February 09, 2023
By Mike Fletcher

There are many valuable trade shows and conferences for the meetings and events industry. But which are the key events that you should have in your calendar?

Whether you're looking to build your network, connect with clients, or learn about the latest developments in the industry, attending a trade show or conference provides endless opportunities to achieve your goals.

Additionally, many in-person events not only feature exhibitor suppliers but also have education programmes that provide opportunities to learn from the experts, ask questions and network with industry peers.

To help you plan your trade show and conference diary for 2023, check out this list of the key events and conferences to attend in Europe this year.

Event: C&IT Agency Forum
Date: 8 - 10 February
Location:  Meliá White House, Albany St, London NW1 3UP
Website:  https://www.citagencyforum.com/

Why attend: Spanning 2.5 days, this forum for agency planners features one-to-one meetings with suppliers who are matched to your needs. Delegates also get hosted dinners, evening entertainment, a two-night stay at Meliá White House and talks from Channel 4’s Head of Creative Diversity Naomi Sesay and EMC3’s Sustainability Consultant Matilda Riley, among others.

Event: International Confex
Date: 1 - 2 March
Location:  ExCeL London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, London E16
Website: https://www.international-confex.com/give-hand-confex

Why attend: With seven education stages including, (new for 2023) the 'Let’s Do London' theatre and 'The Power of Events' theatre, International Confex offers over 150 free-to-attend conference sessions. Discover 300+ exhibitors and grow your network by attending one of the event’s many networking sessions or just by hanging out at the bar located at the heart of the show-floor.

Event: ITB Berlin
Date: 7 - 9 March
Location:  Messe Berlin, Messedamm 22, 14055 Berlin
Website: https://www.itb.com/en/

Why attend: ITB Berlin has been an annual fixture in the world of business travel since 1966. It’s possibly the largest trade show for the travel industry and yet it’s surprisingly easy to navigate, with halls divided up by market tracks such as 'MICE', 'Business Travel', 'Travel Technology', 'Responsible Tourism', 'Luxury Tourism' and more. Over 180 destinations are represented and an adjoining conference (again organised into easy to navigate tracks) makes it a must-visit for all incentive and travel planners.

Event: British Tourism and Travel Show
Date: 22 - 23 March
Location:  The NEC, Perimeter Road, Birmingham B40 1NT
Website:  https://www.tourismshow.co.uk/

Why attend: Seeking travel inspiration for group tours across the British Isles? This show is bursting with ideas and exciting experiences for groups. Discover over 250 destinations and hidden treasures and attend free keynote presentations from leading brands and industry professionals.

Event: European Meetings & Events Conference (EMEC)
Date: 26 - 28 March
Location:  Hilton Brighton Metropole, Kings Rd, Brighton BN1 2FU
Website:  https://emec.mpi.org/event/a67bedff-3921-41be-b698-d25591efbec8/summary

Why attend: EMEC 2023 will bring members of MPI (Meeting Professionals International) together with qualified hosted buyers in Brighton to develop valuable business connections by participating in one-to-one meetings and networking. There’s a daily opportunity to experience a flight on the Brighton i360 attraction, which towers over the seafront at 138 metres in the air. Plus, there’s a comprehensive conference programme covering a range of topics from sustainability and the changing workplace to data, technology and the Metaverse.

Event: The BNC Show
Date: 19 April
Location:  Central Hall Westminster, Storey's Gate, London SW1H 9NH
Website:  https://bnceventshows.com/

Why attend: The BNC Show takes place twice a year so if you can’t make the April event, there’s a second chance in September, held at The HAC. At the Central Hall Westminster in April, you’ll have the chance to chat with hundreds of venues and suppliers while enjoying complimentary catering and fun experiences such as pamper treats. Every visitor also gets a glamorous gift to take home and is entered into a luxury prize draw.

Event: FinTech B2B Marketing Conference
Date: 26 April
Location:  Level39, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AB
Website:  https://fintechb2bmarketingconf2023.fintechb2bmarketing.com/

Why attend: This one-day event covers the latest themes in B2B Marketing impacting financial services and technology marketers. Topics to be covered by expert speakers on the day include market trends; macroeconomics; Web 3.0; demand generation and growth market strategies; digital transformation and hyper-personalisation. An afternoon session entitled ‘The new era for events marketing: In-person/ Virtual/ Hybrid or Experiential – How to cut through the noise and amplify impact?’  is a must-attend for planners.

Event: ITM Energise Conference
Date: 26 - 27 April
Location:  Hilton Brighton Metropole, Kings Rd, Brighton BN1 2FU
Website:  https://www.itm.org.uk/events/evt-000071

Why attend: If you’re a Business Member of the Institute of Travel Management (ITM), this is a great opportunity to join over 500 colleagues from the UK and Ireland’s business travel community to engage with content centred around three themes - Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Sustainability and Wellbeing. A black-tie gala dinner celebrates member impact with two awards for individuals who have made a significant contributions to the industry over the past year.

Event: Advertising Week Europe

Date: 16 - 18 May

Location: Picturehouse Central, Piccadilly Circus, Corner of Great Windmill Street and, Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 7DH

Website: https://advertisingweek.com/event/aweurope2023

Why attend: This is one for the marketers, eager to hear from some of the leading brands, media agencies, publishers and technology suppliers. However, if you’re an event planner who has ever wondered how a conference with 15 different tracks and more than 200 sessions would work across a multi-storey cinema complex in central London, Ad Week Europe is well worth experiencing from a logistics point-of-view as well.

Event: CMO Leadership Summit
Date: 22-24 May
Location:  Twickenham Stadium, 200 Whitton Road, Twickenham, TW2 7BA
Website:  https://quartznetwork.com/event/connect-cmo-uk-spring

Why attend: This two-day event is for senior-level marketers to connect, network and learn from their peers. You’ll enjoy exclusive networking events and a lineup of 30+ speakers who are shaping today’s marketing landscape. Your travel to and from the summit will be reimbursed and you’ll receive a complimentary hotel stay.

Event: IMEX Frankfurt
Date: 23 - 25 May
Location:  Messe Frankfurt, Ludwig-Erhard-Anlage 1 60327 Frankfurt, Germany
Website:  https://imex-frankfurt.com/

Why attend: IMEX claims to have the most flexible hosted buyer programme in the world. That means no matchmaking and no minimum number of meetings - just the freedom to make appointments with whichever exhibitors you choose. By being part of the hosted buyer programme, you get free flights from Europe and free four/five-star accommodation. In between meetings, explore more than 150 education sessions across six tracks ranging from 'Event Marketing' and 'Experience Design' to 'Technology, Trends and Research'.

Event: SITE Night Europe
Date: 22 May
Location:  Hochstraße 4, Frankfurt am Main Frankfurt DE, Hilton Frankfurt City Centre
Website: https://siteglobal.com/event/site-nite-europe

Why attend: If you’re in Frankfurt for IMEX why not take the opportunity to meet with around 500 incentive professionals from all over the world at SITE’s annual networking event, held the evening before the trade show opens.

Event: The Meetings Show / Business Travel Show Europe
Date: 28 - 29 June
Location:  ExCeL London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, London E16

Website: https://www.themeetingsshow.com/

Why attend: You get two exhibitions for the price of a London tube ticket when you visit The Meetings Show and Business Travel Show Europe. Actually, make that three exhibitions as the Travel Tech Show is now also co-located alongside the other two events aimed at MICE planners. By joining The Meetings Show’s hosted buyer programme, you’ll receive a pass to the pre-show conference and welcome reception on Tuesday 27th June, two-nights accommodation, 16 dedicated appointments and travel from within the UK and Europe.

Event: C&IT’s Festival of Forums
Date: 5 - 7 July
Location:  London (venue TBC)

Website: https://www.citfestivalofforums.com/

Why attend: Now in its second year, C&IT’s Festival of Forums is three days of content, meetings and site visits showcasing the best of what London has to offer. The inaugural event took place in Glasgow last year and had an agenda crammed full of industry professionals and round table sessions discussing the hottest industry topics.

Event: Associations World Congress
Date: 9 - 11 July
Location:  Palazzo degli Affari, Florence, Italy

Website: https://www.themeetingsshow.com/

Why attend: Open to leaders and event specialists employed directly by international or European associations, societies and federations, this invitation-only event sees delegates come together to discuss ‘driving value’ for their respective communities. Association planners have six 15-minute appointments with chosen suppliers over the two days, and this year’s programme is divided up into ‘strategy’ and ‘education’ tracks.

Event: Convening EMEA
Date: 20 - 22 September
Location:  Bella Center, Copenhagen, Denmark

Website: https://www.pcma.org/convening-emea/

Why attend: Convening EMEA is the Professional Convention Management Association’s (PCMA) annual EMEA flagship event. It brings together the global business events industry for an immersive three-day programme and this year it’s heading to the Danish capital. The event attracts 450+ business event leaders from over 40 countries to challenge each other and develop ways to move forward together. It is a platform to share knowledge, make meaningful connections, learn, do business, be inspired and to grow as an individual and organisation.

Event: Forrester B2B Summit EMEA

Date: 10 - 11 October

Location: InterContinental London - The O2, One Waterview Drive, Greenwich Peninsula, London, SE10 OTW

Website: https://www.forrester.com/event/b2b-summit-emea/

Why attend: The five conference tracks presented at B2B Summit EMEA (Lead, Develop, Operate, Deliver, Sell) are designed to help B2B marketers make smarter decisions and improve outcomes by aligning, advancing, and accelerating their organisations’ priorities. Insightful breakouts, hands-on case studies and inspiring keynotes all contribute to empowering the strategies of marketing, sales, and product leaders to foster results that surpass goals.

Event: World Travel Market (WTM)
Date: 6 - 8 November
Location:  ExCeL London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, London E16
Website:  https://www.wtm.com/london/en-gb.html

Why attend: WTM inspires and educates hundreds of thousands of travel professionals every year. Its conference programme covers every sector that matters in travel and features key insights and takeaways so that you can start applying these to your business straight away. This is an established show that has been bringing the global travel industry together since its launch in 1980.

Event: GBTA Conference Hamburg, in partnership with VDR
Date: 14 - 16 November
Location: Congress Center Hamburg, Congressplatz 120355 Hamburg

Website: https://europeconference.gbta.org/

Why attend: GBTA’s European annual conference is for business travel and meetings management professionals. It features curated topics, insightful speakers and a raft of opportunities to network and participate in training and professional development. There’s also an opportunity to join a morning running tour for the chance to explore Hamburg's fascinating history and meet fellow delegates with a passion for running.

Event: Martech Summit

Date: 15 - 16 November

Location: London (venue TBC)

Website: https://themartechsummit.com/london/

Why attend: With an attendance of over 85% senior leadership positions, this two-day summit is the place to meet and network with CMOs. It offers a programme filled with case studies, panel discussions, fireside chats, keynotes & Q&As on the latest MarTech trends and topics and the afternoon keynote on the first day is all about creating a winning hybrid events strategy.

Event: Event Tech Live
Date: 15 - 16 November
Location:  ExCeL London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, London E16

Website: https://eventtechlive.com/london/

Why attend: Celebrate the tenth anniversary edition of this unique trade show dedicated solely to event technology. As well as two in-person days featuring more than 100 education sessions, delegates also receive content available on-demand and the opportunity to make video appointments with exhibitors across the full working week.

Event: IBTM World
Date: 28 - 30 November
Location:  Fira Barcelona, Gran Via Location,Av. Joan Carles I,08908 L'Hospitalet de Llobregat,Barcelona

Website: https://www.ibtmworld.com/

Why attend: Not only will you feel the warmth of the Catalan winter sun, you’ll also have an opportunity to speak with over 3,000 global destinations along with a raft of venues and suppliers. As a hosted buyer you’ll receive an online personalised diary to manage your appointments, complimentary four/five-star accommodation, access to exclusive networking opportunities, and the chance to apply for a post-event tour to a global meetings destination.

Event: B2B Marketing Expo
Date: 29 - 30 November
Location:  ExCeL London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, London E16

Website: https://www.b2bmarketingexpo.co.uk/

Why attend: This dedicated exhibition for B2B marketers is co-located with Marketing Technology Expo and offers a glimpse into the future of marketing. Alongside 200 exhibitors, the event features sessions on everything from Programmatic Advertising to Automation and from Social Media Trends to Content Marketing along with chances to experience some truly cutting-edge technology first-hand.

When planning your Europe events calendar for the year ahead, don't forget to keep an eye out for updates on our annual flagship user conference, Cvent CONNECT Europe. The event brings together meetings, events and hospitality professionals, with a jam-packed conference programme packed with expert insights on topics ranging from sustainability to event strategy and industry trends. 

For a taste of what to expect later this year, watch select 2022 sessions on-demand here.

Mike Fletcher

Mike Fletcher

Mike has been writing about the meetings and events industry for almost 20 years as a former editor at Haymarket Media Group, and then as a freelance writer and editor. He currently runs his own content agency, Slippy Media, catering for a wide-range of client requirements, including social strategy, long-form, event photography, event videography, reports, blogs and ghost-written material.
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