5 Highlights from IMEX 2016

IMEX 2016, meetings
Incentive Research Foundation President Melissa Van Dyke and Prevue Editor Barbara Scofidio presented the results of a joint survey on the hotel-meeting planner relationship to a standing room-only crowd.

Held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center at the Venetian in Las Vegas last week, IMEX 2016 raised the bar once again. Here are 5 highlights if you missed the show.

Record-breaking attendance

This year’s IMEX was the biggest to date, with 3,250 exhibitors—a 4.8 percent increase over last year. Between the daily keynotes, Smart Monday and sessions held all week on the show floor, there were also a record 269 educational sessions.

Meeting room of the future

IACC CEO Mark Cooper presented highlights of a survey of 65 member venues, showcasing techniques they are using in their newly defined role of “experience creation”—everything from themed food and beverage to outdoor meeting rooms to furniture/equipment that allows for multiple flexible layouts. Find the survey here.

The hotel-planner relationship

Prevue Editor Barbara Scofidio and Incentive Research Foundation President Melissa Van Dyke introduced their new joint survey about the highs and lows of the hotel-meeting planner relationship to a standing room-only crowd. Challenged by e-RFPs, mergers, yield management and the seller’s market, both sides agreed that they are under pressure like never before. Find a white paper on the survey here.

Sharing economy

A packed session revealed the repercussions of the sharing economy on hotels and transportation, including some surprising statistics. Airbnb, for one, revealed that it will book one billion room nights per year by 2025. All you needed to do was ask any Vegas cab driver to learn that their business has been significantly affected by Uber and Lyft. See this IMEX blog.


Hilton launched its largest-ever B2B marketing initiative, celebrating exceptional events and the planners who planned them, among them Mindy Halpert, who turned a ballroom into a campsite with trees, tents and an indoor campfire and Jack Ezon, who recruited 100 Maasai tribespeople to greet a group of people traveling to Tanzania. Check out the feel-good program’s “Museum of Wow.”

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.