How IMEX America is Boosting the Las Vegas Marketplace
While on location in Las Vegas last week, we caught up with Chris Meyer, vice president of global business sales for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, to talk about IMEX America and the show's impact on the city.
“IMEX is going to be crazy this year,” Meyer said--but emphasized that this was a good thing. “There will be lots of business [transactions and] great hosted buyers.” New Vegas venues will be prominently featured, he added, with the annual MPI Rendezvous night taking place on the roof of the Cromwell, the new boutique hotel on the Strip. Nearby, the new Linq Promenade—with the High Roller observation wheel—will also be open for exploring.
“I think the keynotes are going to be very interesting this year,” Meyer continued, adding that he was interested in attending the panels on millennials and intra-generational events—a logical move, given the ever-changing demographic of Las Vegas' business visitors.
The show floor, meanwhile, has developed a unique “energy” over the past four years since the show began, he added. “It’s significantly bigger this year than it was last year, and there’s an energy now that’s being created with ‘exhibit envy.’” Suppliers on the trade show floor are taking note of different elements of different booths, he explained, and incorporating those elements into their own show the following year. “So I think now we’re seeing that energy happen on the show floor. From a buyer’s perspective, it gives a wonderful experience of participating in a trade show. It’s not a boring experience.”
IMEX America and Las Vegas
Meyer estimates that IMEX America generates about $98 million in economic impact is in its own right. “But then, it’s all future impact that you get from having all the planners coming, seeing and booking,” he added. “People show up with RFPs in their hands. It’s a great buying show.”
And the long-term impact seems to be paying off: Las Vegas is having its “greatest year ever,” Meyer said, and he credits IMEX with exposing the city’s marketplace, especially to international buyers. “That, for us, has been the real turning point--for us to be able to bring in international business buyers,” he added. “In fact, we’re doing a whole focus group and innovation lab with the International Association of Professional Conference Organizers.”
Meyer’s insights on the show do not just come from his role within the LVCVA: His wife is a meeting planner, he added, and she attends IMEX regularly just to learn about what different destinations and countries are on the radar. “This is the industry event," he said. "There’s no doubt about it.”