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Ask the Experts: Rachel Wimberly Shares Her Advice for Planners


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For our new Q&A series, Ask the Experts, we asked our event planner clients to share their priorities, areas of interest and biggest questions. To find the answers, we're talking to the top minds in the industry, including bloggers, planners, editors, marketers, consultants and event industry influencers.

Rachel Wimberly oversees both Trade Show Network News and Corporate Event News, two indispensable online resources for trade show and corporate event professionals. She also organizes #Expochat, a weekly Twitter conversation on topics related to the trade show industry, which takes place most Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. ET. #Expochat tackles a different topic each week: a recurring pain point, a new and innovative idea, evolution in the industry or best practice. Check out the schedule for #Expochat and join in the conversation (or read the summary that’s sent out afterwards) for more insights straight from industry experts and meeting planners.

Facial Recognition At EventsHave you seen any extraordinary arrival experiences or conference check-in formats that are innovative but also efficient?

I have seen some test runs of facial recognition check-in technology, which is great when it works. Also, between QR codes and automatic printing stations and people who can check in with iPads, there shouldn’t really ever be lines at check-in.

Have you seen any dynamic speakers recently you would recommend?

Duncan Wardle, former head of Disney’s creativity and innovation, is fantastic! He draws on his experiences working on design thinking with teams at Disney Animation, Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar, and Imagineering and Disney Parks. He is also a TedX speaker and contributor to Fast Company Magazine. He teaches Innovation and Design Thinking Masterclasses at Yale University, UNC and U.F. Every time I see him speak, he gets a standing ovation!

You can watch his Ted Talk "The Theory of Creativity" here. It's 18 minutes long and incredibly inspiring!

Experience EconomyWhat one piece of advice would you give event professionals?

Don’t forget that we aren’t in the event business, we are in the experience business. Our attendees are human beings who want to learn, be inspired, make connections and have some fun!

Tell us about a recent event you attended that was really unique. What was the event, and what made it special?

SXSW is the ultimate unique event. There are brand activations everywhere with incredible attendee engagement, top keynote speakers and amazing panel discussions – plus great music, food and entertainment.

Round Robin Dining Experience for EventsHave you seen any new meeting formats that help planners avoid conference fatigue and encourage interaction?

Take the meetings OUT of meeting rooms and either into an open floor plan format or even a round robin dining experience around a city.

What professional associations do you recommend to other planners, and why?

Professional Associations for Event PlannersInternational Association of Exhibitions and Events (for trade show industry), Corporate Event Marketing Association (corporate meetings), and the Society of Independent Show Organizers (for-profit trade show organizers). All three encompass the world I live in every day and have great member benefits and meetings.

What are the best industry events for a meeting planner to attend and why?

IAEE’s Expo! Expo! event for trade shows, CEMA’s annual meeting and SISO’s CEO Summit for B2B media CEOs.


Rachel WimberlyAbout Rachel:
Rachel Wimberly was recently named EVP of business development for Tarsus US. Tarsus is a global trade show company based in London with 180 events worldwide. She also is president of Tarsus Media, overseeing Trade show News Network ( and

Coming next in the Ask the Experts series: We talk to Will Curran, President of AV company Endless Events, an AV company like no other. Subscribe to the MeetingPlay blog newsletter and stay tuned to the blog for more event planning tips and insights.


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