Ultimate Guide to Event Industry Associations and Trade Shows

event industry associations ultimate guide

Whether you’re new to the event industry or aim to be more involved in the industry’s vast network, it can be difficult to decide where to jump in. There are a variety of different associations and shows to choose from, so we’re breaking down our favorites below!

Top Event Industry Associations

Event Industry Associations are one of the easiest ways to find and expand your network. Through memberships, you can gather with other professionals in your niche, gain insights from professionals and other members, attend networking events, and see what competitors are doing. Many Associations have their own tradeshow as well, in which members often receive discounted rates.

It’s also important to note that most national associations break down into local chapters in different states across the country. Other ways to find associations that are closer in proximity to you is to search through Facebook groups or forums that pertain to your event business and niche. By doing so, you can connect with local professionals and have easy access to leadership and volunteer opportunities. 

NACE (National Association of Catering and Events)

About: The National Association for Catering and Events (NACE) is the go-to resource and community for catering and event professionals throughout the nation. With more than 40 chapters across the country and a growing network of members, NACE empowers catering and event professionals.

Benefits of Joining: Becoming a member in NACE gives you access to a vibrant peer and business network, continuous education, partner benefits, and timely information on trends and innovative approaches that give you a competitive edge. Dues include national and one local chapter membership.

Key Links

ARA (American Rental Association)

American Rental Association

About: The American Rental Association (ARA) is the largest association. It covers every type of rental, from event to equipment, and everything in between. The ARA is dedicated to advancing the equipment and event rental community. 

Benefits of Joining

Becoming a member of ARA gives you the preferred pricing and access to additional events at the ARA annual trade show and convention. Additionally, members receive industry insurance, advocacy, education and training, vendor discounts, and workforce development.

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ATA (Advanced Textiles Association)

ATA Tent Rental Division

About: The Advanced Textiles Association Tent Rental Division represents companies in the commercial tent marketplace. Their mission is to advance the industry and the membership by fostering safety, quality and creativity in the use of rental tents. 

Benefits of Joining: Becoming a member of ATA Tent Rental Division gives you access to a Leadership Academy, equipment financing, textile industry retirement plan, International Organization for Standardization certification, and more.

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MATRA (Manufacturers and Tent Renters Associations)


About: The Manufacturers and Tent Renters Association began as a result of a few rental companies and area vendors that desired to build a stronger relationship in the tenting industry, while helping to educate rental owners about safety and new products. MATRA’s goal is to uphold safe practices and promote the professionalism and integrity of the tent rental industry, through education, networking and leadership development.

Benefits of joining: Becoming a member of MATRA gives you access to substantial discounts on the Tent show and Spring Training, the chance to win scholarships, networking, volunteering, and sponsorship opportunities, access to the MATRA games, and continued education.

Key Links

Learn more about MATRA’s Tent Show here.

PEG (Peer Executive Groups)

Peer Executive Groups

About: Peer Executive Groups is a leading source of business analysis groups. They have a comprehensive network of subject matter experts, facilitators, and industry vendors/suppliers making them uniquely capable of creating and delivering meetings for long-lasting groups of business owners. 

Benefits of Joining: Becoming a member of PEG gives you the ability to join a Peer Executive Group. Through the peer group, you can open doors to receive advice, support, and accountability from other business owners like you.

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CRA (Canadian Rental Association)

Canadian Rental Association

About: The Canadian Rental Association is for the event and equipment rental industry. They are a wonderful source for guidance on safety, standards, and business practices as well as the leading advocate on behalf of the event and equipment rental industry in Canada.

Benefits of Joining: Becoming a member of CRA gives you access to the CRA Insurance Program, the First data: credit card acceptance- preferred rates program, Canadian Red Cross, a legal care program, payroll and printing services.

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ILEA (International Live Events Association)


About: The International Live Events Association (ILEA) is focused on all aspects of live event production and management. ILEA is the global community of creative event professionals whose skills, expertise and experience power some of the most influential live events around the world.

Benefits of Joining: Becoming a member of ILEA gives you access to a new network full of connections, education and professional development, inspiration and collaboration opportunities, outward awareness, recognition, and credibility.

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WIPA (Wedding International Professionals Association)


About: WIPA is the association for leading wedding professionals in North America. They aim to provide industry leading education for their members, produce inspirational networking events and advance the ethical standards of the wedding industry. There are twenty chapters across the country.

Benefits of Joining: Becoming a member of WIPA gives you access to all WIPA meetings, mentoring programs for emerging businesses, up-to-date information about the latest industry news, and a tight-knit community of like-minded individuals. Additionally, a WIPA membership gives continuous education, mentors, networking, promotion, and community.

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ESPA (Event Service Professionals Association)


About: The Event Service Professionals Association represents event service professionals from CVBs, hotels, and convention centers throughout North America. ESPA advocates for the role and impact event service professionals have on the success of events and of destinations, hotels and convention centers. 

Benefits of Joining: Becoming a member of the Event Service Professionals Associations gives you access to discounted rates for professional development opportunities, continuous education, a network of resources, and the ability to grow your network.

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MPI (Meeting Planner International)


About: The Meeting Planner International leads the world in professional development that advances the meeting and event industry — and the careers of the people in it. Their goal is to connect the connectors so they can produce energetic and inspiring experiences.

Benefits of Joining: Becoming a member of MPI gives you access to on-demand education, webinars, and certificate courses, planner and student resources, chapter and member directory, partnerships and advertising opportunities, and face-to-face networking opportunities.

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PSAI (Public Sanitation Association International)


About: The PSAI is a voice for providing education and information for the portable sanitation industry. Their aim is for people to access sanitation in places where it is not otherwise available, and make the environment a cleaner, safer place.

Benefits of Joining: Becoming a member of PSAI gives you access to education and networking, current news in portable sanitation, industry-specific resources,members only listserv, listing in their online locator, training and certification, scholarship fund, and more.

Learn more about the PSAI Convention and Trade Show here.

Top Event Industry Trade Shows

At Event Industry Trade Shows, there is substantial value to gain as both a regular attendee or an exhibitor. Trade shows usually have a few different pass options to choose from so you can opt into what fits your budget. 

Attending a tradeshow allows you to increase your understanding of event industry trends, learn about new products, network with vendors/other event professionals, and more. Additionally, being an exhibitor allows you to network with prospects, gain potential leads, see what the competition is bringing to the table, and learn new skills.

In fact, 70% of trade show exhibitors report generating more leads and increasing brand awareness of their business, which shows how much there is to gain from attending these events.

NACE Experience

NACE logo

At the NACE Experience Conference, unveil the latest trends in the dynamic catering and events industry, networking with influential decision-makers and like-minded professionals, opening doors to exciting new products, services, and meaningful connections

2024 NACE Experience

  • Dates: July 21-23, 2024
  • Location: Denver, Colorado

2025 NACE Experience

  • Details TBA

ARA Show

ARA Show

The ARA Show is the world’s largest equipment and event rental trade show. Hosted by the American Rental Association (ARA) since 1956, this can’t-miss trade show includes networking events, education, and a trade show featuring hundreds of exhibitors.

2024 ARA Show

  • Dates: February 17-21, 2024
  • Location: New Orleans, LA

2025 ARA Show

  • Dates: January 29 – February 1, 2025
  • Location: Las Vegas, NV
  • More Information

Advanced Textiles Expo

ATA Expo

At the Advanced Textiles Expo, connect with over 4,500 textiles professionals, discover the newest innovations in the textile marketplace, and source from over 300 exhibitors to drive your business forward. 

2024 Advanced Textiles Expo

  • Dates: September 24-25, 2024
  • Location: Anaheim, CA

2025 Advanced Textiles Expo

  • Details TBA

MATRA’s Tent Show


MATRA is the only annual outdoor tent conference in North America. At MATRA you can take a tour of all the many installed tents and hear from the manufacturers, hear from industry professionals on good business and install practices, and get to know your suppliers.

2024 MATRA Tent Show

  • Dates: November 6-9, 2024
  • Location: Atlantic City, NJ

2025 MATRA Tent Show

  • Details TBA

InfoComm Show


At the InfoComm Show, there are numerous products, education sessions, and networking opportunities for audio, conferencing and collaboration, enterprise IT, live events, learning technologies, streaming, and digital signage. 

2024 InfoComm Show

  • Dates: June 8-14
  • Location: Las Vegas, NV

2025 InfoComm Show

  • Details TBA

LDI Show


The LDI Show is one of the largest shows for A/V & Lighting professionals. At LDI show, connect with industry leaders in the live entertainment, design, and technology community. Learn, network, take part in professional training events, new tech breakfasts, scholarship opportunities.

2024 LDI Show

  • Dates: December 4-10, 2024
  • Location: Las Vegas, NV

2025 LDI Show

  • Details TBA

Wedding Merchants Business Academy

Wedding MBA

Wedding Merchants Business Academy is a wedding professional convention. At Wedding MBA, you’ll get valuable exposure and face-to-face interactions with wedding professionals who are eager to find partners to help them improve their businesses. If you choose to exhibit, you’ll reap even more benefits like increasing sales, making more connections, and gaining in-person contact with owners and buyers.

2024 Wedding Merchants Business Academy

  • Location: Las Vegas, NV
  • Dates: November 12-14, 2024

2025 Wedding Merchants Business Academy

  • Details TBA

DJX show

DJX Show

At the DJX shows, DJs, Artists, Radio Stations, Mixshow Hosts, Brands, Retailers, and Music Industry Thought Leaders come together to celebrate the power of music, innovation, networking, and education. The DJX show includes the industry’s largest exhibition floor, hosts After Dark Events, and features over 35 high-impact educational seminars each year.

2024 DJX Show

  • Location: Atlantic City, NJ
  • Dates: August 5-8, 2024

2025 DJX Show

  • Details TBA

Catersource + Special Event

Catersource + The Special Event

The Catersource + Special Event brings the entire event industry under one roof for an immersive experience like no other. At the event, you have the opportunity to connect and have conversations with everyone within the events & catering world to help move the industry forward. 

2025 Catersource + Special Event

  • Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Dates: February 24-27, 2025

ExhibitorLive Conference and Exhibition

Exhibitor Live

The ExhibitorLive Conference and Exhibition is a leading resource for specialized training and knowledge for trade show and corporate event marketers. At ExhibitorLive, explore 90+ dynamic sessions and workshops, master the art of trade show and event marketing with top strategies for planning, managing, and measuring success, and adapt your approach to stay fresh and current in the industry.

2025 ExhibitorLive Conference and Exhibition

  • Location: San Antonia, TX
  • Dates: March 16-19, 2025

PSAI Convention & Trade Show


The PSAI Annual Convention & Trade Show is the largest and one of the only trade shows globally focused specifically on the portable sanitation industry. Attendees have the opportunity to connect with the most experienced suppliers and operators in the business during this multi-day event.

2025 PSAI Annual Convention & Trade Show

  • Details TBA

Make the Most of your Networking Experience

Putting yourself and your business out there can be daunting, especially if you’re new to networking or have been out of the game for a while. When beginning your networking journey, there are several important things to keep in mind. 

Presenting a good first impression is key to networking successfully. The average person makes up their mind about something in just 27 seconds, and often under 10 seconds. Having a clean and concise pitch can elevate your networking success. 

Forbes has a famous networking tactic called the Three C’s of Networking. This includes cultivating Connection, Communication, and Collaboration. But there is a fourth C worth mentioning: Confidence.

In order to successfully market your business, you have to be able to show your confidence in it. Know your value and what you bring to the table, and be receptive to what you can learn from others. The confidence will radiate off of your interactions and lead to new relationships and leads.