The IMEXperience: Insights from IMEX America 2022
Last week, 14 of our M&IW team members attended IMEX America in Las Vegas, the largest trade show in the US for global meetings, events, and incentive travel. They connected with global venues and suppliers, explored the latest innovations in event technology, networked with professionals from across the industry, and more.
Read on as some of our attendees share their experiences and insights. Thank you to our hosts for making this experience possible!
Carolyn Capobianco, CMP
Customer Success Lead
Host: MGM Resorts
“I loved the focus on health and wellness. IHP set up a whole space dedicated to it with a Be Well Lounge that had relaxation stations, juice shots for energy and focus, and mini sessions on different wellness topics. I would love to see this incorporated into more of our customer events.
Another big takeaway is that Cvent is sunsetting Crowd Compass at the end of the year, so they are making updates to Attendee Hub. Within the next eight months, Attendee Hub’s mapping and schedule of events will be improved, and they’re adding a travel details section, video capabilities, and a messaging feature from one person to many others. Picture sharing and a social feed with emojis and like are coming soon, too.”
Sr. Event Experience Manager
Host: Ruby Serra Associates
“Some words that describe the experience are amazing, exhausting, and interesting. As a first timer, it’s challenging to not be overwhelmed, but you do what you can to maximize your time there. Overall, it was a very educational and great experience.
I learned that sustainability is a big issue, and attendees are concerned with social responsibility. The Americas are behind Europe and Australia with policies and practices. It’s no secret that food waste is a large issue at meetings, but I learned there are organizations that work with hotels to manage/donate leftover food. There was also a focus on wellbeing and mindfulness not only for attendees but for planners, too, as well as interesting discussions on how psychological safety is important for a meaningful event experience.”
Sr. Event Sourcing Manager
Host: Marriott International – UK
“IMEX was busy with hotel partners, destination presentation, buyers, and event suppliers. I was pleasantly surprised to see our industry thriving and busy in making useful connections again. It was an amazing trade show to build and add to our existing knowledge base for new destinations, new hotels in existing destinations, newer hotel partners, and new ideas. Also, to strengthen our relationship with new and existing hotel partners and suppliers. Invaluable knowledge was shared and acquired.
Some of my biggest takeaways are that different hotel brands are working together to make a destination more attractive to international buyers. This is happening in cities like Austin; Washington, D.C.; Baltimore; Boston; San Francisco; Miami; and more. Also, many Asian hotels and destinations are ready for international events again, which is exciting!”
Mae Ibe, CMP
Director, Conference & Tradeshow Services
Host: Wynn Las Vegas
“The connections with the suppliers along with the education is the main reason I wanted to attend this year. In addition, it’s nice to meet with other planners to network and learn about their challenges and successes. Seeing the amount of industry professionals at IMEX was a nice surprise. It was a huge relief to see all the activity and know that we are back to business after the pandemic.
There were some cool new offerings from tech suppliers, including new speaker management platforms, on-demand badges (besides Cvent), and attendee tracking, but many planners that I spoke with have similar challenges in this ‘new’ world we plan in. Little hotel availability; price increases, particularly in A/V; stricter contract clauses with hotels; and hotels having little to no flexibility are big ones.”
Team Lead, Sourcing Specialist
Host: Omni Hotels
“I would recommend IMEX to anyone in a sourcing or planning role. The appointments are a great opportunity to learn as much as you can about a specific hotel or even destination. With personal and business travel somewhat limited the last couple of years, it was nice to reconnect and relearn about some of these destinations.
Across the industry, I learned that demand is still really high for 2023, and we need to book these events quickly as space is already limited. 2024 looks much better, thankfully. Some of my biggest takeaways are that the market in LA County is much larger and has more hotels than I thought, and Omni Hotels are focusing on renovations, which many of the properties either currently under renovation or planned for 2023 or 2024.”
Sr. Event Sourcing Manager
Host: Hilton Hotels
“At IMEX this year, I focused on the smaller boutique properties in the US. Because I came from an account that did larger meetings, I was not familiar with many of the unique boutique properties that I am now being asked to source. I was pleasantly surprised by their offerings and capabilities, and I’m definitely more up to date with some of these gems! I have a much better portfolio to suggest to my customers.
One of the topics that were being discussed by some of my peers is the new meeting platform technology coming out that may give Cvent a run for its money. I am looking forward to hearing more about this and hopefully the new technology will expedite the RFP process and the reporting processes.”
Event Sourcing Manager
Host: Hyatt Hotels
“This was my first time attending IMEX America. I decided to attend to represent the wonderful team of M&IW. I also wanted to learn more about the different hotel options out there and meet face-to-face with everyone. I started with M&IW in March, so this was a great way to learn more about our industry. I was surprised how much I loved it!
IMEX helped me grow by allowing me to learn more about the multiple hotel brands and meeting locations around the world. Everyone I met with had a unique selling point for either their hotel or location. For example, Hyatt Hotels are focusing more than ever on sustainability and connecting with the community, and the Los Cabos Tourism Board shared that they’re continuing to grow and adding more resorts that are not all-inclusive.”
Event Experience Specialist
Host: Accor Hotels
“There seems to be an increased desire for incentives to be smaller and more specialized or regional. It’s a great opportunity to make the experience for the group very custom and personalized. I also learned about cruises from 3D Cruise Partners. Cruises are such an underrated option for incentives! They can be a unique way to give your group a fun experience while staying on budget.
Overall, I feel like I walked away from IMEX with a greater understanding of the scope of our locations, hotels, and local supplier partners. My favorite moment was meeting our contact at Access DMC. We instantly connected on how passionate we are about the industry and our customers. This really reminded me that we are a long-distance team working for the benefit of our customers.”
Vicki Walsh, HMCC
Director, Event Sourcing
Host: Marriott Luxury Brands
“With so many changes in our industry, I wanted to attend IMEX again and spend some face-to-face time with our hotel partners. There is still a lot of discussion surrounding this new environment.
Rates have increased for group business primarily due to the demand for leisure travel over the pandemic. Demand continues to rise for in-person meetings, causing high compression and quick turnaround times for contracts. Staffing remains the biggest challenge. Hotels are struggling to match the levels of service seen before the pandemic—not so much in the luxury properties but more in the business hotel area. My favorite time spent was with our hotel and NSO partners discussing these challenges and how we can continue to partner together to get through these hurdles.”
Interested in working with our team or learning more about their IMEXperience? Contact us.
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