With an anticipated record number of buyers – well over 4,000 – and 60,000 meetings already booked, the upcoming edition of IMEX America will showcase a global business events industry more resilient and hungrier for business than many had predicted or even dared hope.
“All our numbers have been on an upward trajectory since registration opened. But it’s not about celebrating big numbers for their own sake, it’s about what these metrics say about the state of our industry. Even our specialist education programs all have waiting lists, which is a first this far from opening day. In an era marked by so much uncertainty, these are good indicators that the global events sector is not only healthy but also more robust than many thought,” says Carina Bauer, IMEX Group CEO.
Such has been the interest, that the IMEX team has negotiated extra hotel room blocks, hosted buyer buses, and catering services. It has also expanded the hosted buyer lounge by 10,000 sq. feet (to 40,000 sq. feet) and ordered close to 200 extra seats from lounge sponsors, Cort.
Brands launch into the US market
Virtually all countries of the world will be represented on the show floor at the Mandalay Bay, starting Tuesday 17 October. The enduringly competitive hotel sector will feature a wide variety of on-booth activations and engagement opportunities and will account for its largest share of floor space ever. Dozens of new North American suppliers will feature alongside established names plus a strong showing from Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Australia. African and Indian suppliers will also be present. Exhibitor expansion in sectors including cruise lines, technology, hotels and incentive travel means the scope of the show is also broader than in recent years, while those using IMEX America to launch brands into the US market include ICC Wales (UK) and Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City.
Knowing that event size alone is no longer the attraction it used to be, the team has made the show experience easier to personalize and adapt based on an attendee’s commercial role, special interests, learning ambition, business goals, or whether they’re first-timers or seasoned attendees. New features in the improved show app make planning meetings easier and more foot-friendly. Buyers can book meetings directly from the interactive floor plan meaning they can easily schedule meetings one after the other on adjacent or nearby booths to save time. They can also book meetings via the app every day of the show. Such innovations have been led by IMEX’s person-first approach to technology transformation.
Shared wellness values mean business
In a similar vein, IMEX has focused on participant wellness not as a ‘soft, nice to have’ but as the foundation for a productive, more enjoyable business and networking experience. 20 session choices include daily mindfulness and well-being drop-ins, a Pop-Up Wellness Clinic, grounding and drumming sessions plus heavier-duty cardio workouts.
Google Xi is providing a Resilience Room, presented in partnership with The Neu Project and Marriott International and designed by partners Storycraft Lab. Resilience rooms are intended to foster the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of attendees, providing tools and resources to manage fatigue, overwhelm, and sensory needs. The room will be staffed by EventWell who are trained to offer support and guidance. Adjacent to the Resilience Room is a new Quiet Space lounge. This work-free space away from the bustling show floor is open to anyone in need of a quiet place to sit, rest, and reset.
Taking on feedback from 2022, IMEX America ‘23 now offers a third restaurant, more snack bars, and a wider variety of healthy, affordable food. Breakfast options have been added for early-birds and extra coffee carts and Korea-sponsored water refill stations will make refueling and rehydration easier for everyone. Free show wifi, sponsored by Visit Detroit, will be quick and easy with instant connection via a QR code.
Bauer explains, “Wellbeing is no longer a luxury or peripheral to doing business. It’s core to each person’s enjoyment and desired ROI from a large networking event like this. Where deals used to be struck on the golf course – and still are – other sports and wellness interests now bring a wider variety of people together and frequently lead to business. It’s a traditional networking formula, but with a fresh twist where shared personal values hold weight, and frequently spark more meaningful connections.”
The Inspiration Hub, sponsored by Webex, has benefitted from some clever changes. By removing carpet, except for colored dots to delineate learning spaces, and using design tricks from the world of theater, IMEX has crafted more inclusive and inviting education spaces. These include the Ideas, Curious Minds, Insights, and Perspective Theaters; the IMEX | EIC People & Planet Theater, supported by Destination Canada; Google Xi’s CoLaboratory and, close by, Encore’s breathtaking Break Free experience and fireside chats.
Paying tribute to its host city by shining a light on Las Vegas attractions, IMEX America also offers a range of tours this October. They include Area 15, a Fontainebleau Las Vegas Hard Hat Site Tour and Lip-Smacking Foodie Tours.
IMEX America starts with Smart Monday, powered by MPI on Monday 16 October, followed by its three-day trade show 17-19 October at Mandalay Bay.