TS2, also known as the trade show about trade shows, will now include a track for show organizers as well as for its traditional exhibitor audience, thanks to a new partnership between the International Association of Exhibitions and Events and National Trade Productions, which bought the show from the Trade Show Exhibitors Association five years ago. The partnership was announced last week at IAEE’s Expo! Expo! at the Miami Convention Center.

IAEE President Steven Hacker, CAE, explained during a press conference that co-locating with NTP would, in effect, bring back the mid-year show IAEE had until 2003, which was discontinued due to declining attendance. Then membership started increasing again, he said, and “we were caught between the boat and the dock.” IAEE didn’t want to ask its exhibitors and sponsors to support yet another event, but it did want to expand its in-person education. The co-location will offer a way to do that while providing a value-add for suppliers, who will get special deals for participating in both TS2 and Expo! Expo!, Hacker said. The partnership also means the addition of an exhibitor-centric track at Expo! Expo!.

“This agreement represents a bridge to the entire world of show managers who belong to IAEE,” said NTP Chairman Robert Harar, adding that while TS2 will remain focused on exhibitor and event marketers, it will include content for show managers.

At TS2, scheduled for July 22 to 24 at McCormick Place in Chicago, the two organizations also plan to formally launch the International Center for Exhibitor and Event Marketing, to be known as “The Center.” Funded partially through TS2, The Center’s mission is to provide education, networking, and research (including links to reports from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research) for the exhibitor and event marketing community. It will consist primarily of a Web site and will be a subsidiary organization of IAEE, with its own board of directors.

In other IAEE news, the organization is expanding member outreach in an innovative way by creating two new e-mail accounts specifically for member feedback. Appropriately enough, these will be goodnews@iaee.com and badnews@iaee.com. “We are asking our members to use these to let us know their news, both good and bad, so we can turn around and feed it to the trade press” and also the mainstream media, said Hacker. “We want to disseminate more about what it is we do, the power of trade shows.”