. Not to be missed!

The Special Event 2018

Where: New Orleans, Louisiana

When: Jan 30 - Feb 1 2018

Entry Fee: GBP 145 - 1000

The Special Event is one of the industry’s biggest and best tradeshows and conferences, and brings together 5,000 delegates from around the world, each eager to network, explore new ideas, and get their hands on the latest events-based tools, apps, and pieces of technology. Based in swinging New Orleans, it’s an event planning conference with a truly unique vibe - there’s a buzzing, creative, party atmosphere at this event which makes it a firm favourite with industry leaders across the globe.

With an opening party - featuring some of the best bands and singers from across the city - held in a historic sugar hall, the vibe of this vast conference is set up from the very first moment. This is all about blue-sky thinking, finding joy in the latest industry advancements, and keeping an open mind from start to finish.

With gala awards sessions, whole days dedicated to wedding and party planning, and speeches by mavens like Michael Cerbelli (whose ‘hot list’ compiles the biggest new trends for the events industry in 2018), it’s a full-on conference that’s sure to get your mind buzzing with ideas.

TechsyTalk Live

Where: New York City

When: 20 April, 2018

Entry Fees: GBP 250

TechsyTalk Live is a tech-based event, proudly made for planners, by planners. As such, this is a uniquely honest, up-front and down-to-earth event planner conference, which revels in the fact that it has been put together for real, working events organisers in mind.

That’s not to say it doesn’t pack in plenty of spectacle and special features, though - quite the opposite is true. TechsyTalk Live is a dynamic, fast-moving event which draws in top-notch industry professionals, keen to network with fellows from all over the world, and celebrate the latest innovations in the world of events planning and management.

TechsyTalk seminar

The idea is to present attendees with the best, the newest, and the most practical solutions for a range of events planning issues and problems. Furthermore, TechsyTalk allows events planners to probe some of the greatest minds in the business, by arranging fun, pacey seminars and workshops, which get to the very heart of the issues we all face in our day to day working lives. As this is the very last of the ten planned TechsyTalk conferences in New York, we can expect it to truly go off with a bang!

International Confex

Where: London

When: 28 Feb - 1 March

International Confex is an event planning conference which grows bigger and bigger each and every year that it is held. Aimed at bringing together industry professionals with a wide range of attendees from across the UK, Europe and the rest of the world, this London calendar date has risen to become one of the key events gatherings not to be missed.

This year, attendees at International Confex can expect riveting workshops and seminars, featuring titles such as ‘Improving Health and Wellbeing in the Events Industry’, ‘How to Persuade Anyone to do Anything’, ‘Running 5 Star Events on a Shoestring’ and many more besides.

With a jam-packed schedule, some star appearances from industry leaders, and plenty of entertainment options involving the sights of the capital, this conference is sure to be another winning event for those seeking to up their planning and management game.

Event Planning Conferences: A Chance to Network, Refresh, and Be Inspired


If you’re the sort of events planner who is always looking for the next big trend, the latest technology, and fresh, exciting ideas from the cutting edge of the industry, there’s no question about whether or not these events conferences are for you. Such gatherings really put you into the beating heart of events management as a global phenomenon, and give you opportunities to explore some amazing developments happening all over the world.

Here at Ultimate Experience, we go to great lengths to maintain our winning reputation as a top-notch events management company. We’ve got all the tricks and techniques to make your next event one to truly remember - so if you have any questions, requests or ideas, don’t hesitate to get in touch.