Written by Anne Zambrano | Marketing Project Lead
Offering dozens of brilliant speakers, days of fresh ideas and continuous inspiration at 180-plus educational and networking events over four days, IMEX America is a must attend event in the industry. M&IW had a large team of meeting industry professionals within various disciplines attend this year’s event. We couldn’t wait for their return to dive in to discuss their experience, biggest take-aways and how they can use their newfound knowledge to better serve our clients. And, of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t share it with our community.
Here is what our team had to say about IMEX America 2018:
Q. What were your biggest take-aways?
“Networking! It was so great to meet hoteliers that I book business with regularly and meet new friends at different properties/chains.” – Brianna Barclay – Associate Buyer, Hotel Procurement
“Face to face communication is still and always will be the best way to do business. In this time of increasing efficiencies, email and phone are going to be our primary modes of communication, but it is fundamental to build relationships and live meetings help us to better communicate the needs of our client, as well as sharing our issues, concerns and successes.” – Natalie Spacco, HMCC – Sr. Buyer & Team Lead, Hotel Procurement
“It was amazing to see the respect our partners and colleagues have for our organization. I felt a lot of love for M&IW. It was priceless experiencing the interactions our entire team had with other attendees and suppliers.” – Christine Matias, MA – Director, Program Management
Q. What were the newest trends or hot topics that were widely discussed?
“Busy, busy, busy. All hotels, especially US hotels, expressed that the industry is busier than ever and have very little availability for large programs through 2020. Some hotels could name only one or two weeks in the entire 2020 calendar year where they knew they had availability.” – Natalie Spacco, HMCC – Sr. Buyer & Team Lead, Hotel Procurement
“It was apparent that wellness and self-care are definitely an emerging event trend. There was a dedicated meditation and self-care room that was available during the entire conference. There were two rooms with low lights, essential oils and sound-proofing. One room featured padded mats and pillows. The other room featured quiet stations that allowed for intimate discussions. An amazing moment of calm to escape the event chaos for a moment if needed.” – Sarah Piggott, CMP – Meeting & Tradeshow Specialist, Attendee Registration
“I loved the cool custom-made gifts. They displayed amazing samples at IMEX and were super impressive with the level of customization that we do for our clients.” – Christine Matias, MA – Director, Program Management
Q. What was your favorite moment during the event?
“The concert put on by Marriott! All acts were amazing – but Journey was my favorite!” – Brianna Barclay – Associate Buyer, Hotel Procurement
“I greatly enjoyed having a special dinner with my host group and learning about hotels in special destinations in Asia and Europe. Several in which I will have a chance to visit in person over the next year.” – Natalie Spacco, HMCC – Sr. Buyer & Team Lead, Hotel Procurement
“Being invited to toast the anniversaries and success with two of our valued partners. It was very cool to be considered a special partner and be valued to be present at those moments.” – Christine Matias, MA – Director, Program Management
Q. How did the event help you grow in your area of expertise?
“This event helped me grow because it allowed me time face-to-face with hotels that I do not see on a regular basis. It gave me time to create a deeper partnership with that hotel/sales manager that will benefit both my client and the hotel. We also were able to brainstorm ways to make the small meetings fit within the hotel as well as work for my client.” – Brianna Barclay – Associate Buyer, Hotel Procurement
“Making face-to face connections and shaking hands really solidifies many of my partnerships. Now we are able to communicate and work together on a more personal level which makes business that much easier and more effective. We have a better sense of TEAM and partnership.” – Christine Matias, MA – Director, Program Management
“I came home with much more information than I had when I left. It helps to sit down with a hotel and see visuals of the property and how that property could be a potential good fit for my groups. Learning about location of the hotel and what is nearby for groups for offsite events, dinner, and shopping was an added bonus!” – Jennifer Kamps – Buyer, Hotel Procurement
“By meeting face-to-face with so many of our supplier partners and expanding my relationships and connections in the industry, I feel this will directly improve my ability to find good availability and negotiate on behalf of my clients. I also expanded my knowledge of legal issues on Smart Monday and learned about some new destinations.” – Natalie Spacco, HMCC – Sr. Buyer & Team Lead, Hotel Procurement
M&IW is committed to the professional development and personal enrichment of our team members. The focused nature of learning at a conference gives our team members tools and skills which cannot be taught in-house or online. The recurring theme we hear is the ability to network. There is no direct message, Skype, email or tweet that can rival a face to face meet up. Social media makes it easy for us to stay connected with our current network, but it also hinders branching out and expanding our networks.
As an innovative organization, it is imperative for us to stay on top of emerging trends and positive changes in our industry. So, keep an eye out for our team at other industry-leading events. Upcoming conferences are posted on our homepage. If you want to set up a time to connect with any of our team members attending, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.