For 18 years, the promotional products industry has gathered in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center to celebrate the power of promotional products, and PPAI plans to do the same in 2021. The PPAI Expo is expected to look different than it has in the past, but its purpose will be the same—to provide community, knowledge and a forum to do business—with attendee and exhibitors’ safety top of  mind as well.

“For many of you, the sense of community that The PPAI Expo offers is what you cherish the most,” says PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE. “And to the degree that it is possible, the PPAI Expo 2021 will be there for you. At the heart of the PPAI Expo is a strong, passionate and interconnected community that comes together each year—a community gathering like no other in our industry. From developing new relationships to connecting with old friends, networking with this community is always at the top of the list for attendees at The PPAI Expo. And the need for that community network has never been so desired as it is today. Serving as the industry’s annual gathering place and the kickoff to business each new year, The PPAI Expo is the crown jewel of community in our industry and it will continue to shine.”

The Association is making some significant changes to the Expo in order to streamline and facilitate the best business environment possible while considering the challenges attendees may be facing. 

PPAI will limit the size of the show and is making a conscious decision to downsize the footprint of the trade-show floor by 50 percent. This will include limiting the size of booths. This step, along with others, will ease the financial burden for exhibitors while providing a solid business experience for everyone involved. Also, the Association will change the Expo from a three-day to a two-day trade show. This will help both attendees and exhibitors with travel expenses, as well as their time away from the office. To make up for the shortened schedule, show hours will be extended each day. The new hours will also give PPAI the flexibility to control access to the show floor, if necessary, based on government guidelines.

One of the key components of the Expo is professional development and in 2021, it will feature 50-plus breakouts and two general sessions, with a timely and relevant lineup of top-level speakers. PPAI anticipates making Expo-related virtual opportunities available in advance of, during and after the 2021 live event, with the goal of making the PPAI Expo a brand that can be counted on for business opportunities well before and after the live event.

While no one knows exactly what things will look like in January 2021, PPAI is assuring members that it  will go above and beyond to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone involved. Whether it’s physical distancing, hand-sanitizing stations or temperature screening stations, the Association will exceed the recommended guidelines in order to offer the safest business experience, and is already working with its Las Vegas partners to make these arrangements.

It is highly likely there will be more changes and updates as the Association moves forward in planning. Stay up to date on the latest developments, show details and the schedule by visiting


James Khattak is news editor of PPB.