Veteran IMEX America attendees may notice something different as they approach Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino Las Vegas in October. “We tried to walk in people’s shoes and imagine what we wanted them to experience when they enter,” said Oliver “Oli” Bailey, show experience/senior operations manager with IMEX Group. “We choreographed the welcome experience with photo opportunities and lots of immersive experience.”

man with grey long sleeve shirt sitting
Oliver “Oli” Bailey

One of those changes is the evolution of the IMEX logo centered around a handshake in the letter M. “It is an understanding that people are at the heart,” Bailey said. He has been managing a transition to the new, bright logo that considers the life cycle of elements that have been used over the 20 years of the company, 10 since it started in the United States.

Some of those experiential elements are team efforts. Last year, IMEX partnered with Encore to create “Break Free: A Journey of Transformation” with the goal of creating experiences that brought attendees through an emotional journey, challenging their belief systems and inspiring them to create organizational, social or environmental change with the events they lead by considering all the senses.

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This year, the activation will challenge meeting professionals to change the world with everyday event design decisions. “Break Free: Continuing the Journey” will breathe life into the conversation about designing for belonging and inclusion by leveraging a human-centric design approach to challenge meeting professionals to experience their own events through fresh eyes.

Visit Seattle is sponsoring a multisensory experience and Cort Furnishings is once again elevating the buyer lounge environment.

“We have learned to say, ‘yes.’ We are an event for event people, after all,” he reflected.

Another partnership with Google Xi and Storycraft Labs will create a resilient space for people who might feel overwhelmed by the biggest meetings event show floor in the world. “It can happen to anyone and some people are more sensitive than others,” Bailey said. “That is why it is important to design white spaces so everyone can fully participate.”

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The same inclusive approach will be evident in how IMEX is nourishing attendees. “You can design the greatest show in the world, but if someone is left with an empty stomach, that doesn’t mean anything,” Baily observed. “We don’t want any hangry people at the show.” Sustainable, healthy catering that offers tasty options for any dietary needs will be available on the expo floor.

First Look Advice

For someone who might be attending IMEX America for the first time, Baily suggests planning ahead. “There are so many distractions that you can end up doing something quite different than you planned and that is great, but at the end, if You’ve achieved what you wanted and seen the people you wanted to see, that’s brilliant.”

While the goal is that everyone make new friends and find partners they might not have expected to meet, Baily hopes the impact is even deeper. “I would love it if they changed their minds about some belief from a session or a conversation and could have that effect on someone else,” he said.

“It’s a live show. You’re there in person. It’s a two-way street and that is why everyone is there so bring your personality and share your ideas.”