Event Management

IMEX America: 10 Reasons To Attend in 2019

Skift Take

IMEX America is the largest trade show for event planners in North America. Here is what you need to know before you go, including events and schedule.

I attended IMEX Frankfurt for the first time in 2012. It was an amazing experience. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to be at IMEX America a year later.

It is very difficult to get me excited about trade shows. It is no secret I am not a big fan of them. Lots of screaming, lots of offline spam.

What is IMEX America?

IMEX America is the largest tradeshow for event planners in North America. IMEX America happens at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas (USA), September 10-12, 2019.

Starting November 2021, IMEX America will move to the Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas.

IMEX has managed to fix most of trade shows’ popular pet peeves. And that has a special value. Events for #eventprofs not only need to deliver a great experience, but they also need to carry the intrinsic responsibility of educating peers on how to innovate. IMEX has not let its audience down.

IMEX is based on the concept of hosted buyers, qualified event professionals with purchasing powers that are reimbursed to attend the show in exchange for meetings with exhbitors. IMEX has a reputation for having nailed this format.

What does IMEX stand for?

IMEX stands for Worldwide Exhibition for Incentive Travel, Meetings and Events

Who Organizes IMEX America?

IMEX was founded by IMEX Exhibitions. The chairman and founder is Ray Bloom. The current CEO is Carina Bauer, one of the most succesful leaders in the vent industry.

IMEX America Numbers

Last year, the show brought in:

  • 12,389 total participants including exhibitors
  • 3,390 exhibiting companies representing 150 countries
  • 60,000 prescheduled appointments
  • 3,286 hosted buyers from 61 countries
  • 2,566 trade attendees from 62 countries

What’s New at IMEX in 2019?

Here is a great video that sums it up:

10 reasons to attend IMEX

So what is so special about this show to make it an unmissable appointment for #eventprofs? Let’s have a look at 10 reasons why you should not miss it.

10. Hosted Buyer With EventMB

We are very excited to have partnered with IMEX to bring our own group of innovative event professionals to IMEX America. If you apply (remember to use only this link) with us, you will get access to exclusive opportunities such as:

  • Attend our first annual Insights event with the most anticipated trends update of the year
  • Meet like-minded, innovation-friendly event professionals
  • Get access to a selection of the most forward-thinking exhibitors

You will travel as a hosted buyer and travel, accommodation and transfers will be provided. Learn more about the IMEX hosted buyer programme.

9. You get to attend the Event Innovation Lab™

The Event Innovation Lab™ is our special program dedicated to Insights Members.

We are hosting two special events in Frankfurt and Las Vegas you can join.

s. This immersive event will give you a decade of proven growth strategies, tactics and real-life examples over a half day. Attendance is free and by application only.

I forgot to mention it is for planners only and it is FREE.

8. It’s a Source of Inspiration

I remember I got the idea of writing The Event App Bible, while at IMEX. I was speaking to several event professionals and startups and I immediately recognized the need for such an ebook.

This year we are stepping it up with exclusive content developed in partnership with the show.

By putting buyers and top notch suppliers in one room, IMEX sparks innovation, inspiration and serendipitous education experiences. This is also reflected online where the newly launched Online Inspiration Hub will give you the freshest news and commentary about our industry.

The Inspiration Hub is a daily read for me, as I know I will find one of the best curated lists of industry news and EventMB articles of course!

7. Hosted Buyers Meetings

IMEX started the hosted buyer revolution (the concept was ‘invented’ by IMEX Chairman, Ray Bloom, back in the 80s). Whether you like it or not, hosted buyer programmes are changing the way we experience trade shows.

IMEX Hosted Buyer Programmes qualify high quality buyers, and via an online appointment system, make sure that exhibitors have the chance to reach a targeted audience.

I remember walking onto the show floor last year and the general consensus among exhibitors was that great business was being done. Here is a video on how IMEX HBP works.

6. Socially Connected Event

I am a big fan of IMEX’s social media effort. They surely understand the value of social media when used correctly in B2B environments. As soon as you enter the room, you’ll easily find the @IMEXSocialTeam (with their popular red shirts) ready and eager to help.

The Twitter account during the show is packed with great information about what’s coming up next, but also very responsive to the attendees tweeting their questions and comments.

That’s what you expect from a modern trade show, a recognition of the growing online community of event professionals, who will feel welcomed in their online persona while at the show.

5. Top Notch Education

Trade shows often struggle to offer a good education, it is no secret. At the same time, we can’t expect trade shows to be conferences. The action of trade shows revolves around closing deals, networking and inspiration.

IMEX has made a terrific attempt at introducing education. Each day starts with a featured MPI keynote with top industry speakers. This year, the keynote for day one will be yours truly. I have a few surprises in store.  The show floor is packed with piles of knowledge at any of the three education spaces: the Inspiration Center, Tech Hub or Sustainability Hub.

Education tracks include:

– Business Skills
– Creative Learning
– Diversity
– General Education
– Marketing and Communications
– Risk Management/Compliance
– Senior Planner Skills
– Sustainability
– Technology/Social Media
– Trends and Research

There is a topic for you regardless of your background.

4. Smart Monday

Speaking about education, when you register (by the way registration is free) you get access to Smart Monday, powered by MPI.

The most popular industry associations participate in this one-day preshow conference full of great content delivered in innovative formats such as the World Cafe.

If you are looking for career development this is a must-attend event that also delivers credits toward your continuing education hours.

3. Amazing Insight

Last year we released in partnership with IMEX, The Power of Events, one of the most well-received research we’ve ever done. You can expect some more Insight following this year talking point.

You’ll be inspired and amazed.

No spoiler.

2. Discounted Flight and Hotel

Not much to add here. Awesome deals available for all attendees with Star Alliance and host hotels, The Venetian / The Palazzo.

For registered attendees a variety of discounts and special deals are available. Vegas shows, helicopter rides to the Grand Canyon and special deals at museums and shopping are all available.

Great savings to be made here to enjoy the best Vegas has to offer.

1. Attention for Sustainability

IMEX’s continued effort to bring sustainability issues to the attention of the wider event industry is simply remarkable. The Sustainability Hub is a must-visit during your packed day.

The mission of the Sustainability Hub is to raise your Green IQ. That happens through a series of seminars with industry visionaries and experts.

This year you will be able to tour the most sustainable destinations to make a ‘greener’ choice for your event. I will also be making my sustainability pledge on the green pledge wall. Show your commitment and join the sustainable revolution.

Bonus Reason: IMEX Challenge

The IMEX Challenge is a biennial CSR project for the meetings industry and this year it will take place in Las Vegas on 11-12 October, over the weekend prior to the trade show.

Over two days a team of volunteers will help the Shade Tree of Las Vegas fulfill its mission to provide safe shelter to homeless and abused women and children in crisis and to offer life-changing services promoting stability, dignity, and self-reliance.

They will do this by rebuilding the Shade Tree’s healing garden, which is in disrepair and in need of an overhaul. The Challenge’s goal is to renovate and create a peaceful healing garden for the women and children of the shelter to enjoy during their time there.
Join or donate to this worthy local charity here.

Bonus Reason: Party

One of the most pressing reasons to attend the event (that few like to confess to) – IMEX is packed with parties and networking opportunities. Yes, deals will always happen on the show floor, but business relationships are often born at informal events.

One highlight this year is the MPI Foundation Rendezvous and IMEX America Party.

Dress to impress and get ready for entertainment and networking in a relaxed environment.
Pop-up networking events are also must-attends, it’s usually a good idea to follow the hashtag #IMEX19 to keep yourselves in the loop.g

Keep an eye on the Show at a Glance page too (and the IMEX App, of course).

In Conclusion

I can’t wait to make my way to Vegas this year and I hope you can join me and several thousand other event pros at the Sands Expo.

The energy level is through the roof, appointments are being scheduled, the whole industry is coming to Vegas to celebrate the world of events, you have to make it, no excuses!