Organiser's Guide - Associations

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Organiser's Guide - Associations

Joining an industry organisation can make you a better organiser. Here's how to find one that fits.

Becoming part of an association is an excellent way to meet new suppliers or learn from the experts to develop your event management skills. But finding the right association for you is not as simple as it may, at first, appear.

For starters, try typing ‘Events Industry Associations’ into Google and you’ll be amazed by the number of different organisations that pop up. Trade body acronyms tend to be quite confusing, so you might also struggle to make sense of the results. Take the Events Industry Alliance (EIA) for example. Its description reads: ‘The EIA is a business created by three event industry bodies – ESSA, AEO and AEV.’ Not very descriptive, that, is it? And, while three for the price of one may appear an attractive offer, this association isn’t actually as all-encompassing as it first appears. Unless you’re looking to meet predominantly trade and consumer exhibition organisers, exhibition stand contractors or venue managers, this may not be right association for you.

So which associations should an event planner seek out to, say, develop a better understanding of live marketing, source new ideas and venues? Or to network with like-minded bookers who are responsible for the office Christmas and summer party or booking private dining rooms? These are our top three recommendations.


The International Special Events Society is a global network of more than 5,000 events professionals, weighted heavily in the US. The UK chapter is made up of around 150 party planners and suppliers. They meet monthly to connect, share ideas and to hear from relevant speakers on subjects designed to inspire or improve their businesses. In short, ISES is a social environment to get creative ideas and to build numerous supplier relationships.


Meeting Professionals International is a huge global network, comprising more than 21,000 members belonging to 71 chapters and clubs worldwide. Its UK and Ireland chapter consists of venue managers, agencies, destination management companies and anyone prepared to help ensure that standards within the meetings industry are upheld. MPI offers a wealth of resources to help with strategic planning of meetings. An online archive provides material to help justify the effectiveness of developing a company meetings strategy.


Eventia provides its UK and European members with networking and training opportunities, as well as research, support and advice. It offers an online directory of over 280 approved members, including organisers, agencies and suppliers. The company collaborates with The Hotel Booking Agents Association on a joint training programme and the International Visual Communications Association to share member benefits.