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October 20, 2015

What IMEX America Does Right

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Photo by Freeimages.com/Sam Hatch

IMR Blogger Stephanie Selesnick shares here favorite things that made this year's IMEX America a success. Should your organization adopt some?

IMEX America just celebrated its 5th edition in Las Vegas. With over 10,500 meetings, exhibitions, events professionals and suppliers, it was a huge success. There were 3100+ exhibiting companies and organizations from 150 countries. 

Here are some of my favorite things that IMEX does. Perhaps yours should too. 

1.    Attention to exhibitors: Exhibitors’ success is a priority for the IMEX team. If it’s clear an exhibitor isn’t getting the IMEX message, and how to maximize their participation, someone from the team gets on a plane and visits the client. When was the last time you or one of your team got on a plane to see a client in their office?

2.    Family Table: That’s what IMEX calls their philosophy, not only for their team, but also for exhibitors, suppliers and visitors. Everyone is important in the success of the show. Everyone has a seat at the table. 

3.    Mixed attendee base: I love the hybrid visitor idea. With over 3,000 hosted buyers from 54 countries, that’s a lot of quality walking the show floor going to an average of 10 appointments a day. Exhibitors told me that this year, it seemed like visitors really wanted to talk business, not just “oh another meeting on my schedule”. They knew whom they were seeing ahead of time and were able to be prepared. 

The downside for some of the hosted buyers is no time in between for just browsing the show floor, lunch or restroom break. However, most really like being able to maximize their time at the event. Hosted buyers also had expedited hotel room check-ins, an exclusive lounge and other amenities. 

The other part of the hybrid model is that it’s free for meeting planners and others in the meetings/events/exhibition industry to attend. Another 2,000+ of those folks were walking the show on their own, visiting with exhibitors. 

4.    While IMEX America began as THE Meeting Planner show, now it’s an umbrella for everyone in events. Almost every event-related association in the U.S. had a booth. Many of the associations partner in everything from education (MPI, PCMA and IAEE) to publicity to networking events. 

5.    They offer lots of different types of education – seminars, workshops, campfire series, tabletops, etc. Some were held on the show floor, others in ballrooms at the Venetian. Interestingly, speakers come to learn too. In discussions with some well-known keynote and educational experts, they talked about being at IMEX to find the latest trends in adult education and how it is parceled out. I’ve never heard that discussed at an industry show.

6.    Lastly, the show floor is not just a grid pattern and that’s nice. Aisles end. You end up finding unexpected spots on the show floor you did not expect. Also the booths are all shell scheme and look great. Some are set up just for appointments – small tables with chairs facing each other, areas for larger group demonstrations, others with the pizazz that show their hotels or cities. The technology area is tucked away in a far corner, but instead of being “no man’s land”, hosted buyer appointments and, well interest in what’s new, kept the area pretty busy.

While you may not have the budget to do all of these things, what can you take to improve your own events? 

What do you think of this $type?

About the Author: Stephanie Selesnick

Stephanie Selesnick





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