Las Vegas. A ‘buzzing’ first day at IMEX America at the Sands Expo, Las Vegas, yesterday meant a packed appointment schedule for many of the 1800-plus exhibitors and great satisfaction at the quality and number of buyers attending. Exhibitor feedback testified to the efforts of show organizers to attract large numbers of buyers from the US market. Jorge Franz, Vice President of International Group Sales and Tourism at the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau said: “We’ve had 52 appointments today and they’ve all been with new buyers we’ve not met before and they’ve come to us because they’re looking for new destinations in which to place business. We are one of just a few US CVBs to have an international division so the mix at this first show is ideal for us – it’s delivering both US and international interest. In short, for us, IMEX gets it!”
On the Visit England booth, David Surley described how pleased he was with the atmosphere in the halls. “It’s really buzzy in here and that’s important for business. There’s a fizz about it.”
Rachid Boulannouar of RaisingStonesEvents, Antibes, France, commented: “It’s been a really positive first day at a great first show and I’ve been impressed. We’ve done good business today and I’m excited about tomorrow.”
On the Argentina booth Lic Lisi Senabre explained how pleased she was at meeting the “right kind of buyers. A lot of them are interested in placing incentive business which is spot-on for us. And we’ve met lots of US buyers, which is precisely what we wanted from being here.”
Other exhibitor comments included: “We’ve been non-stop busy all morning” and “what really stands out is, that even though this is a first show, everyone is here.”
Elsewhere on the show floor, the IMEX America LearningCurve Zone proved a strong attraction with several sessions, particularly Shawna Suckow’s ‘Pet Peeves of Senior Level Planners’ and Dana Communications’ ‘Pink Socks and Pocket Protectors’ playing to packed and inquisitive audiences. John Nawn’s Meeting Design presentation also attracted a large crowd eager to learn more about how to deliver a better attendee experience at their meetings and events.
Speaking at the opening show press conference alongside IMEX Group Chairman, Ray Bloom, John Caparella President and COO of the show’s host hotel, The Venetian®|The Palazzo & Sands Expo, welcomed a room full of 50 press to “this city of cities.”
“It is a fact”, Caparella said, “that when a meeting or event comes to Vegas it grows by 13 per cent and if it moves away it tends to decline by around 7 per cent. I think that’s key for all of you to know.”
At the same event, Bruce MacMillan, President & CEO of MPI, IMEX America’s Strategic Partner and Premier Education Provider, told the audience: “When you look around that show floor you truly see a global event happening in America. That is very exciting. It is everything we wanted to achieve.”
Later Roger Dow, President of the US Travel Association, gave an important update on the Meetings Mean Business campaign, which was attended by over 100 people keen to hear more about the future plans and direction of the US meetings industry.