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Association Forum to Host 27th Annual Holiday Showcase® and Launch 100-Year Anniversary Celebration

By Melissa Walling posted 07-02-2016 20:00


More than 2,000 meeting planners, association professionals and industry suppliers will come together Dec. 15 to learn, connect, and explore new opportunities.

CHICAGO (Dec. 14, 2015)—Association Forum’s Holiday Showcase® is widely considered the industry's best and most highly attended one-day exhibition for Chicago’s multi-billion dollar meetings and events market. Associations in Chicagoland report spending $10.3B annually, which includes $947M on printing, IT, accounting, legal fees, and web design and another $2.6B on conferences, conventions and meetings. Next to Washington, D.C., Chicago is the nation’s second largest association headquarters city, home to approximately 1,600 associations serving 27 million individual members.

On Tuesday, Dec. 15, more than 2,000 meeting planners, association professionals and industry suppliers will gather at the Hyatt Regency Chicago to make new connections, learn fresh ideas, and explore exciting opportunities at the 27th Annual Holiday Showcase. And to kick off Association Forum’s Centennial Celebration, the event will debut a number of new features designed directly as a result of attendee feedback. Additionally, Holiday Showcase will serve as a platform for the launch of a new three-year strategic partnership agreement between Association Forum and Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau. The strategic partnership is the first of its kind for Association Forum and is developed to support unconventional educational experiences that will push and provoke members through experimentation and design thinking.

“As we celebrate the holiday season and the launch of our Centennial, we couldn’t be more excited about what’s in store for our future,” says Michelle Mason, FASAE, CAE, Association Forum's president and CEO. “It’s going to be a year of creativity and change, an opportunity to demonstrate tangible value to our members and embrace unique collaborations, such as our new partnership with Dallas CVB. We’re not just shaking up Holiday Showcase—we’re re-examining everything.”

This year, Holiday Showcase has a variety of stimulating events on the agenda:

Opening Reception: Brand new this year, Holiday Showcase will kick off a day early on Monday, Dec. 14, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Chicago’s American Craft Kitchen & Bar. Attendees will enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and drinks, as well as the sounds of DJ Taz Rashid. This event is generously sponsored by Destination Cleveland.

CEOnly® Seminar: High-Performing Associations: Reserved for active association CEOs, this powerful half-day session will be facilitated by expert strategists to help attendees align business strategy with operations, identify root causes behind process inefficiency, make transformation an ongoing part of the business model, and implement changes in leadership thinking and behavior to embrace and support organizational transformation. The CEOnly Seminar is sponsored by its Title Partner, Minding Your Business; Event Partners Abila, Experient, Johnson Lambert, The Private Bank and Visit Orlando; and Supporting Sponsor, Synchronicities.

Medical Meetings: Health Care Game Changers—Trends Transforming the Industry: New this year, this dynamic and interactive program within a program at Holiday Showcase will explore key disruptors including ever-advancing technology, patient empowerment and engagement, and quality of care, always with an eye toward delivering value and ROI. Fundamental topics, such as Technology Trends in Healthcare and Identifying the Disruptors and Trends on the Health Care Horizon, will be explored through a moderated and interactive format. This unique opportunity is sponsored by Visit Houston and Naylor Association Solutions.

Keynote Brunch—Continuing the Conversation 2.0: State of the Industry and Top Trends: Keynote Speaker Michael Dominguez, Senior VP and Chief Sales Officer of MGM Resorts International, will share a provocative review of the event industry—where it’s been, where it is now, and what is on the horizon.

Education Sessions:
This year’s Holiday Showcase offers an education lineup of more than 20 sessions designed to unite association teams in preparation to effectively take bold risks and reach business goals. Morning and afternoon sessions on meetings, management, education and program development, marketing and more will provide attendees with fresh perspectives and strategies to put into action.

What’s Next is Now Learning Bursts:
Another new addition to this year’s Holiday Showcase and taking place right in the heart of the exhibit hall, these high-impact, bite-sized, no-doze sessions will deliver killer concepts, lessons learned and incredible insights straight from a few of the 2015 Forty Under 40® Award winners and a few special guests—in just 15 minutes each. Participants will gain tips and tools they can use right away to make a positive difference in their organizations.

Shared Interest Group (SIG) Symposium: This series of smaller, topic-focused meetings is considered a premier benefit for Association Forum members as an opportunity to connect with like-minded peers to network and share ideas on common interests in a low-pressure setting. The four SIG meetings will cover a variety of topics, including driving revenue with digital publications; the importance of data governance; and engaging stakeholders, employers, educators, regulators and customers, plus an opportunity for young professionals to expand their network through association-style speed networking.

Exhibit Hall Happenings:
Offering expanded hours this year from noon to 5 p.m., the Holiday Showcase 2015 Exhibit Hall includes more than 500 exhibiting companies that are eager to engage and share their award-winning destinations, highly rated properties, and an Innovation Hub to showcase the essential business services that every association and meeting professional needs. The Holiday Showcase Closing Reception, also sponsored by Destination Cleveland will also take place on the show floor from 3:30-5 p.m.

To participate in Holiday Showcase, association professionals may register on-site on Dec. 15 for $200. Exhibit Floor only registration is also available on-site for $45. There is no charge when you register as qualified media.

Thank You to Association Forum’s Generous Holiday Showcase Partners!

Platinum Sponsors

Choose Chicago

Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau

Global Experience Specialists

Grapevine Texas

Minding Your Business


Gold Sponsors


Destination Cleveland

Visit Houston

Vancouver Convention and Visitors Bureau

Silver Sponsors

Visit Indy

Visit Orlando

Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau

Johnson Lambert

Nashville Music City

Naylor Association Solutions

Bronze Sponsors



Destination Reps

Visit Detroit

Event Sponsors/Partners



Convention News Television

Real Magnet

SmithBucklin Promotional Products and Apparel