IMEX America: “The Big Comeback We’ve All Been Waiting For”

The team behind IMEX America; Photo: IMEX Group

A return to form for the global meetings and business events industry marks the close of IMEX America 2022. The 11th edition of the largest trade show in the US for the meetings, events and incentive travel industry closed on Friday following four days of business and networking.

Speaking in the show’s closing press conference at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, IMEX Chairman, Ray Bloom, announced an overall participation of 12,000 people, of whom over 4,000 were buyers, 3,300 of these attended on the show’s hallmark hosted buyer program.

45 percent bigger

Bloom explained that the 2022 edition was 45 percent bigger than last year due to an easing of travel restrictions plus 40 percent of returning exhibitors taking more booth space.

International exhibitors are said to have returned in strong numbers. Of those who doubled the size of their booths, 24 percent were from North America, 23 percent were hotel groups, 15 percent were European and 12 percent from Asia. Latin America and tech exhibitors also showed significant increases.

Bloom continued, “The size of this year’s show is obviously a function of many in the industry being able to travel and plan meetings again and to do so with certainty. It’s been a long time coming and, although we produced a great show last year, this week felt like the big come-back we’ve all been waiting for.”

But challenges were still remaining.“It seems buyers are being more discerning”, Bloom observed. He explained that exhibitors had reported long pipelines, with business being placed as far out as 2028. Early today, Tourism Ireland announced they’d confirmed business to the value of EUR 10 million during the show, while Destination DC landed a large event for the American Distilling Association in 2026.

Bringing the industry together again

Having welcomed the largest group of faculty members in the world to IMEX America this week, Bloom reminded his audience that IMEX purposefully gathers every corner of the global industry together. “We’re not just talking about buyers and suppliers from all corners of the world. Hundreds of students, our future leaders, have been here, learning and experiencing the industry first-hand and seeing it in full colour. And IMEX together with IAEE invite faculty here too, delivering a program tailored specifically for them.”

According to a press release, some of the big topics at IMEX America included: service levels, contracts, wellbeing and mental health; the pros and cons of distributed workforces; Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEI+B) and sustainability, both personal and environmental.

Carina Bauer, IMEX Group CEO, said: “The juddering, global halt of the pandemic may be behind us, but its lessons live on. And, having talked about disruption as a tool for business transformation for so long, we’re now seeing what that really means. Many of these lessons are positive, innovative and long overdue.”

Felix Hormel

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