The ninth edition of IMEX America came to a close in Las Vegas that left no one in doubt about the strength, vitality and appetite for business that currently defines the global meetings, incentive travel and events industry. “This edition has been our most imaginative yet, and for good reason given that our annual Talking Point and annual research white paper were both devoted to the Power of Imagination,” said chairman Ray Bloom at the show’s closing press conference. He was joined by Chandra Allison, senior vice president sales, Sands Expo; Paul Van Deventer, president and CEO of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and John Schreiber CEM, vice president of business sales, LVCVA.
“In an age that’s marked by an exceptional rate of change, particularly in technology, it’s impressive to see how the whole industry is embracing virtual reality and experiential activations. I can also testify that innovation, creativity and imagination have been in rich supply here at the Sands Expo this week,” said Bloom. Reporting on the number of pre-scheduled appointments made between buyers and exhibitors, a key performance metric for the show and its attendees, Bloom explained the show had achieved a new high with a 3 per cent increase to 76,000 appointments recorded this week.
“As many of you know, every year we strive to be our own competition, to push ourselves to deliver richer experiences, better education and, of course, a really strong business pipeline for our exhibitors. Our partners keep rising to the occasion too. We’ve seen some spectacular booths and activations this year and are delighted to see so many exhibitors aligning with our annual Talking Point and using it so innovatively each year. Their level of investment and commitment to business is remarkable. Equally the feedback about the quality and variety of our education program has been second to none this year.”
He went on to talk about the many industry “firsts” that had taken place during the week, including the launch of the Event Industry Council’s (EIC) new Center for Sustainable Events. EIC also announced that they plan to replace the old Apex standards with new EIC standards. In the process the standards have been consolidated and updated to make them more accessible for the whole industry; IMEX America is one of only two events that have committed to pilot them.
The signing by multiple partners of the Events Industry Sexual Harassment Task Force Pledge and the announcement of the events industry’s involvement in accelerating the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which are the focal point of discussions at the UN Summit in New York later this month, also made this a stand-out edition of IMEX America.
In closing, Bloom announced the annual IMEX Talking Point for 2020 and 2021. “I’m delighted to tell you that, for the first time, we have a Talking Point that will run for two years. It’s a big, timely, important topic, one we can all relate to and one that warrants our full attention; that Talking Point will be “Nature.” We’ll be exploring what nature can do for us, and what we can do for nature and we’ll be running this theme over two years to give it the traction it deserves.”IMEX America takes place in September again next year: September 15 – 17, 2020.