IMEX America a Hit

As the inaugural IMEX America show wraps up, the mood in Las Vegas ranges from satisfied to thrilled.

The show, which ran from Oct. 11-13 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, attracted more than 2,000 hosted buyers and 1,700 non-hosted attendees, as well as 2,000 exhibitors, according to Ray Bloom, chairman of the IMEX Group. He said there were more than 24,000 scheduled appointments and with walk-ups the total came to more than 30,000. 

“The show has been fantastic,” said Darryl Hudson, vice president of Tourism Australia, the Americas, on the show’s second day. “We have 14 partners exhibiting in our booth, and we will come back with more next year, I think.”

It’s not just the big exhibitors who feel that way. “This has been a really terrific show,” says Paget Kirkland, president of Kirkland Event & Destination Services in West Palm Beach, FL. “We have booked a lot of business from both appointments and walk-ups.”

Attendees are “absolutely in buying mode” and the potential business from the show is both short and long term, she says, noting that she’s gotten requests for proposals for business that has to be turned around within two weeks as well as RFPs for events as far out as 2016.  

“There’s definitely business around,” Caroline Pidroni, director of sales and marketing for the Switzerland Convention and Incentive Bureau, said on Thursday. “There’s been a very good vibe and there still is on the last day. We’ve actually had RFPs for small groups and large groups, and for incentives and association business. It’s been a very good mix.”

Nearly every association in the U.S. meetings, incentive, conventions and events industry had a major presence at IMEX America, with more than a dozen co-locating shows or event of their own during or around IMEX America. These range from Meeting Professionals International (MPI), IMEX America’s major education provider, to incentive travel association Site’s Annual Conference 2011 to the Professional Convention Management Association’s (PCMA) International Summit.