Pest Management Professional (PMP) interviewed the National Pest Management Association’s (NPMA’s) Alexis Wirtz, CMP, senior VP of conventions and meetings, about the association’s plan that “the show will go on” — PestWorld 2020 — despite the coronavirus pandemic. In early May, just a few weeks before opening attendee registration, the NPMA announced it will decide by Aug. 1 whether this year’s conference and expo will be an in-person or virtual event. PestWorld 2020 is currently set to take place Oct. 13-16 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn.
1. Have there been discussions about what PestWorld 2020 will look like this year if it’s held in person?
The safety of our attendees and exhibitors is our top priority. We will follow best practices that are being developed and tested by hotels and convention centers worldwide. Our overarching goal is to provide the PestWorld experience, while maintaining the safety of all participants.
2. If PestWorld 2020 is held as a virtual conference and expo, how will industry suppliers showcase their products and people? Will there be “show hours” and set schedules for educational sessions and virtual events? Or will it function more like a webinar, in which attendees can experience PestWorld 2020 live and/or via an archived version online?
As the world is navigating this new landscape together, we are using the next few months to research all options.
3. At press time in mid-May, how many exhibitors had NPMA signed up for PestWorld 2020?
We have more than 100 exhibitors already signed up for PestWorld 2020. Last year, PestWorld had more than 3,700 attendees, including about 1,000 staffers from our 220 exhibiting companies. While we strive to increase PestWorld’s number of attendees each year, we understand the current pandemic may affect those numbers for 2020.
4. Will you be able to announce who your PestWorld 2020 keynote speakers will be, regardless of the selected event format?
Yes, our program of events is 95 percent complete. We will be updating the NPMA website in the coming weeks with a full schedule of PestWorld 2020 events.
5. Any final thoughts as we try to navigate through the pandemic?
The NPMA will do everything in its power to bring the best PestWorld experience to our attendees in October. With the health and wellbeing of our attendees and exhibitors as our top priority, we will explore all possibilities to maximize the event experience while keeping everyone safe.
Find updates about other industry events impacted by COVID-19: Pandemic affects status of industry events
Read more COVID-19 coverage here: MyPMP.net/COVID-19