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Creativity is the sizzle of an event – planners discover why creativity is crucial from insightful keynote and immersive new features at IMEX America

Brent Bushnell, self-confessed nerd and CEO of Two Bit Circus, an experiential entertainment company, is a firm believer in the power of events to foster creativity and bring people together. He explains: “Nothing beats the live experience and there’s an increasing appetite for creative events that are interactive and experiential. The key here is to involve attendees. They shouldn’t just be passive observers, but need to actively engage. Hands on projects require decision making and engage more of a person’s brain, leading to embedded learning.”

In his MPI keynote at IMEX America, currently taking place in Las Vegas, he detailed the latest approaches to creating fresh and exciting events supported by technology, innovative thinking and a dose of creativity. He explains: “Creativity – often delivered through games and entertainment – is the real sizzle of an event. It instantly blasts away the barriers and delivers a fresh perspective, leaving attendees open to new ideas.”

Alejandro Moreno from Mussica Live Productions in Mexico, explains why creativity is crucial: “I work in the entertainment sector and creativity is a powerful tool for delivering impactful and immersive live shows.”

Live entertainment acts, designed to inspire creativity and fun, were at the new Lunchtime Live Zone at the show’s Inspiration Hub. Planners could experience first-hand ways to add excitement and innovation with solutions ranging from slow motion and virtual reality photo booths, SongDivision musicians, live painting and virtual games. Many of the activities at the lively new zone transcend all countries and cultures, as they do not require translation, and are highly responsive – tailored in real time to developing content and attendee requirements. Stephanie Centrone, National Meeting Planner at EY, a hosted buyer at the show, explains: “This is one of the main reasons I’ve come to IMEX America – to discover creative new ways to engage attendees and encourage connections.”

Danielle Jardim from Zodiac Produtos Farmaceuticos in Brazil, a hosted buyer at the show, adds: “I work in the pharmaceutical sector, organizing meetings and incentive trips for staff around the world. Fresh ideas that foster the feel good factor and create memorable moments are crucial to the success of my events.”

“Flash learning mobs” were one of the techniques explored at the Play Room, the creative hotbed of the show. Interactive sessions and creative corners including Enigma, an escape room, and a day dreaming wall, enabled planners to get hands on with tools, techniques and resources to develop new ideas and make meetings more interactive.

IMEX America brings a positive outlook and more business opportunities than ever

As 12,000 plus exhibitors, hosted buyers and attendees at this year’s IMEX America said “Farewell,” IMEX Group Chairman Ray Bloom reflected upon the achievements of the show and a positive, unifying week for the meetings industry.

Over 3,200 hosted buyers and an additional 2,500 plus attendees came to Las Vegas, and Tuesday and Wednesday were the busiest days ever at IMEX America.

With more than 3,300 exhibitors representing 150 countries and a major expansion of the Inspiration Hub, the show’s education area, the seventh IMEX America was the largest ever.

A significant factor in this growth was that 58 booths – 20 per cent of returning exhibitors – had booked larger spaces and the show welcomed 64 new booths.

An RFP gives a strong business focus to appointments at the show. The fact that 72 per cent of appointments were based on RFPs, an increase by 4 per cent, is a powerful measure of how buyers are ready to discuss real business prospects at IMEX America.

As more than 70,000 appointments were made including 60,000 individual appointments and booth presentations, Ray Bloom said, “For exhibitors and buyers this simply means that we’ve created more opportunities than ever to do business.”

“We’re really happy with the quality of the IMEX buyers and we’ve gotten very strong prospects for short and long-term business,” said Darren K. Green, Senior Vice President, Sales for the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board.

Ray Bloom also drew attention to an important milestone; the 150th IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum took place at the show. “We’ve always been committed to actively encouraging students from around the world to make careers in the meeting and incentive travel industry. Over the years more than 7,500 young people have taken part in this program and many have since gone on to positions in the industry. It’s very pleasing to see how far they’ve progressed.”

Discussing the show’s extensive education program, Ray Bloom highlighted the new Event Design Certificate course and the Association Leadership Forum, created by ASAE, a new special education program which had brought together 85 association CEOs and executives on Monday. He also said that the Executive Meeting Forum for meetings strategists working in the corporate sector had attracted 30 senior executives from companies including BP, Allianz AG, McDonald’s, PwC and Toyota with an annual buying power in excess of $2.5bn.

The program started with Smart Monday, powered by MPI, which brought over 1,000 event professionals to engage in a wide variety of learning events. At the first MPI keynote Janet Sperstad provided fascinating insights when presenting key findings newly published in a white paper about the IMEX Group’s Talking Point for this year, Purposeful Meetings. This is now available to download.

During the week, 250 education sessions took place, covering ten education tracks, and attracted several hundred participants. 80% of the sessions were assigned with CEs for CMP certification. Adding to the overall show experience was the new Inspiration Hub which used inflatable domes for the seminars, campfires and white space areas for the first time.

The “power of live experience” was a theme that came to life at the Lunchtime Live Zone, interactive live event experiences including instant personalized song writing, the first Virtual Reality Photo Booth and “Sand Selfies”.

The new CSR & Sustainability initiatives this year by IMEX America included using recyclable carpet in the aisles and in some of the booths and not printing a Show Catalog. The show was also supporting “Spread the Word Nevada” by encouraging participants to donate books to a local literacy scheme. For those taking particular care of their health there was the #IMEXrun which this year attracted over 450 runners.

IMEX America is widely known for its networking opportunities. More than 6,000 peer-to peer introductions were made in advance of the show via the Zenvoy connections software, while a wide range of social activities such as SITE Nite North America, the EIC Hall of Leaders Reception, Shamrock Shootout Golf Classic and MPI Foundation Rendezvous, the IMEX America Night brought thousands of people together.

Ray Bloom added, “It’s not just the associations with their major events. Many exhibitors have also been investing in creating major hospitality events, taking over restaurants and bars across the city. It all adds to the overall value and experience for both buyers and suppliers.

“I’d like to thank all our industry partners for their continuing support and to congratulate them on the many fantastic networking events that they have arranged to take place here at IMEX America. The worldwide industry has been in Las Vegas this week and I look forward to seeing everyone next year.”

Looking to the future, the IMEX Group announced that it has formed a partnership with Skift with its new Skift Cities platform that will examine how mid-sized cities are leveraging their innovation economies to reposition themselves in the meetings industry as catalysts and collision spaces for new ideas. This will result in the publication of a trends report in 2018.

Ray Bloom concluded, saying, “This has been a week when the positive outlook of everyone has ensured that doing business, planning meetings and events continues to be a powerful way to regenerate and drive economies forward.”

Ray Bloom was joined on stage at the show closing press conference by show partner executives Paul Van Deventer, President & CEO at MPI; Cathy Tull, Senior Vice President of Marketing for the LVCVA and Chandra Allison, Senior Vice President of Sales for The Venetian® | The Palazzo® | Sands Expo®.

Seventh IMEX America marked by #VegasStrong start and undaunted business focus

The seventh edition of IMEX America opened earlier today at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas. Although the preshow week was marked by tragedy in the city, from the moment the doors opened on the leading trade show for the US and global meetings industry, it was clear that North American and international planners, executives and suppliers had turned out in force.

With a record 3,300 exhibiting companies the IMEX show floor represents a truly global showcase of suppliers, including all of the world’s largest hotel groups, mature and mid-sized cities from across North America, Europe, South America, Russia, India, China and Africa, destination marketing companies, convention bureaus and agencies. The number of incentive travel and promotional incentive exhibitors has also increased.

As the show opened, pre-booked appointments between buyers and exhibitors were tracking slightly higher than in previous years. Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group said: “Appointment numbers are an important measure for us and our appointment-led business model is an asset for both buyers and suppliers. By arranging appointments in advance, frequently based on an RFP or event specification, we can see how much business is conducted across the week. And we know from experience that appointments at IMEX frequently lead to big deals, sometime two and even three years down the line.”

Michael Unanue of the Stein Eriksen Collection of hotels said: “Today has been phenomenal. I’ve already got 10 RFPs. We’re meeting decision-makers ready to place business. The quality of buyers here is superb.”

Hosted buyer Chris Brown of the National Association for Law Placement, based in Washington DC, came to meet shortlisted venues for the 2023 convention and look out for destinations for future meetings. “This is the perfect place to progress event projects, having face to face meetings with everyone I want to see all under one roof. I can also arrange my appointments around interesting education sessions. It’s ideal.”

Andrew Lavelle of the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine said: “There are many new technology ideas here that I didn’t know about and it helps to talk them over one to one and have them demonstrated to me. It’s been a really good day.”

Record-breaking 250 education sessions

With a record-breaking 250 education sessions on offer all week, the majority of which count towards CMP Certification, IMEX attendees were not short of choice or opportunity on day one.

Education highlights included the MPI Academy’s “How meeting planners can change the world” and “Act like a planner, think like a hotel” with Jasmine Eldeen of HelmsBriscoe. The first day was also strong on technology. Tahira Endean, Event Producer for BC Innovation Council offered planners detailed insights into current event tech plus guided Tech Tours. Other tech sessions included “Event networking 21st century style” with Laura Welsh, CEO of Conference Scheduling Solutions and “Why are you still not snapchatting?” with Tara Thomas, CEO of The Meeting Pool, who also presented “How to host a tech bar.”

The #IMEXpitch rounded off the day’s technology focus with finalists Mixtroz, Sciensio, AtlasRTX, Bizly  and Snöball competing for judges’ votes, free exhibition space and audience praise. The competition was ultimately won by EventBots by Sciensio. Meanwhile at the TechTribe booth dozens of women in events gathered for an end of day happy hour.

The #IMEXpitch rounded off the day’s technology focus with finalists Mixtroz, Sciensio, AtlasRTX, Bizly and Snöball competing for judges’ votes, free exhibition space and audience praise. The competition was ultimately won by EventBots by Sciensio. Meanwhile at the TechTribe booth dozens of women in events gathered for an end of day happy hour.

Earlier in the day an audience of over 500 gathered in the Sands Showroom to hear meetings industry leaders speak about #VegasStrong, the campaign created following the tragic events of October 1st. Ray Bloom, IMEX Chairman, was joined on stage by Jim Murren, Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, Roger Dow, President and CEO of the US Travel Association, Rossi Ralenkotter, President and CEO of the LVCVA and David Peckinpaugh, President Maritz Global Events. Murren told the audience “We are heart-broken but not broken” and reminded them that “People here have a job because of you. Meetings and conventions are the backbone of this city. Without them everything else falls away.” Ralenkotter spoke movingly about changing the way he describes the 43 million visitors who come to the city each year as “43 million friends” due to the huge outpouring of support the city had experienced over the past week.

“Strength is our promise for tomorrow”

Echoing the words of the #VegasStrong campaign – “Strength is our promise for tomorrow” – IMEX America will open tomorrow with the #IMEXrun at 6am followed by the 150th IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum and important news announcements from several exhibitors, including SMG World, Royal Lancaster Hotel London, the Department of Sport and Tourism Moscow, Event Mobi, Ovation Global DMC and Tourism New Zealand.

The essential questions about sustainability, CSR and meetings; a visit to IMEX America will provide all the answers – and plenty of great ideas!

What is best practice in sustainability in the meetings industry? What’s the easy way to introduce best practice? How can I articulate the business case for sustainability? How can we eliminate waste at meetings?

These are among the important questions that venue and event managers now frequently face.

They can find the answers to these and many more questions about sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) all under one roof by visiting IMEX America in Las Vegas, October 10-12. Sustainability will be one of the ten tracks that are covered by the 180 plus sessions in the vast education program at the show’s Inspiration Hub.

World class expert speakers and one-to-one consultations

From Smart Monday, October 9 until Thursday afternoon, world class experts will be leading more than a dozen workshops and campfires on all aspects of this key topic. Experts will be also available for one-to-one consultations. During Smart Monday, in a session organized by MPI, there will be opportunities to benchmark their activities against others through The Global Destinations Sustainability Index, also to look “behind the scenes” at The Venetian® | The Palazzo® and the Sands Expo® to see how the hotel and venue minimize waste and maximize recycling.

Recent research by the IMEX Group and Meeting Professionals International (MPI) reveals how far the industry has gone in progressing its approach to this issue. Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of event strategists have increased their efforts in the last five years to put sustainability best practice into action, including 21 per cent who declare they have ‘significantly increased’ their efforts.

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, said; “As shown by our research, sustainability continues to be a key issue for meeting planners and venues alike. Attendees at all events want to know that the organizers are planning those events in a responsible way – minimizing waste and the impact on both the local and global environment. We always seek to tackle the key industry issues through our education program, as well as providing innovative ideas and solutions.”

IMEX America is again reinforcing its strong commitment to CSR and sustainability. This year for the first time it is partnering with “Spread the Word Nevada”, a literacy non-profit organization. Attendees are invited to bring their favorite book to the show to donate to the local charity which will pass them on to children and adults across Southern Nevada.

No printed catalog – saving paper

This year IMEX America has added several more sustainability initiatives. 20 metric tonnes of paper will be saved by no longer printing a show catalog, and badges will be printed on paper rather than card. For the first time also, the carpet in the aisles and in some of the booths will be made from 25 per cent recycled materials and is 100 per cent recyclable.

These new developments are in addition to the already well-established sustainability and CSR programs and best practices at the show that include waste recycling and diversion of exhibitors’ unused materials, energy use, Clean the World® hygiene kit making, Waterwise Wednesday food and drink offerings, the Badge Back program and the #greencaffeine initiative.

CSR and Sustainability Showcase

These activities will be brought together at the show at the CSR and Sustainability Showcase which is sponsored by Costa Rica and supported by AlliedPRA and GES. This will be beside the entrance to the show floor from Tuesday October 10.

For exhibitors IMEX produces a comprehensive Sustainable Exhibiting Guide, which offers tips on how to make small changes that make a big difference. The IMEX Group is also sponsoring Positive Impact’s campaign to tell the story of the power of events during the United Nations International Year of Sustainable Tourism 2017.

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, commented: “We have always been committed to sustainability, not only in sharing knowledge and encouraging best practice within the industry but also demonstrating our commitment through our own activities. We work closely with our partners including GMIC, MeetGreen® and The Venetian® | The Palazzo® and the Sands Expo® to comply with APEX/ASTM standards as far as possible and, with their help, make good progress each year.

“The Venetian® | The Palazzo® and the Sands Expo® has a program to donate unserved food from conventions to local food banks. In October, it is expected to reach a substantial milestone – 300,000 meals donated since the program began – a terrific achievement.”

“If every exhibitor and every attendee at IMEX America takes just one more practical step to help reduce waste or operate more sustainably at our show then the entire industry’s contribution to greater sustainability, its legacy, will increase immensely.”

IMEX America announces dates and venues up to 2025, confirming move to September in 2019 and 2020

The IMEX Group – organizers of IMEX America – have announced the dates and locations for their industry leading Las Vegas show through 2025.
Ray Bloom, Chairman of the IMEX Group said, “We know that our industry partners from across North America and around the world plan numerous activities and co-located events around IMEX America. In addition, the fall is a very busy period for the industry. As a result, we felt that it was important to give the industry as much notice as possible with regards to our dates and venues going forward to assist with their own planning.
“In particular, we wanted to remind the industry that we will be moving from our usual October dates to September for two (2) years in 2019 and 2020.”
In addition to confirming the dates, the IMEX Group have also announced that from 2021, after ten successful years at the Sands Expo & Convention Center, IMEX America will move to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

Ray went on to explain, “The Sands Expo team have been wonderfully supportive partners since well before our inaugural show in 2011 and we are looking forward to four more successful shows working with them, through 2020. Their contribution in helping us to establish IMEX America in Las Vegas as the event where everyone from our industry, from the USA and worldwide, gathers each fall has been invaluable. We are incredibly grateful for their partnership and are looking forward to continuing that partnership for many years into the future.

“However, we were not able to lock in space from 2021 onward. Therefore, after celebrating ten years working together and enjoying a fantastic relationship with the Las Vegas Sands team, we shall be moving to Mandalay Bay. We look forward to establishing successful partnerships with the Mandalay Bay and MGM Resorts International teams and we know that their world-class facilities will be an equally fitting home for the show.”

Long standing IMEX partner, the Sands Expo, commented, “As the leader of the meetings and tradeshow industry, we always felt that Las Vegas Sands was the perfect partner to assist in the launch of IMEX,” said Chandra Allison, senior vice president of sales for The Venetian, The Palazzo and Sands Expo. “It has been a pleasure helping IMEX grow to become one of the most successful annual events for meeting professionals. The show has evolved, and so has the industry. We recognize this is the right time for the show to move to its next destination. We look forward to continuing our partnership and support of IMEX America in Las Vegas for many years to come.”
Talking about their excitement in hosting the show in the future, MGM Resorts International and Mandalay Bay commented, “We are honored to partner with IMEX America and to keep such a prestigious industry event in Las Vegas. As an active supporter of IMEX, MGM Resorts International is excited to create new experiences for attendees at Mandalay Bay. We will continue to showcase the city of Las Vegas and MGM Resorts International as the leading meeting and events destination” said Stephanie Glanzer, CMP, Vice President Sales of Mandalay Bay.
Dates and Location Summary

The dates and venues for IMEX America for the next eight years will be:

  • 2018   October, 16-18   Sands Expo
  • 2019   September, 10-12  Sands Expo
  • 2020   September, 15-17  Sands Expo
  • 2021   November, 9 -11  Mandalay Bay
  • 2022   October, 25-27   Mandalay Bay
  • 2023   October, 10-12   Mandalay Bay
  • 2024   October, 8-10   Mandalay Bay
  • 2025   October, 7-9   Mandalay Bay

IMEX America, America’s worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings & events, will take place from October 10 – 12, 2017 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center at The Venetian and The Palazzo, preceded by Smart Monday, powered by MPI on October 9.
Further details about the show can be found on the new-look website.

 

“The golden key to your company’s success” – white space and well-being explored through events, experts and education at IMEX America 2017

White space, “unplugging”, nutrition and mindfulness are all elements of well-being, a topic that is increasingly topping the to-do list for event strategists and meeting planners, and one that is explored in detail at IMEX America this year.

The show, taking place October 10 – 12 in Las Vegas, shines a light on all aspects of well-being with events, expert advice, activities and dedicated education sessions.

The importance of setting aside time for deliberation and insight is explored by Juliet Funt, CEO of WhiteSpace at Work, in her MPI keynote Activity is Not Productivity. According to Juliet, white space – uncommitted, flexible time with no agenda – is “the golden key to your company’s success.”

Building on this, a dedicated new white space area gives attendees the opportunity to sit and reflect on education sessions, with the chance to explore them further.

Further insights into health and well-being are delivered through the comprehensive education program which has a dedicated health and well-being track with sessions on food trends, stress, meditation and mindfulness. Author and presenter Kathy Gruver delivers a session on Navigating nutrition: what to add and subtract for better health, and Debra Zabloudil, founder of the Learning Studio, will discuss Mayhem or mindfulness: increase your emotional intelligence and balance.

All attendees can also enjoy a daily dose of well-being at the Be Well Lounge, sponsored by Hilton. Mindfulness trainer Lee Papa and her expert team at Mindful Makeovers™ believe “business and mindfulness go hand in hand” and will offer regular sessions on mindfulness and meditation every day.

On Wednesday October 11 the popular #IMEXrun returns, with hundreds of individuals and teams expected to take on the 5km route along the Strip.

Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX Group, explains: “It’s widely recognized that physical activity contributes to well-being in both our business and personal lives. We’re finding that, increasingly, meeting professionals are keen to maintain healthy habits when traveling – as well as wanting to better understand how and what to incorporate into their own events and meetings.

“The wide range of well-being innovations at IMEX America this year support this by enabling attendees to energize and recharge so they’re on top form to make the most of and enjoy their time at the show – they’re also a valuable source of ideas for their own events.”

A survey carried out by MPI for IMEX focused on stress at work. MPI surveyed a number of meetings professionals on their ability to unplug and found that while only 5% of the meetings professionals surveyed admit to feeling no stress at work, a huge 95% struggle to separate work life from personal life.

Carina Bauer concludes: “There are many ways in which event organizers can integrate health and well-being into their activities, and they don’t have to blow the budget or completely overhaul their program. Small, simple changes such as providing healthier snacks, opportunities for physical activity and time out for reflection are all that’s required – and, we believe, the various well-being initiatives at the show will be inspiring.”

#IMEX17

To attend IMEX America as an attendee buyer, please register here.

Innovation and Energy Drive Business at IMEX America

The sixth IMEX America set new records all around the show, reported IMEX Group Chairman Ray Bloom as this year’s event drew to a close.

There was a record number of exhibiting companies – 3,250, a 4.8% increase on 2015 – representing 139 countries. They included 69 new booths and another 69 booths had expanded year on year. Together they created the largest ever IMEX America.

Well over 3,000 hosted buyers attended the show this year, also a new record.

An important new pinnacle was reached in the number of appointments. More than 60,000 individual appointments and booth presentations were made, while there were 10,000 attendances by buyers at group appointments. This represented a 5% increase in appointments on 2015.

This year IMEX America introduced a new feature to its appointment scheduling system – appointment types. When making an appointment buyers were asked to specify the reason for the meeting; as well as being invited to attach a profile or mini-RFP to their appointment.

This year IMEX America introduced a new feature to its appointment scheduling system – appointment types. When making an appointment buyers were asked to specify the reason for the meeting; as well as being invited to attach a profile or mini-RFP to their appointment.

The result was that the proportion of appointments with RFPs attached increased significantly from 51% of appointments in 2015 to 69% this year.

Ray Bloom commented: “This is an important innovation enabling both buyers and exhibitors to be better prepared for their meetings. It has made a great impact on the appointments taking place on the show floor.”

Michelle Romein, Director of Corporate Events, Americas for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts validated Bloom’s observation. “The new appointment profiles and types have been valuable to us, particularly in helping us to allocate the most appropriate person to the meeting.”

Important initiatives and innovation

The Exhibition and Meetings Safety and Security Initiative (EMSSI) was launched at the show, attended by Bruce Davidson, director of the U.S Office of SAFETY Act Implementation. Ray Bloom said; “There is no greater issue facing our industry and to start the process of agreeing a comprehensive set of nationally recognized event security guidelines and standards is an extremely important and valuable step for everyone.”

A series of event tech, innovation and sustainability tours were among the many new initiatives in the show floor education program which this year offered a record 269 sessions. 86% of these sessions were assigned with CEs for CMP certification, more than ever before. A new Senior Planner Open Forum was successfully introduced for those with 10 years plus experience and the daily MPI keynotes attracted great interest and gathered strong positive feedback.

Ray Bloom reported that more than 1,000 delegates attended educational events on Smart Monday, powered by MPI, and supported by association partners, IAPCO, ICCA, ASAE, PCMA, HSMAI, DMAI, SITE, GBTA, GMIC and ECM. The new programs for Association Focus and the Executive Meeting Forum and this year’s PCMA Business School were all notable successes that day.

More than 40 leading buyers from the corporate sector who control annual meetings budgets in excess of $3.4billion attended the annual Executive Meetings Forum. The group included senior executives from Cisco Systems, EY Group, Wells Fargo and BP.

The introduction of the Zenvoy business networking software to help participants make connections had generated more than 3,000 introductions so far and more are expected over the coming months.
In addition, IMEX America is now a magnet for the industry. Ray Bloom says “Many people say to me ‘everyone in the industry is here this week.’

There is great camaraderie here, not only around the show floor but also at key events such as SITE Nite North America, at the CIC Hall of Leaders Reception, CEIR Golf Classic and last night’s superb MPI Foundation Rendezvous, the IMEX America Night.’

IMEX America continued to develop its CSR & Sustainability activities, introducing Garbage Grabbers-Clean Up Las Vegas on Monday, a #GreenCaffeine campaign as well as a CSR & Sustainability Showcase at the show entrance. All these initiatives had a great impact while this year’s IMEXrun attracted over 800 runners.
To further enhance the buyer experience, the IMEX Group has appointed DoubleDutch as the new mobile solution provider for IMEX in Frankfurt and IMEX America. DoubleDutch is the global leading provider of event apps and the Live Engagement Platform that allows attendees to engage and participate in conversations real-time via the digital channel.

Before concluding Ray Bloom said; “This has been an exciting week for doing business, learning and networking. But also the high quality of the booths and the tremendous energy of the exhibitors and buyers has made an enormous contribution. They have created a great atmosphere around the show.’

Bloom also announced the dates for IMEX America in 2019 (10 – 12 September) and 2020 (15 – 17 September).

Ray Bloom was joined on stage by show partner executives Matthew Marcial, VP of Education and Events at MPI, Chris Meyer, VP of Global Business Sales for the LVCVA and Chandra Allison, Vice President of Sales for The Venetian®|The Palazzo®.

How to convince a resistant audience – PCMA Business School at IMEX America suggests emotion is the key

Meeting professionals from across the US and the globe learned how to fine-tune their business relationship skills, and went home inspired to practice on their children, friends and even the family dog.

In the course of a single afternoon at the third PCMA Business School (held as part of IMEX America’s Smart Monday) attendees learned just how much human instinct and animal behaviour govern our reaction to the world and people around us.

Facing a sceptical audience who are reluctant to listen, let alone consider the ideas being explained to them, is a challenge familiar for presenters. So PCMA’s latest MBA-level education course “Make your ideas stick with persuasive presentation skills”, sponsored by Synchronicities, proved to be a magnetic prospect.

The speaker, highly acclaimed expert Richard Cox, lecturer in organizational behavior at Stanford University Graduate School of Business and founder of People Rocket, captured his audience, urging them to ‘risk becoming human’. Time and again Cox demonstrated the power of emotion and well-crafted storytelling to achieve stronger connections and build more meaningful relationships, be it with colleagues or clients.

He revealed a number of useful engagement tricks, such as how to use drama, where and when to introduce suspense or surprise and, importantly, mystery. Cox urged his audience to practice their newly discovered tools with their children, in the car and even in a single minute before entering a meeting room. He explained: “We all know how to tell good stories…it’s innate. I started my career as a computer technical engineer and learned how to hone my own communication skills through years of improv. If I can do it, anyone can.”

Later on he talked about the differences between power, status and authority – and how dangerous it can be for those who confuse one with the other. “We all know people who have authority – the title – but not the status to perform effectively. To develop really sound, satisfying relationships we need to respect each other. True success isn’t about power play. Good leaders, for example, love their organisations and their employees. They are authentic and know that having an attitude of service widens their range of influence – and their performance,” he explained.

Sherrif Karamat, COO of PCMA said: “Business events are a key driver of any organization’s business objectives, and PCMA’s Business School at IMEX America is intended to equip today’s business event strategists, and meeting professionals with the knowledge and insights they require to ensure that they are achieving success through events.”

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group commented: “The PCMA Business School has quickly become an important element of Smart Monday at IMEX America. It is one of the higher level educational sessions that meet the needs of both buyers and suppliers in the industry and we are proud to be able to deliver this in partnership with PCMA. Once more it has proved to be a really engaging and thought-provoking session. Good business relationships are all about influence, communication and connection – and I know Richard’s audience today were inspired and empowered on all of these fronts.”

The next PCMA Business School will take place at IMEX in Frankfurt 2017. More information will be released shortly.

The PCMA Business School was founded on the belief that business events require both strategy and a high level of business acumen. PCMA Business School programs help to hone the business skills of event strategists by delivering a high level of interactive education sessions, delivered by some of the best business education professionals in the world.

Smart Monday: “The perfect start to the week!”

“The perfect start to the week” – although Camila Pelaes, a Hosted Buyer from Colombia, was speaking about Jon Bradshaw’s opening MPI keynote session on Monday, she captured the thoughts of many of the 1,000+ meeting professionals who were in Las Vegas for Smart Monday–powered by MPI before IMEX America opened on Tuesday.

With 66 sessions arranged by MPI, plus the PCMA Business School, Association Focus, Executive Meeting Forum, the Playroom and a new Sharing Economy panel discussion, there was something for everyone at every level of seniority and experience – and plenty of opportunities to acquire CE credits.

After Jon Bradshaw shared insights and advice from behavioral psychology to help people interact more effectively, Carol Gaughan, a meeting planner from Connecticut said: “It made me feel energized, really upbeat and positive.”

Rebecca Lovelace of New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, sponsor of Monday’s MPI Keynote said. “This was a great start to Smart Monday. It will help to keep in mind the power of interpersonal communication throughout the week.”

Rewarding

Shannon Wayt Sessions of EY Group (Ernst & Young) was one of over 40 senior corporate meeting executives from major corporations at the Executive Meeting Forum, an exclusive day of discussion, learning and networking with industry colleagues.

“This is the best and most professionally rewarding day of my year. Sharing knowledge with my peers is priceless” was Shannon’s opinion on the event. Kelly Curry of Office Depot said, “It’s been incredible. The program has been great and sharing experience with my peers stimulating.”

The Playroom brought creativity to Smart Monday. Participants bounced around ideas and tried out new creative play techniques. Kim Estep and Shari Melillo of Convention Nation thought “This is a wonderful idea, a great break from the classroom, it’s personal and hands-on. We love it.”

Creating even more customization, Association Focus had a new, highly tailored program including a new C-level learning stream led by John Graham, President and CEO of ASAE.

PCMA Business School attracted a lively audience to learn persuasive presentation skills facilitated by Richard Cox from Stanford University. Cathrine Seidel Tvede of Copenhagen CVB said “It was great to have someone from outside the industry sharing his insights. He made me realize that using emotion achieves so much more than details. It was really informative.”

The MPI sessions throughout Smart Monday are designed to help with key skills that meeting professionals need to move onward and upward in their careers. Many exhibitors including Roman Muska of the Prague Convention Bureau also took the opportunity to update their knowledge before the exhibition opens. “There’s plenty that is really valuable for exhibitors to learn as well as buyers. I’d warmly recommend it.”

Suzanne Arteaga, a Hosted Buyer from the National Fisheries Institute said. “Paws for a Break is a lovely new feature. Being able to interact with dogs during the show makes me happy.’’

Finally, Ramon Bocarro of State Farm Insurance said: ‘’IMEX delivers the best ROI of any conference! The education today is superb.’’

IMEX America research reveals the untapped potential for event technology

61.3 per cent of meeting professionals agreed that currently available event technology makes event management much easier and that it will develop and change dramatically in the next 10 years, but 92 per cent admit that meeting planners are not making the most of such technology solutions.

 

These were among the key findings of new research carried out for IMEX America by Meeting Professionals International (MPI) providing fascinating insight into the views of meeting professionals on event technology.

 

It also revealed that when buying event technology products and services, only 21.2 per cent of those surveyed approached the project with confidence.

 

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group said: “Event technology is a fast growing sector that offers vast untapped potential to help with the planning and efficient operation of events.

 

“We believe that having technology demonstrated by experts face to face is a highly effective way for buyers to get to grips with technology and discover how it could help them. At IMEX America we have facilitated this through guided tours and demonstrated such technology in dedicated educational areas. In addition, the many event technology suppliers at the show will be happy to explain the capabilities and benefits of what they offer at their booths.”

 

Among the initiatives that IMEX America has introduced to meet this need is the EventTechTours. Taking place throughout the show, they will be led by Tahira Endean, who was recognized in 2015 as one of the Top Five Women in EventTech and who now specialises in explaining the integration of technology into our lives, businesses and events.

 

Innovation Tours are also planned for Tuesday and Wednesday, led by Glenn Thayer of Emcee Squared. They will demonstrate how tech, innovation and trends can be implemented into general sessions, as well as examining the future of meeting experiences.

 

IMEX America also features the TECHknowledge Area, powered by The Meeting Pool, where experts will deliver targeted technology sessions, TECHbytes, answering questions on hot topics such as Snapchat, Slack, OneNote and wearable technology, and guide buyers through the latest tech in the Gadget Lab. More information is available here.

 

The survey also asked “what problems do you face in your day-to-day work that you would like technology to solve for you, that isn’t currently covered?” The responses revealed a strong widespread demand for ’consolidation, integration, ‘one-stop’ complete solutions and consistency.’

 

Typical of these views were requests for ‘the compilation of information from various sources/modules into a single flexibly formatted report;’ ‘a one-stop, affordable complete event management solution, from exhibitor management to budget reconciliation’; and ‘one SMMP system consolidating everything including event management and procurement’.

 

Carina Bauer concludes by adding “The industry is clearly seeing the tip of the iceberg in event technology at present. We expect there to be much more to come and we believe that by visiting the event technology area at the show and making the most of our Tours and TECHknowledge Area, buyers can learn so much that will be valuable to them in planning and running their events more effectively now and in future.”

 

IMEX America 2016 takes place from 18 – 20 October in Las Vegas. For more information about the show please visit http://www.imexamerica.com.