With the second IMEX America concluding in Las Vegas on Oct. 12, organizers and exhibitors from 148 nations declared the annual event a success with tens of thousands of business appointments made.
“My colleagues asked me how to rate it,” said Linda Baumgartner of the Munich Tourist Office. “The first day I thought it was a seven out of 10. But after yesterday, I rate it 8 out of 10 based on the number of appointments and quality. I would vote to come here again.”
The show was located at the Sands Expo & Convention
Center in Las Vegas and included more than 2,400 hosted buyers from North America and 43 other global markets – about a 20 percent increase from about 1,900 hosted buyers at the inaugural IMEX America event last year.
IMEX also saw another 1,700 buyers attend the show and nearly 40,000 business appointments were scheduled between exhibitors and attendees, said Ray Bloom, chairman, IMEX Group. Around 80 percent of hosted buyers hailed from North America with the remaining 20 percent coming from Europe, Latin America and Asia.
Many exhibitors participated in the inaugural IMEX America last year and plan to return in 2013. For Scotland, IMEX America offers a great opportunity to pitch the nation’s many destinations.
“It’s lovely to see an event of this size. We guessed IMEX would be a bigger show for us than AIBTM,” said Richard Knight, marketing manager, Visit Scotland.
Scotland participated in the 2011 IMEX America with seven other exhibiting partners. This year they more than doubled that number.
“We have 16 or 17 companies that now are our partners. It wasn’t very hard to sell IMEX to them,” Knight said, adding the Scotland exhibit definitely will return for the 2013 event. “We’ve invested in the stand and plan to get the most out of it.”
The international tradeshow’s reputation as a good place to get business done helped many exhibitors make the decision to participate.
“A lot of meeting planners and exhibitors said IMEX is the best,” said Julia Kim, director, Korea Tourism Organization.
The contingent exhibited during the inaugural event last year and greatly increased its participation this year.
“We had more participants this year – about 15 partners. We had two partners last year,” said Kim. “This is the right place. We will be back next year and should have a bigger turnout.”
Singapore returned for another run at IMEX America also after having success last year.
“I think 2011 was a very good year. This year was better,” said Serene Tan, regional
director, Singapore Tourism Board. “IMEX has delivered for us.”
IMEX America is the largest event in which the Singapore Tourism Board participates and has proven to be beneficial.
“It’s a better turnout, and we have more Singapore partners this year. We had eight partners last year and have 10 this year,” said Tan, adding that Las Vegas is an ideal host city for the event. “It’s a great place to see old friends and make new ones.”
While a good place to get business done, preparing for IMEX America can be difficult.
“The challenge for us was to prepare material for both associations and incentives markets,” said Lisi Senabre of the Congress & Meeting Industry Team, Argentina. “North America is an incentives market, and we had two agendas that were fully booked. We got many extra appointments – more than we expected.”
Argentina featured one destination during the 2011 event, Buenos Aires, but this year also marketed Mendoza and Patagonia for the incentives and associations markets.
“We are very happy” with this year’s event, Senabre said, adding more success is expected during the 2013 IMEX America event in Las Vegas. “The city is a beautiful, fun experience. We are coming back reloaded.”
Some 25,000 business appointments were scheduled during the inaugural 2011 IMEX America, and this year’s number exceeded that amount by 15,000, or 60 percent. The number of appointments scheduled during next year’s event also should rise.
“There will be a significant increase in the number of hosted buyers next year,” Bloom said,
adding the educational collaboration with Meeting Professionals International is beneficial and the show will expand into two new halls at the Sands Expo and Convention Center for 2013. “The strategic partnership is working quite beautifully.”
About 1,000 show attendees participated in the “Smart Monday” educational events that preceded the show’s opening on Oct. 9. And many found the educational sessions as well as business opportunities to be highly rewarding.
“For a second year in a row, we have shown the strength of two great brands – IMEX and Las Vegas,” said Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “When you put two great brands together, you come up with great things.”
Great things are expected again in 2013 with IMEX America scheduled from Oct. 15-17 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas.