IMEX Breaks Attendance Records in Ninth Year

Some 14,000 event professionals walked into Sands Expo this week to talk about advances in hotels, destinations and event services, and then an imaginative career development program broke out.

The theme for the ninth annual IMEX America, which ran Sept. 9–12 in Las Vegas, was the Power of Imagination. IMEX paired the hosted buyer appointments with Smart Monday powered by MPI sessions (900 people strong) and She Means Business content to add value for planners who came from all over the world to share best practices.

A white paper and The Year of Imagination: 15 Stories to Inspire Your Next Event booklet produced in partnership with PSAV offer a way to continue the learning after the trade show folded up shop and left through the loading docks.

IMEX Chairman Ray Bloom announced the record fundraising at SITE NITE and MPI Foundation’s Rendezvous at the show’s closing press conference and added an all-time-high spotting of changemakers to the list. “Innovation, creativity and imagination have been in rich supply here at the Sands Expo this week,” he said.

A new high of 76,000 appointments—a 3 per cent increase—were recorded and he ventured a guess that perhaps twice that many actually occurred.

Industry Milestones

The concentration of so many meeting professionals in one place was an opportunity for groups to mark their own milestones and kick off ambitious initiatives.

Event Industry Council (EIC) announced a new Center for Sustainable Events and plans to replace the old Apex standards with new EIC standards—measures that promise to be more accessible for the whole industry.

Association for Women in Events (AWE) announced that more organizations had signed on to the Events Industry Sexual Harassment Task Force Pledge, which includes proactive measures for employees and employers.

ECPAT promoted education for event planners on how to end child prostitution and slavery.

The events industry showed support for the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which are the focal point of discussions at the U.N. Summit in New York City later this month.

MPI’s Future Leader Forum was an investment in the next generation of event professionals.

Tech Focused

A dedicated technology education track covered everything from smart project management to advances in speech recognition and strategic event app usage.
The Tech Zone showcased new solutions to the things that keep planners up at night—managing marketing, registration and reporting pipelines, social media tricks and productivity hacks.

Walking the Talk

Bloom announced that the show was 100 percent powered by renewable energy, something Sands Expo Senior Vice President of Sales Chandra Allison said was the result of IMEX challenging the venue as a partner to continue to improve. “Every year, all our meetings are greener because of the knowledge learned by working with IMEX,” which set the bar of producing “the greenest meeting on earth,” she said.

A Natural Anniversary

IMEX America 2020 will mark a decade since the conference was launched. It kicks off with another Smart Monday on Sept. 14, and will be the event’s last year at Sands Expo. The talking point for 2020 and the following year at Mandalay Bay is nature.

“It is an important topic, one we can all relate to and one that warrants our full attention,” Bloom said. “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.”

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