Last month, events professionals from around the world descended on Las Vegas for one of the top industry events of the year: IMEX America, the largest trade show in the US for global meetings, events, and incentive travel. M&IW team members from Event Sourcing and Incentives & Engagement joined thousands of attendees for specialist education, networking, and much more.
Thank you to our hosts for making this experience possible! Read on as some of our attendees share their experiences and insights.
Individual Incentive Travel Experience Manager
Host: Global Hosts
“This was my first time at IMEX. I was excited to make connections with our long-time partners and to find new opportunities for us to extend our Individual Incentive Travel (IIT) offerings. One of my biggest takeaways is that the attendee experience will be changing. The events industry has seen the slow shift from a group-focused attendee experience to a more curated, individualized experience. MPI’s hosted discussion ‘Committed to community: Strategies for building belonging into your events’ and Huong Nguyen’s ‘The Power of Experiential Content at Events’ discussed how we need to lean into the individual identities of our attendees and embrace the fact that everyone is different and will want a different experience. They encouraged personalized agendas to create a more memorable event and more loyalty from attendees to our customers.
Sustainability is also getting to be a bigger and better part of our industry. From booth design to new products on display, every booth was proudly advertising their sustainable efforts. For example, pc/nametag will be releasing a recyclable and sustainable lanyard to accompany their recyclable badges. Destinations like Ireland and Singapore had entire presentations about how they are working to become carbon neutral and offset any environmental challenges introduced by new events they host. It was great to see so many others in the industry joining M&IW’s commitment to sustainability.”
Event Sourcing Manager
“Exposing myself to this event and making those in-person connections is a huge advantage in the industry. The floor is HUGE, and I was able to meet so many people and create new connections for future business. One of my favorite moments was lunch with Visit Orlando. This was my first time really getting to know these ladies and how they are able to assist with business moving forward.
Event health and safety was a big topic that was widely discussed, as was sustainability. Many vendors had virtual business cards with a QR code that could be scanned. Once scanned, their contact information was added to your phone. Such a sustainable option!”
Sr. Manager, Incentives & Engagement
Host: Montage/Pendry Hotels
“The energy of the conference this year was amazing. I had many amazing conversations and networking opportunities. Face-to-face interaction is extremely important in the events industry. To be able to meet in person, discuss business, and build relationships is what makes this industry strong. The SITE Young Leader Conference was my highlight (pictured below). The attendees are under 35, and the amount that they care about this industry, the environment, and social justice inspired me that the future of this industry is bright and will be made better.
One of the hottest topics not just at the SITE Young Leader Conference but also during SMART Monday and in breakouts was AI. AI is not going away, and we need to incorporate it into our business. It can help us streamline presentations, respond to RFPs, build conference agendas, and who knows what else!”
Event Sourcing Manager
Host: Cosmopolitan/Marriott International
“This was my first time at IMEX, and meeting people face-to-face was so beneficial. Connections with hotels, NSOs/GSOs, and CVBs and having a face with a name makes negotiating hotel contracts for customers more streamlined and makes for a shorter timeframe for customers. You can also secure better terms and conditions along with savings when you actually know someone, and those relationships during difficult situations—whether it be getting documents in a timely manner or moving through a tough spot during negotiations—are invaluable.
Sustainability was brought up consistently throughout the event. The brand 1 Hotel is all about sustainability. They have measurable sustainability offerings at different levels, so groups can choose from these different levels and then track the impact of their meeting against sustainability. Another brand I learned about was Convene, an up-and-coming provider of premium venues in the US and UK. They’re another great option for meeting space availability for many clients. They are in urban cities and do not provide guest rooms, but with the continued trend of limited availability, especially for short-term events, this is another great option to source and present to our customers.”
Event Sourcing Manager
Host: Hilton Hotels
“I am new to the Event Sourcing team, and attending IMEX reinforced that M&IW is a well-respected and trusted partner in the industry. The demand for appointment requests and invitations for external events from suppliers was more than I expected. To me, this is such an indicator that we are appreciated in the industry. We truly work to the benefit of the customer and have the highest respect.
Some of my key takeaways are that room block patterns are key, so advance deposits or credit card authorizations are back up. Also, there is a push a memorable experience during a meeting rather than just content overload. Building time into the agenda for a local/cultural experience or wellness activity is becoming the norm.”
Manager, Event Sourcing
Host: Cosmopolitan/Marriott International Luxury
“I loved meeting with all our supplier partners in person and reconnecting with industry friends. Having that face-to-face interaction is critical to sustaining relationships the rest of the time we do business via email, phone, Cvent, and other formats. I met directly with our Global Sales contacts for several hotel brands and discussed market share insights, sustainability efforts, and new openings and renovations, all of which is valuable to bring back to our customers.
Sustainability was talked about at nearly every appointment. For example, Hyatt had a chef preparing plant-based appetizers to order, and Virginie De Visscher of Destination Canada is taking charge with a Sustainability Index that is already being used for cities across Canada and as a model around the world to measure sustainability metrics. I also noticed greater accessibility and inclusivity around the show floor, including gender neutral bathrooms and a mothering suite for nursing/pumping.”
Interested in working with our team or learning more about their IMEX insights? Contact us.
Interested in joining the M&IW team? Check out our open positions.