The second edition of IMEX America came to a close earlier today with the announcement that all of the show’s key performance measures were up on last year’s debut show.
Speaking at the show’s closing press conference, Chairman Ray Bloom firstly thanked the show’s key partners who were also represented at the event – Cathy Tull, VP of Marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority; Cindy D’Aoust, COO and interim CEO of Meeting Professionals International; and Robert Rippee, SVP of Marketing at The Venetian®| The Palazzo®.
Bloom then went on to express his deep satisfaction that the show had hosted 2,400 buyers from across North America and 43 other global markets – 20% more than last year. In addition, the trade show had also welcomed around 1,700 attendees. He also explained that the new benefits and facilities package introduced for these attendees had been well-received.
This year 2,413 individual exhibiting companies showcased their destinations, venues, products, and services at the three-day trade show, filling halls C and D to capacity. As a result, Bloom announced that the show will move, as planned, to bigger halls at the Sands Expo® from 2013 to allow it to grow. He also announced that the hosted buyer program would also be significantly increased for the 2013 show.
He explained that, in the weeks prior to opening, hosted buyers and buyer attendees together had made over 38,000 appointments to meet with exhibitors on their booths – a 60% increase on the debut show. A notable feature of the show is the amount of time that buyers spend on the show floor and the seriousness with which they take their appointments – many booking business during the trade show.
APPOINTMENT SYSTEM SUCCESS
Appreciation of the simplified IMEX America online appointment scheduling system had been widespread, he said, with comments from Monique Thompkins of mPaisley’s Event Planning typical of many he’d received: “It’s been real easy to use the online appointment system – easy to schedule appointments and easy to change things around. It’s just excellent,” she told IMEX TV.
Bloom also quoted Barbara Shapiro, Director of Global Travel Resources/Global Site Inspections and also Business Development USA for 4 Corners Events DMC: “My hosted buyers are saying ‘I wish I could stay more than three days’ because everyone they want to see or learn about is here. I tell people, IMEX America gives you the world at your fingertips – for as long as your feet can hold out!”
Bloom also talked about the success of the US Travel Political Advocacy Forum (Tuesday, October 9), which was attended by Mayor of Las Vegas, Carolyn Goodman, and Roger Dow, CEO of the US Travel Association.
“This was an extremely important event, which I’m delighted to say was very well-attended, and Mayor Goodman’s support was invaluable. The Forum signals our intent to keep promoting the true value of this industry until the message is more widely understood. We are just one part of that collective effort, but I believe we have an important role to play,” he said.
Speaking about other highlights of the week, Bloom said that participants had turned out in huge numbers for Site Nite North America and Association Focus and Evening on Monday. The show’s Euro Party on Wednesday had also been a great success with 22 European exhibitors turning the halls into a celebration of European entertainment and diversity with music, refreshments, and competitions. At the start of the week, MPI’s Smart Monday had seen well over 1,000 people take part in a full day of free professional education, and MPI Foundation’s PURE Rendezvous night had also welcomed almost 2000 party-goers who helped boost funds for the foundation.
Bloom concluded by looking ahead to 2013: “As you will have noticed, the Sands Expo® is undertaking a multi-million dollar improvement program to enhance the already excellent facilities here, and we look forward to returning next year when we will all see and enjoy the benefit of that investment.” He also confirmed the dates of future shows at the Sands Expo® as: October 15-17, 2013; October 14-16, 2014 and October 13-15, 2015.