Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

June 17 2013

Take A Look Inside an Award-Winning Trade Show

By David McMillin, Staff Writer



A sold-out show floor. A Grand Award recipient for Highest Growth in Exhibitor Numbers at the Trade Show Executive Fastest 50 Awards & Summit. Requests from returning exhibitors to increase booth space by 50 percent.

No, these are not the fantasies of a trade show organizer. These are the realities for IMEX America, the annual show in Las Vegas that’s been building buzz around the industry since it first launched in the fall of 2011.

“We launched IMEX America because we felt that there was a real gap within the meetings, travel and incentives industry in the US market for the hosted buyer model,” Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX Group, says. “For international exhibitors, there wasn’t anywhere they could go in the States for guaranteed access to US buyers booking internationally on a large scale.”

Now, international and US-based exhibitors clearly have a place to go in Las Vegas each October - on a scale that’s getting even larger. In 2013, the show, scheduled to be held October 15 - 17 at the newly renovated Sands Expo in Las Vegas, is on track to set new highs for numbers of hosted buyers, exhibiting companies and new exhibitors.

While hosted buying may be different from the traditional trade show model, the secret behind the success of IMEX America is the same.

“In terms of success, the bottom line is straightforward,” Bauer says. “It’s about delivering ROI for all your participants. If any show can do that, I think it will achieve success.”

SEE ALSO: What Attendees Want From Exhibitors

More Than Just the Show Floor

At IMEX America, delivering that ROI relies on more than business opportunities. While the recipe at IMEX America involves pairing exhibitors with interested corporate, association and agency buyers, Bauer attributes the show’s impressive growth as much to the activity that happens away from the show floor and outside the hours of scheduled appointments. In 2012, more than 1,000 participants arrived a day before the exhibit hall even opened to be part of Smart Monday, a full day of learning.

“In the US in particular, there is a huge demand for adult learning opportunities,” Bauer says. “It’s growing in Europe, but it’s already very strong in the States.”

“Participants are looking for added value to help justify their attendance - both to themselves and their organizations,” Bauer adds. “That added value comes with education.”

In 2013, Bauer says that show is aiming to deliver even more of that additional value, too. Smart Monday will be bigger than ever before including sessions specifically targeted toward professionals who have been in the industry for over 15 years.

BE PART OF THE ACTION: IMEX America registration is now open

Strength in Numbers

The combination of business and education opportunities make IMEX America the place to be in mid-October, which paved the way toward 12 co-located events in 2012 with organizations such as PCMA, MPI and US Travel. While plenty of industry associations invite attendees to their own educational and fundraising events in Las Vegas, Bauer says that companies like HelmsBriscoe, Aimia and Maritz also hold internal meetings and customer events during the show week, too.

“A lot of people can gather both their clients and their own team members ,” Bauer says. “It helps the industry increase efficiencies with their time and their spend.”

It also gives the industry an opportunity to celebrate. This year, CIC will help kick off the week on October 13 as the organization hosts its Hall of Leaders ceremony in conjunction with IMEX America to honor six new inductees.

And Getting Even Stronger...

IMEX America is continuing to gain momentum. Just look at last year’s sell-out for proof, or ask new exhibitors such as Atlanta CVB, Worldhotels and Cirque du Soleil. However, as the demand for booth space increases, show organizers are careful to ensure that the show always delivers the same top-notch experience for everyone.

“It’s very important for us to accurately predict our exhibitor growth and then work to get a similar growth in the number of buyers,” Bauer says. “It’s all about that ratio.”

To learn more about why everyone in the industry is talking about the hosted buyer model, click here to visit the official IMEX America website. Registration for this year’s show is now open.

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