The promotional products industry’s largest and longest-running trade show, The PPAI Expo, draws attendees from across the industry and the world.

The PPAI Expo has returned to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas this week, marking its 15th year at the state-of-the-art venue, and drawing thousands of suppliers, distributors, reps and business services companies from across North America and around the globe.

The show continues its reign as the promotional products industry’s largest and longest-running trade show; PPAI’s first show was held in 1914 with 32 exhibitors.


Nearly 1,300 exhibiting companies have set up more than 3,100 booths on The Expo’s trade-show floor.

On Sunday, nearly 1,300 exhibiting companies began setting up in more than 3,100 booths on the expansive 870,000-square-foot show floor. The single-floor layout, which debuted at the 2016 show as part of Mandalay Bay’s $66 million expansion, will again this year put all exhibitors conveniently on a single level.

Thousands of distributors are expected to surge through the doors on Tuesday morning in search of products and ideas to present to clients, and new supplier sources to help them solve problems and grow their businesses. Historically, The PPAI Expo is the industry’s kick-off point for the new sales year providing thousands of products, ideas, solutions and resources to continue to grow the $20.8 billion industry.

Recent reports have shown that optimism among small-business owners is up so far this year and the increased distributor pre-registrations for this show appear to reflect that positive outlook for business.


The Expo’s extensive education schedule began on Sunday with sessions, including Mary Ellen Sokalski, MAS, speaking on marketing smart in a tight economy.

“PPAI evolved its marketing plans to be more strategic in increasing our distributor attendance,” says Darel Cook, PPAI’s director of expositions. “The efforts included more direct marketing to individual salespeople within the distributor companies. These efforts resulted in 13,000 distributors who pre-registered, a 10-percent increase over 2016. We expect a strong distributor showing, making the 2017 Expo a great success.”

Along with the trade show itself, The PPAI Expo is where industry practitioners come for their professional development as well. More than 100 education programs will be delivered throughout the week; most are free to PPAI members and to nonmembers with a ticket.

Today’s schedule features free education workshops from noon to 5:30 pm and paid sessions from noon to 4 pm—all on Level 2. Today’s Education Luncheon runs from 11:45 am to 1:15 pm in the Mandalay Bay Ballroom J (tickets must be purchased), and is followed by the free Keynote Session Power Keynotes from 3 to 5 pm also in Mandalay Bay Ballroom J.

The trade show opens at staggered times on Tuesday with the Product Pavilion Sneak Peek from 8 to 9 am on Level 1, Bayside F, followed by opening of the brand. pavilion in the same location at 9 am and the remainder of the show floor opening at 10 am. Click below for a special message from PPAI chair Tom Goos, MAS.