This year's show welcomed more hosted buyers and exhibitors than the previous two installments. // (c) IMEX Group
When IMEX Group CEO Carina Bauer told SuccessfulMeetings.com that the third edition of IMEX America
had seen “tremendous growth
,” she was right. Numbers released by IMEX Group Chairman Ray Bloom on the third and final day of the trade show demonstrated just that.
At the show’s closing press conference, Bloom said that hosted buyer numbers increased from 2,400 last year to nearly 2,700. The number of non-hosted attendees at the show was close to last year’s total at approximately 1,700. The show welcomed 2,694 exhibitors, and increase from last year’s 2,413.
The number of appointments held between buyers and exhibitors increased by 27 percent over the previous year, with a total of 50,000 individual appointments taking place and 9,500 buyers taking part in group appointments. During the conference, Bloom noted that one buyer actually made a single booking for 10,000 room nights in Austin during the show.
“No one can doubt the seriousness with which our exhibitors now take the business opportunities available to them here,” said Bloom. “The quality, creativity, and visual impact of many of the booths has been remarkable. Their investment is clear to see, and this clearly down to their belief in the return they can achieve from being that the show.”
Michael Dominguez, senior vice president, corporate hotel sales, for MGM Resorts International, and chair of Meeting Professionals International (MPI), also reflected on the show on its final day, saying, “As good as IMEX was when it launched in 2011, there’s a definite change in the energy of our industry.” He added, “We’re in a much better place and this show is really bringing buyers and suppliers together. It’s so indicative of the where the industry is going to see that everyone is here."
While many major industry players attended the show, IMEX America also welcomed Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, albeit virtually, to participate in the inaugural IMEX and US Travel Association Policymakers Forum on Wednesday, Oct. 16. “At a challenging time for the U.S. government, we were delighted that the Mayor of Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray, could join us by live satellite link from the U.S. Capital,” Bloom remarked. “He spoke to around 60 industry and political leaders, including Mayor David Cross of Santa Fe and former mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman. The Lieutenant Governor of Nevada, Brian K. Krolicki, also attended the Forum lunch.”
In an earlier conversation prior to the closing press conference, Bloom noted that government regulations and policies are one if the biggest challenges to the meeting industry, which is why it was crucial to launch the new Policymakers Form at the show. IMEX America also hosted its third Executive Meetings Forum, which invited 30 top corporate meeting planners from North America, as well as the 100th Future Leaders Forum, a joint initiative between IMEX, MPI, and MCI.
Education during the show was provided by IMEX America’s Strategic Partner and Education Provider, MPI. During the closing press conference, MPI President and CEO Paul Van Deventer, said that more than 1,200 participants had taken part in the show’s Smart Monday education programming.
Looking forward to next year’s IMEX America, Bloom closed the press conference by saying, “This has clearly been another year of significant growth. The new facilities and new halls we now occupy here at the Sands Expo have proved a huge asset in supporting the show’s expansion, and allowing us to deliver strong business, networking, and educational events this week. We look forward to returning here for many years to come. There can be no better home for IMEX America.”
Next year’s IMEX America will take place from Oct. 14-16 in Las Vegas.