Last fall’s inaugural IMEX America had everything: more than 140exhibitors, a wide range of education, a setting in one of the world’s most convention-friendly cities, partnerships with every event industry organization under the sun (or so it seemed!), and—maybe most important—a meeting and incentive community that was fed up with three years of recession and eager to get back to business.
Held in Las Vegas last October, IMEX America drew 3,700 attendees (including some 2,000 hosted buyers) and nearly 2,000 exhibitors. By all accounts, it was a fantastic launch of a new show.
But that’s nothing compared to this year. IMEX America will add a second hall at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in order to accommodate new and expanded exhibitor booths. As of mid-July, one in five exhibitors from the first show had booked bigger booths for this year (and half of those are more than doubling their space).
Also to date, 40 new booths have joined the show, and more are still expected. A few of the new destinations this year are: Charlotte, N.C.; Jackson Hole, Wyo.; Seattle; the U.S. Virgin Islands; Abu Dhabi; Peru; and Madrid. New participants in the technology section of the show include etouches, Showcare Event Management, and SignUp4.
IMEX Group Chairman Ray Bloom also expects an increase in hosted buyers this year, to well over 2,000, which he attributes to IMEX America partners and intermediaries wanting to bring larger hosted groups because of the positive feedback from their clients after the 2011 event.
Hosted buyers must place business internationally as well as in the United States. The IMEX America hosted-buyer program includes flights from selected destinations; overnight accommodations; transfers between the airport, hotel, and if you qualify and how to apply for the program.; hosted buyer lounge access; exclusive registration facilities at the show; plus access to the IMEX Online Schedule. To qualify for the program, buyers must meet strict criteria and commit to attending eight appointments per day at the show with exhibitors of their choice. Find out
Streamlined Communication and Other Changes
In response to extensive feedback from hosted buyers and buyer-attendees following the inaugural IMEX America, the IMEX Group is introducing some changes and new features this year.
• One E-mail a Day
Attendees who use the IMEX online appointment-scheduling system this year will have a personalized IMEX inbox, which will collect all supplier messages to buyers in a single inbox at the IMEX Web site. The system then will generate just one aggregated e-mail per day to each buyer. According to IMEX, this should help buyers manage all exhibitor information and invitations to receptions and special events more easily.
• Free Wi-Fi
IMEX will extend the use of free Wi-Fi throughout the Sands Expo to all buyers.
• Free shuttle bus service
Free shuttle-bus service is being extended to non-hosted buyer attendees between their hotels, the Sands Expo, and McCarran airport.
• Travel Discounts
For non-hosted buyers, headquarters hotel The Venetian/The Palazzo will offer bookings at $139 with no resort fee. Airline discounts are also available on Delta, IMEX America’s Official Airline.
• More Campfires
Be on the lookout for “campfires” in the Tech Pavilion and Inspiration Center on the show floor throughout the show day. These are intimate, 30-minute sessions on a wide range of topics from RFPs, to meeting architecture, to QR codes, to productivity tools, to creative thinking and much more.
• More Networking
Several new networking receptions in 2012 will provide more opportunities for expanding professional business networks. Education partner Meeting Professionals International, for one, has planned a new early evening reception for the end of Smart Monday October 8.
Smart Start on Smart Monday
Meeting Professionals International, IMEX’s strategic education partner, will provide keynote speakers and a full day of education October 8, free to all buyers and suppliers, before the trade show opens. Topics covered in breakout sessions include:
• Global meetings management
• Doing more with less
• Technology tools
Association Focus Adds Depth
Smart Monday also features Association Focus 2012, a day of education and networking for association executives and meeting professionals. The day starts with a networking brunch and keynote presentation by Mark Sanborn, author of The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary.The book appeared on the New York Times, Business Week, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists, and its sequel, Fred 2.0,will be released in early 2013.
Following are breakout sessions in three tracks: executive (sponsored by ASAE), global (sponsored by the International Convention and Congress Association), and meetings (sponsored by the Professional Convention Management Association).
Late in the day, two roundtable sessions will provide a great opportunity for interaction, networking, and problem solving around crowd-sourced issues. Once registered, attendees will select the topics they want to talk about—possibilities include association management companies versus professional congress organizers, global partnerships, VAT issues, the science of meeting design, hybrid meetings, and creating brand awareness. The most popular topics will get table discussions. View all of choices at the IMEX America Association Day Web site.
Association Focus concludes with the popular Association Evening networking dinner, attended by all registrants of the day of education (and other interested association buyers) plus a select group of exhibitors from the organizations sponsoring Association Focus.
IMEX has numerous partnerships with meeting and travel industry associations. Find the full list here.
How to Register
IMEX America takes place October 9–11 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center at The Venetian and The Palazzo in Las Vegas. Free buyer attendee registration is open at the IMEX America Web site.