by Nicola Macdonald

The Association of Event Organisers (AEO) and the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) have entered into a reciprocity agreement following a meeting between their members last month.


SISO was formed in 1990 and is dedicated to meeting the needs of for-profit show organisers through networking, exchange of ideas and learning from each other in a non-competitive and candid environment.


The agreement sees both organisations supporting each other with information exchange, research insight and mutual discounts for members to attend each associations’ events. In addition, it sees the formation of a new special interest group: the ‘Independent Organiser Network’ (ION).


ION is a group formed of AEO and SISO commercial event organiser members who operate on a global basis. It will see the pure play ‘for profit’ organisations coming together to share experiences, opportunities and challenges for the benefit of all parties and the industry at large.


Chris Skeith (pictured), chief executive of AEO said: “SISO is a much respected organisation with similar objectives to AEO, and we share many members who have common interests and challenges. The partnership with SISO will see us further extend collaborations with other associations throughout the world to help us deliver more value to our members.”


David Audrain, executive director of SISO, added: “A third of SISO members operate outside the US on a global scale alongside half of the AEO’s membership that organise events outside of the UK. This partnership will see the very best organisers in the world sharing experiences to help shape best practice and improve exhibitor experiences which will help grow the industry overall.


“The ION will formally meet twice a year with the first meeting taking place at SISO’s CEO Summit which much of the network will already be attending. The second meeting will be standalone during the second half of the year although there will be continued virtual support provided by both SISO and AEO to enable ION members to communicate throughout the year.”


Skeith concluded: “Associations can support commercial, for profit, organisers through representation by providing a common voice to benefit from international opportunities and overcome challenges. In addition, working as one should provide confidence and is particularly significant in the current climate of political and economic uncertainty, the mantra of ‘together we are stronger’ has never been more important.”

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