IMEX America is ahead of projected attendance, according to show organizations, so this fall’s new trade show is expected to be ground-breaking:
. More than 2,000 US and international hosted buyers expected
. 1,500 exhibitors to exhibit at debut show
. 14 co-located events now confirmed
. MPI’s strategic partnership takes shape
. Ray Bloom speaks on the strong interest in US market & Vegas
. ‘Exceptional’ Venetian/Palazzo room rates demonstrate show’s strategic importance and bring savings to attendees
Perhaps this is a sign of good news for the business travel, meetings and events industry?
Organizers of IMEX America, the new US trade show for the worldwide incentive travel, meetings and events industry, have revealed more details about the full business, networking and educational line-up scheduled for the debut show October 11 – 13 at the Sands Expo and Venetian/Palazzo in Las Vegas.
The trade show is set to welcome 1,500 exhibitors, with a broad representation of companies from many countries around the world and across all meetings and incentive travel industry sectors.
Thanks to the reputation and proven success of the IMEX hosted buyer model – which has been used at IMEX in Frankfurt over the past nine years – IMEX America will host over 2,000 meetings and events buyers from the US and internationally. IMEX Group Chairman, Ray Bloom, also confirms that the ratio of buyers remains at 80% from the US market – who plan business internationally – and 20% from the international buyer market who will have a strong interest in placing business with North American exhibitors.
In addition, thousands of buyer attendees from the US domestic market are expected to take part in IMEX America attracted by the organizer’s promise to deliver ‘more than just a trade show’ with – unlike most US shows – free entry and a free education program, plus unmatched networking and business opportunities.
Strong Education & Powerful Partnerships Are A Win for Attendees
The week of IMEX America will start with ‘Smart Monday’ on October 10 – which will be dedicated solely to professional education – followed by the three-day trade show and 14 major co-located industry events. These include the MPI MeetDifferent Day of Education & Innovation; an ACTE Power Talk; Association Day & Evening presented by ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership and ICCA; IAEE CEM Programs; MPI Foundation’s Rendezvous; the PCMA International Summit; Site’s Annual International Conference; Site Nite North America; a new USTA Political Advocacy Forum plus several high-level customer-only events by partners such as Maritz Travel and Carlson Marketing. In total the education efforts from IMEX America and its partners combine to give attendees and exhibitors access to the equivalent of more than 12 full days of education in Las Vegas across the week of the show. A full IMEX America ‘Schedule at a Glance’ is now available on the website to help attendees and buyers plan their schedules, travel and accommodation well in advance. The full line up of speakers, seminars and partner education will be available by the end of July.
Strengthening the value of the IMEX America week, IMEX has announced powerful industry partnerships for the show including an exclusive Strategic Partnership with Meeting Professionals International (MPI), endorsement of the show by Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) and Site, and an exclusive partnership with the US Travel Association (USTA). Further partnerships are confirmed with the Convention Industry Council (CIC), Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), IAEE (International Association of Exhibitions & Events), ACTE (Association of Corporate Travel Executives), ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership (ASAE), the Association Forum of Chicagoland and the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) amongst others. In total IMEX America is partnering with more than 18 industry associations, giving it reach to over 150,000 meeting professionals worldwide.
Stellar Exhibitor Line-up Brings The US and the World to Vegas
Among the 1,500 exhibitors at IMEX America will be a large proportion of US destinations and suppliers. Among the largest will be Las Vegas and its partners at over 4,000 square feet. California and Hawaii and its partners will each have areas of over 1,500 square feet. Other North American exhibitors will include Washington DC, Denver, Canada, Colorado, San Francisco, Atlantic City, Boston, LA Inc, Miami, San Diego, NYC, Denver and New Orleans. Many other cities are also taking part in the trade show, with regions such as Bloomington, Monterey County, Tahoe North, Palm Springs, Wyoming and Telluride also represented.
Latin America has also shown a strong appetite for space, with Mexico, Argentina, Panama and Costa Rica all confirmed. Caribbean exhibitors too will be out in force including the Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and the Caribbean Tourism Organisation.
Among the new show’s major European exhibitors will be Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Tourism Authority, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, London & Partners, Spain, Switzerland, and Turkey. In addition, Germany, Italy and Portugal are all taking very sizeable booths.
As at IMEX in Frankfurt, hotels will account for a significant proportion of all IMEX America booths. Almost 50 hotel groups have so far contracted, including most of the major international hotel groups such Starwood, IHG, Marriott, Leading Hotels of the World, Carlson Hotels, Shangri-La, Ritz-Carlton and Mandarin Oriental; as well as many other North American focused hotel chains including Loews Hotels, Peabody Orlando and Gaylord.
From other important world markets, Dubai and South Africa are confirmed plus a strong showing from Asia Pacific including Japan, New Zealand, China, Korea, Seoul, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Malaysia, who will all have a big presence and purpose-designed booths that will add colour, culture and visual interest to the show.
Visually Striking Booths Bring Diverse Cultures to Life
Taking a page from IMEX in Frankfurt – where many countries dress their staff in traditional costumes and demonstrate their unique appeal by staging traditional welcoming ceremonies, offering local refreshments or gifts and holding themed after-hour parties – visual and cultural diversity is also set to be a very prominent aspect of IMEX America. This unique look and feel in the booths is another element that will set it apart from ‘normal’ US trade shows, making it entertaining while highlighting the business value and wonderful diversity of the global meetings market.
Unique Appointment System Maximizes At-Show Opportunities
Another point of difference for IMEX America is the show’s unique online appointment and diary system. By putting buyers and exhibitors in direct touch and in full control of their own marketing and communications prior to the show via an on-line scheduling tool, organizers have proved they can generate high volumes of business.
In Frankfurt this year more than 57,000 individual appointments were scheduled between buyers and exhibitors even before the show had opened. In the process of making those appointments, both sides were able to set the agenda for the meeting, discuss Requests for Proposals in detail and clear other questions up ahead of time so when they met on the show floor they could get right down to business. This combination of efficiency, transparency and full ownership of the buyer/supplier relationship is one of the keys to IMEX’s success in Frankfurt and is expected to break new ground in the US. This is all supported by the mobile-based IMEX App which allows buyers and other attendees to keep on top of a full daily schedule at all times, regardless of where they are.
MPI’s Strategic Partnership Takes Shape
IMEX America’s strategic partner and premier educational provider, MPI, has great things in store for participants having created dedicated educational programs to run alongside the trade show, as well as providing a series of keynotes to be delivered each morning before the show opens. All education is provided free of charge to buyers and suppliers and will offer full CEU credits.
MPI’s innovative MeetDifferent education will kick things off, as the signature education of ‘Smart Monday’, October 10. MPI will deliver completely new programming, never presented before, and will provide guidance on how to use the learning objectives during the show and when professionals return to their day-to-day business operations. And in keeping the tradition of MeetDifferent alive, presenters and attendees will capitalize on different learning formats and locations throughout ‘Smart Monday’. Participants can earn enough CEUs from MPI to meet half their yearly requirements for CMP.
Other MPI – IMEX America initiatives include the MPI Foundation Rendezvous, October 12 at PURE nightclub, which will be the official IMEX America party. Ticket proceeds from this event benefit scholarships and research initiatives that help the advancement of the industry. Additionally, as strategic partners IMEX and MPI are co-developing the IMEX Mobile App and a series of expert webinars which are currently available online and on-demand at imexamerica.com and mpiweb.org.
Explaining the importance of MPI’s relationship with IMEX America and what it means for MPI members and meeting professionals around the world, Bruce MacMillan, President and CEO of MPI states:
“Our objective is to provide valuable professional development in an environment and a way that encourages innovation, creativity and passion. We want the IMEX America audience to feel a sense of performance empowerment, as well as an aura of inspired action when they listen to these expert presenters.”
The US Meetings Market and Las Vegas Are Open For Business
Talking about the timing and strategic importance of the launch of IMEX America, IMEX Group Chairman, Ray Bloom, says: “The US meetings and events market is the biggest in the world with the CIC’s Economic Impact Study estimating its contribution to US GDP at $106 billion, and a total economic output of $907 billion. We all know that -along with most parts of the world- it has gone through some tough times in recent years, but April 2011 data from MPI’s Business Barometer confirms a solid recovery has been under way for over a year with attendance and spending surging during that time. So, even when you’re talking about securing small percentages of business from US buyers, this translates into huge dollars. This is why exhibitors want to come to IMEX America. They want a slice of this incredibly powerful market. The efficiency and reputation of IMEX’s approach and our ability to present large numbers of new and established destinations and suppliers from all over the world is also an extremely strong attraction for buyers.”
In addition to a recovering US meetings and events market, Bloom attributes the strong interest in IMEX America to the lure of Las Vegas as a meetings and conventions destination. “Las Vegas is made for business. It’s one of the world’s leading destinations for meetings and events and hosts over 20,000 meetings, conventions and exhibitions per year. The city has a fantastic infrastructure and with 140,000 hotel rooms we are unlikely to run out of high quality accommodation. Combine that with excellent transportation links from across the US, growing direct international links and our partnership with the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority (LVCVA), and we are confident of a winning formula. Research shows that events that move to Vegas experience a 14% increase in attendance. More attendees means more potential business.”
The Venetian-Palazzo Offers Terrific Rates to Attendees
As testimony to the strategic importance of the IMEX America show for Las Vegas business, the show’s Headquarters Hotel, the Venetian/Palazzo, is extending an exceptional rate to show buyer attendees of $129/night and a supplier rate of $189/night for early birds and $209/night thereafter (plus resort fee). Delta Airlines and the Star Alliance group are also offering special discounted airfares to participants.
This affordable lodging and travel price, along with free entry to the show and an unprecedented array of free education programs makes the ROI of IMEX America even stronger for industry professionals from the US and the world who want to attend.
Registration for IMEX America is now open at www.imexamerica.com/register