First time exhibitors from across the world, the US and from all sectors of the industry will be among more than 3000 organisations exhibiting at the Las Vegas show this year.
They include many North American destinations, namely Alabama, Albuquerque, Destination Michigan, Oklahoma, Reno-Sparks CVB, Rochester, Travel Tacoma and Pierce County and Visit Spokane.
Other exhibitors new to IMEX America are Global Gifting, Hanoi Department of Tourism, HB Hospitality, Legends Attractions, Slovenian Tourist Board, and World Experts DMC.
As the meetings market’s appetite for technology grows, so does the variety of tech companies exhibiting. This year Bizly, EventBank, Event Collab, Loopd Inc. (winner of last year’s #IMEXpitch tech start-up competition), MeetingHand and Scout20 are all new. They add to the wealth of technology solutions on show for meetings planners, which cover event apps, registration systems, social media, software, video and more. This provides the opportunity to see and experience a whole range of tech solutions in one place.
Other exhibitors stepping up their show floor presence with bigger booths include the Nashville CVB, NYC & Company, San Francisco and Travel Portland together with a bevy of hotels including Commune Hotels & Resorts, FRI Hotels & Resorts, Preferred Hotel Group, and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.
New Senior Level Professional Development
IMEX America’s renowned education program runs all week after its usual intensive professional development start on Oct 17, Smart Monday, powered by MPI. The first of the daily MPI keynotes along with a new Association Focus program, PCMA’s Business School and the extended Executive Meetings Forum are among Smart Monday’s big learning opportunities.
A new Senior Planners Open Forum has just been confirmed to run throughout the show for planners with 10+ years’ experience. These facilitated, crowd-sourced sessions will provide senior planners with an opportunity to exchange ideas and challenges on a range of topics from leading a team to proving the value of the meeting department.
Hosted buyer services at the show have been extended with the introduction of three new zones within the hosted buyer lounge. Each zone is supported by an exhibiting sponsor. The Hyatt Regency Recharge Zone will offer massages, manicures and cell phone recharging while Atlantis is offering a Relax Zone and Turkish Airlines are supporting the reception area and concierge services. Together the zones enhance the quality of the show experience for hosted buyers, allowing them to rest, recharge and refuel before heading off for their next appointment.
Online schedules are now open. These give all pre-registered hosted buyers and buyer attendees full access to the show’s appointment system, which provides them with a personal online schedule through which to make exhibitor appointments. The schedules are often booked up quickly, so buyers are being encouraged to confirm key appointments as soon as possible and send RFPs in good time. This will enable them to make the most of their time by arranging all their business meetings and schedule in all the education sessions they want to attend.
Zenvoy’s new ‘buyer to buyer’ networking service which facilitates introductions between buyers who share common attributes is also free for all hosted buyers and buyer attendees. In addition, the hosted buyer lounge will feature a new Networking Hub with the IMEX hosted buyer team facilitating networking sessions at key times throughout the show.
The show’s hallmark hosted buyer program is boosted this year by the addition of 17 new hosted buyer groups, brought to the show by Accor UK & France, ESA Latin America, HB Hospitality, Marriott Canada, Melia Hotels International - Southeast, Sandals, Signature Boston, SmithBucklin and Visit Park City.
First Ever CSR sponsor
CSR has also come of age with the Costa Rica Tourism Board confirmed as the show’s first ever main CSR sponsor, supported by four contributing sponsors: AlliedPRA, Exclusive Destinations & 3D Cruise Partners and GES. Their engagement helps support the show’s CSR & Sustainability Showcase, including a Clean the World Station, the ‘Badge-Back’ recycling program and Garbage Grabbers - Clean Up Las Vegas. This new Monday afternoon volunteer program invites attendees to help clean up Sunset Park.
Finally returning by popular demand -- but always bringing fresh energy and learnings -- are the Play Room (presented by Play with a Purpose) and the Be Well Lounge (sponsored by Hilton).
Industry ‘giving back’ continues to be a major theme of the week with the MPI Foundation Rendezvous, Site Nite North America and the CEIR Golf Tournament all returning to the show.
Other timeless favorites during the week include Association Evening, CIC Hall of Leaders and Pacesetter Awards, the DMC Network and Ovation Talent Search, the IMEXrun (developed by Case Imagine) and #IMEXpitch.
Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group commented; “We continually research and monitor buyers’ changing requirements and endeavour to respond to them. The online schedules, the enhanced networking opportunities and the new senior education formats are designed to meet their needs, while giving them control over their time at the show. The opportunities to do business, learn and make connections as well as to give back to the local community are greater than ever.”