IMEX America, the newest trade show for the meetings, incentive travel and events industry, lived up to its promise of delivering high-quality business, networking and professional education over the past four days at the Venetian®, The Palazzo® and Sands Expo in Las Vegas.
Thursday afternoon, the show's innovator and IMEX Group chairman, Ray Bloom expressed his delight that the first show had gone so well and a received such worldwide positive reaction from the industry.
Reiterating a comment made earlier in the week by MPI's president and CEO Bruce MacMillan, Bloom said, "We have successfully delivered a new, collaborative business model, which is not a US trade show in Las Vegas but a truly global marketplace in America plus a tremendous education program. That was always our vision but, of course, over the past four days thousands of industry professionals have been able to see and experience it for themselves. They now completely understand what we set out to do and have appreciated the fresh dimension it has brought to the industry here in the U.S."
One aspect of IMEX America that sets it apart is the educational content provided to delegates. The education was provided by MPI—the strategic partner of IMEX America.
As Bruce MacMillan had expressed before Wednesday morning's keynote session, "Having packed-out sessions at our own education conference is one thing. Having packed-out sessions at a trade show is unheard of. That's the big difference. MPI and IMEX America have changed the value proposition here in Vegas this week."
And in tandem with the high-quality education was the value of new business relationships forged on the IMEX America trade show floor.
Bloom gave the example of the SECC (Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre) who received a booking for a 12,000-delegate event from a buyer who simply arrived on the day without an appointment looking to place the event outside the U.S. for the first time.
Another exhibitor, Michelle Saran, executive director of the Canadian Tourism Commission commented, "We've had many one-on-one appointments and I haven't seen a booth this busy in North America for years and years. Our team pre-planned appointments, but we've also had a lot of people walking on to the stand for ad-hoc meetings."
By the numbers:
• There were 2,000 hosted buyers, 1,700 attendees and nearly 2,000 exhibitors.
• There were more than 800 U.S. companies represented
• 53% of hosted buyers attending had budgets in excess of US$1 million.
• More than 30,000 total appointments were made before and during the show including 23,930 individual appointments.
• Downloads of the IMEX mobile app (which was developed by IMEX, MPI and QuickMobile and sponsored by Freeman) also reached impressive user levels with 2,050 people using the app to enhance their show experience.