More Than Mickey Mouse: A Look at Orlando Trade Shows

Orlando trade shows bring thousands of guests to the Sunshine State each year. Learn why Orlando is a trade show destination....
Morgan Robbins
April 1, 2019

Sure, Orlando has Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and the whole Magic Kingdom, but it has more to offer than big mouse ears and castles. In addition to more than a dozen amusement parks, Disney World and Universal Studios included, Orlando is one of the largest trade show and exhibition cities in the United States. Don’t miss out on an Orlando trade show that could prove beneficial to your work and business.

Orlando is typically considered a family vacation destination but has plenty of incentives to make it a powerhouse in the trade show and expo industry. Check it off for year-round tropical weather, a major international airport, and an overabundance of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. If you’re ready to combine work with a trip to the Sunshine State, take a look at some of the top Orlando trade shows and connect with R+L Global to help you prepare. 

Orlando as a Trade Show City

Trade shows are located in a multitude of cities across the United States, such as Las Vegas, Chicago, and New Orleans. Orlando is right next to those destinations and is at the top of the list for cities with trade show related events and travel.
EXHIBITOR is an award-winning magazine at the forefront of trade show and corporate event education. Their 2018 Travel and Accommodations Survey revealed that traveling businesspeople spend, on average, almost seven weeks throughout the year traveling to trade shows and corporate events in and out of the country.
The survey consisted of about 200 exhibit and event professionals and sought to determine both the most frequently visited cities and favorite business-travel cities. Orlando was ranked number 2 for most frequently visited and number 7 for favorite trade show cities. Las Vegas, Chicago, San Diego, Washington D.C., and Nashville were all close by on the lists.
Orlando has many of the same offerings as the other cities: excellent dining, shopping, and local entertainment. What puts it at the top of both lists though, is the near-perfect weather of every season and the profusion of attractions, amusements, and activities that go on daily.

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Where are Orlando Trade Shows Located?Where are Orlando Trade Shows Located

The Orange County Convention Center hosts almost all of the Orlando trade shows and expos that take place in The City Beautiful. Due to the number of trade shows and conventions that take place in Orlando, it should be no surprise that it is the second largest convention facility in the United States.
The OCCC is located in a large, central tourist area of Orlando and has a plethora of space for vendors and visitors. Attendees receive a unique experience within the OCCC, as the exhibition space caps out at 2,100,000 square feet, plus the 74 meeting rooms, lecture hall, theater, and copious amount of on-site parking.
Exhibitors and attendees in the Southeast United States are able to minimize travel costs by its relatively close proximity to most of the southern states while still being involved with internationally recognized trade shows. In addition, there is generally more budget flexibility in Orlando than other prominent trade show meccas because Florida is a right-to-work state. Due to its size, the trade shows held at the OCCC have a profuse amount of exhibitors, attendees, and net square footage.

Which are the Best Orlando Trade Shows?Which are the Best Trade Shows in Orlando

There are a lot of trade shows to choose from, but the Orlando expos below will ensure you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck. You get a little bit of everything in Orlando, from science and technology, arts and entertainment, and trade and construction, so there is sure to be an industry convention that fits your needs.

Science and Technology Trade Shows in Orlando

The science and technology fields take up a large place in the world of trade shows and expos. Emerging technology and improvements change every year, making it a constantly evolving industry that is crucial for professional players to take note of in order to stay current.  

HIMSS Global Conference & Exhibition

The Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society (HIMSS) organizes the annual conference, which pulls over 40,000 professionals from the health IT industry. The expo focuses heavily on education within the field and hosts world-class speakers as well as cutting-edge health IT products.
Clinicians, executives, and vendors can network throughout the 300+ educational programs, such as keynotes, roundtable discussions, workshops, and thought-leader sessions. The 18,000 attendees have over 500,000 square feet of product to navigate and over 1,200 exhibitors to choose from as they explore the conference.

InfoComm International

InfoComm is produced by AVIXA, the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, and is held in Orlando every other odd year. It’s the largest annual conference and expo in North America for audiovisual information and technology industry professionals. The expo has 500,000+ net square feet of exhibits,1,000+ vendors, and 44,000+ attendees all dedicated to the audiovisual field.
It is a global event as attendees come from all 50 U.S. states and more than 100 countries to interact with the latest technology and education. InfoComm provides exposure to networking receptions, training, hands-on workshops, and new solutions among manufacturers, dealers, and audiovisual professionals.  

POWER-GEN International

The POWER-GEN International exhibition, put on by Clarion Events,  is comprised of professionals from all areas of the power generation industry. Areas represented include nuclear power, generators, renewable energy, utilities, and solution-providers that are involved in several fields of power generation. The expo has 195,000+ net square feet, 800+ exhibitors, and 8,900+ attendees.
It provides an interactive experience that is personalized for the attendees to connect with the latest innovation and technology from within the standard and renewable markets. POWER-GEN includes 70+ conferences, industry expert panel discussions, and numerous networking events. The summit gives information on content that ranges from niche technologies, economy and policies, clean and sustainable energy sources, and both conventional and emerging content.

NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition

Like several other expos on this list, the NBAA-BACE splits its time between Orlando and Las Vegas. The National Business Aviation Association’s Convention rotates between the two cities and is considered the most important event of the year for the business aviation industry.
It also happens to be the third largest trade show in the United States, boasting over 900 vendors and 900 thousand net square feet of space for exhibitors and attendees. Over 23 thousand industry professionals attend the show to see new technology and products that won’t be available until the following year. Flight department employees, potential business aircraft owners, manufacturers, product/service providers, young professionals, and students are all key aviation contacts among the attendees for the show.  

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NPE – The Plastics Show

This expo is all about the future of plastics. NPE is presented by the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS), a leader in the plastics field for 70+ years.  It gives exclusive access to the entire field of plastics, including the people, science, processes, ideas, innovations, emerging technologies, and anything else that is related to plastics.
It covers more than 1.2 million net square feet, has 2,000+ exhibitors, and brings in 35,000+ attendees. Participants and purchasers come from over 100 countries and 20,000+ companies that cover the entire supply chain spectrum of global plastics. The NPE is the world’s leading plastics trade show where attendees can navigate through the full array of equipment, resources, tools, products, and machinery within the plastics industry.

Arts and Entertainment Trade Shows in OrlandoArts and Entertainment Trade Shows in Orlando

It can’t be all collared and button-up shirts all the time, right? Even fun industries have trade shows! There’s not a better city for an amusement park or golf trade show than Orlando. Those industries are covered, plus a few more.

IAAPA Attractions Expo

This expo fits perfectly in Orlando as it focuses on permanent amusement attractions. The  International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA) is aimed at owners and operators of:

  • Amusement parks
  • Theme parks
  • Family entertainment centers
  • Zoos
  • Aquariums
  • Water parks
  • Science centers
  • Museums
  • Historical sites
  • Resorts
  • Campgrounds
  • Fairgrounds
  • Carnivals
  • Rental companies

The IAAPA Attractions Expo is held in Orlando every year and focuses on business growth and attraction safety by providing industry expertise on the newest technology, products, and services. It features 550,000 net square feet, 30,000+ attendees, and 1,100+ exhibitors. Learn how to navigate freight services to IAAPA

PGA Merchandise Show

With more than 1,400 golf courses, Florida is all about golf, making Orlando the perfect place for the PGA Merchandise Show. Golf industry professionals gather from across the world once a year to attend the expo and network with other professionals, learn more about the newest merchandise, and gain knowledge about the business side of golf.
Golf professionals, course owners, pro-shop managers, and golf instructors are all among the 40,000+ attendees from 70+ countries and across 350,000+ net square feet. Reed Exhibitions U.S.A.hosts the golf industry’s foremost trade-only event. It also includes special events like fashion shows, a test center for equipment, an area just for new products, and educational sessions led by world-class golf instructors.

Surf Expo

Just like golf, you won’t find a much better place for a surf expo than in Florida. This expo takes place twice a year, in January and September, and is the largest and longest-running boardsports and beach/resort lifestyle tradeshow in the world.
The show has about 260,000 net square feet with 1,000+ exhibitors, 28,600+ attendees, and 9,500+ storefronts. Buyer and specialty stores come from around the world, including the United States, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. Surf Expo features apparel and goods, as well as special events like fashion shows, award ceremonies, and demos.
Global Pet Expo

Global Pet Expo is a premier industry event held annually in Orlando and is the world’s largest annual trade show for pet products. It is hosted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) and Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA) and is open to qualified professionals, such as independent retailers, distributors, and mass-market buyers.
The pet expo has 1,100+ exhibitors, 3,500+ booths, 3,000+ new product launches, and 340,000+ net square feet. Companies come from across the globe and showcase the freshest, most innovative pet products that are both currently in the market and just released to the public. The most qualified pet product buyers in the industry attend, nearing 6,000 in total, and many exhibits include pets and animals that you can interact with.

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Premiere Orlando

Premiere Orlando and Premiere DAYSPA  International Beauty Event is the largest beauty show in the United States and the industry’s most important trade show for providing education, networking opportunities, and industry innovation. Licensed professionals are able to connect with manufacturers and distributors of hair, nail, and skincare products.
Premiere Show Group hosts the event, which has 55,000+ attendees, 850+ attendees, 650+ classes, and 330,000+ net square feet. The attendees represent all 50 states, plus 44 countries, and helps to advance the careers of beauty professionals by providing free classes that showcase premium education in hair, nails, day spa, and business. The beauty event is a hub of knowledge about new techniques, trends, and products.  

The Rental Show

The American Rental Association (ARA) organizes this annual Orlando trade show, which is for the equipment and event rental profession. The location moves from year-to-year but is held every few years in Orlando. It covers 275,000+ net square feet, has 6,000+ attendees, and 700+ exhibitors.
The Rental Show covers many different types of equipment within the industry, such as equipment for construction/industrial, general tools/lighting, and parties/special events. It provides 300+ show-only specials, educational seminars, and the ability to network with many industry peers.

Specialty Trade and Construction Orlando Trade ShowsSpecialty Trade and Construction Trade Shows in Orlando

Expos aren’t just for white collars and fun-in-the-sun types. After all, you need a building, an interior, and sign in front of your business. These trade shows are large, and in charge, of their respective fields.

NAHB International Builders’ Show

This one is all about residential housing construction. Manufacturers and suppliers of products and services for home construction are sure to benefit from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) largest annual trade show. The event splits its time between Orlando and Las Vegas, so double-check the location before heading to this one.
It has 570,000 net square footage, 50,000+ attendees, and 1,500+ vendors. Exhibitors come from across the globe for this construction trade show and often use the expo as a launching pad for new or updated products to make a splash in the industry.

Coverings

This Orlando convention is the largest ceramic tile and natural stone trade expo in the country. It is the place to introduce and showcase the latest and greatest ceramic, tile, and stone products and trends.
Taffy Event Strategies organizes the show, which has 450,000+ net square footage, 1,100+ exhibitors, and 26,000+ attendees. Attendees come from over 90 countries to network and further their knowledge about tile and stone. They specialize in various fields of the industry and include:

  • Fabricators
  • Distributors and Retailers
  • Architects and Designers
  • Builders and Remodelers
  • Contractors and Installers

The Orlando trade show has many opportunities for continuing education with more than 50 conference sessions and more than  75 accredited seminars and live demos. Coverings is one of the few events in the industry that provides such educational opportunities at no cost and even has varying formats to accommodate different learning styles.

ISA International Sign Expo

Another expo that rotates between Orlando and Las Vegas, the ISA Sign Expo is held by the International Sign Association and is the place for everything related to signs, graphics, prints, and the visual communications industry. Signage products covered also include wide format and 3D printing, digital signage, product line accessories, unique applications, LED signage, vehicle wrapping, and new printing ideas for substrates.
It takes up 220,000+ net square feet, with 580+ exhibitors and 20,000+ attendees. The Orlando trade show also holds educational sessions and networking events with other industry professionals to learn more about product problem solutions and gain connections in the field.

Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials?
Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

Where Do I Stay While I’m at the Expo?

The Orange County Convention Center is conveniently located for optimal parking, dining, shopping, and staying accommodations. The OCCC is a short drive from the Orlando International Airport and also a short drive or walk to world-class fare and food, shopping, and numerous entertainment choices.
Hotel rooms are a quick jaunt away, with approximately 10,000 rooms in close relation to the Convention Center. Don’t worry about your car either! The district has more than 23,000 parking sites both on-site and off-site.
Many hotels connect to the OCCC with adjoining pedestrian bridges and you’re able to use complimentary pedicabs to transport yourself to the many entrances. You can use one of four approved taxi companies to pick you up at the Convention Center to take you to your destination.
The Convention Center now offers an app, the OCCC Campus Wayfinding app, that you can download to gain easy access to walking directions, parking locations, a building directory, and more special features.

Need Help with your Orlando Trade Show Logistics?

R+L Global Logistics are experts in the intricacies of Orlando trade show logistics. We know the most efficient way to move in and out of any location and your shipment is always a priority to us! Our services include:

  • Domestic and international shipping
  • Truckload and less than truckload (LTL) shipping
  • Warehousing and storage
  • Packaging and crating
  • Shipment tracking
  • 24/7 live support

We understand the importance of getting your equipment and goods to the Orlando trade show on time and in excellent condition. We offer superior service to guarantee your satisfaction and can assist you at any point in the transportation process. Contact us through chat, email, or a phone call at 866-415-8986 so we can start handling your trade show shipping and Orlando trade show needs.

Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials? Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

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