Prevue reached out to Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, just days before this year’s IMEX America kicks off in Las Vegas. Here is what she had to say.
What aspect of this year’s show are you most excited about?
We’ve been championing the role of imagination as a critical value that can power new ways of holding events, and IMEX America is packed with immersive learning and experiences as a result.
Our new Discovery Zone offers many ways to unleash creativity and to unlock the power of improv along with multi-sensory displays and storytelling. Smart Monday will offer 200 free educational opportunities, including the launch of She Means Business to present inspiring speakers on crucial issues facing today’s women in the workplace and is important for men to know, too.
Above all, I’m looking forward to seeing the whole of our amazing industry in one place at one time. There’s nothing quite like that feeling of being there just as the show opens and feeling that buzz as everyone gets down to business. It’s a uniquely energizing and inspiring experience for me.
How will this year’s IMEX be different from others?
Well, we pride ourselves on being our own competition so this is a show that never gets old and never stands still much less in Las Vegas. We always look at how we can improve the experience and continue to deliver value to all who attend, whether buyers or exhibitors. The menu evolves to stay in step with a rapidly transforming global marketplace that includes new players, new technologies, new trends, and new issues. She Means Business will premiere at IMEX America, after launching a couple of years ago at IMEX in Frankfurt.
The new Discovery Zone is designed to leverage our Talking Point, which is the power of imagination; so that we’re offering masses of new experiences that we believe will inspire attendees to explore new approaches to attendee engagement. Health and wellbeing are huge issues this year too and people can expect some really innovative ways to take a break, including Hyatt’s gorgeous mediation station.
We’ve also made significant strides in terms of sustainability; we’ve gone strawless, a word so new, spellcheck doesn’t even recognize it. That means working with the Sands to provide compostable lids that don’t require straws for hot and cold drinks. We’ve also made a plastic pledge to reduce our use of single-use plastics at the show and we’ve got some amazing plant-based and vegetarian food options now too. We’ve also had over 150 exhibitors sign our Sustainable Exhibiting Pledge. Attendees can look out for the special green booth badges to find out more.
What are some not-to-miss opportunities?
Having done the workshop myself, I can’t say enough about InsideRisk’s session, What kind of leader are you under maximum pressure? which fosters critical thinking and trust-building. We’re lucky to be offering it, and those who attend will understand why, and not just because of its use of technology to simulate being in the midst of breathtaking events.
The IMEX America Tech Pavilion offers the latest in gamification, apps, AR and cybersecurity. I’m also proud of all the (free!) education opportunities, which include 200 different offerings that can help attendees in their professional and personal lives.
But I’m also proud that we offer experiences such as laughing yoga which allow attendees to relax and to stretch themselves in quite a different way. And there are a lot of great new sustainable foods available, including the Impossible Burger, so that people can eat healthy while at the show.
Finally, we have some significant announcements being made and new initiatives being launched at IMEX America this year. Look out for updates from Positive Impact on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, human trafficking and anti-sexual harassment pledges, EIC’s new sustainability commitment, some great news from our strategic partners, MPI, and much more. There’s never a dull moment. It’ll be go go go in Vegas next week!
IMEX America takes place September 10 – 12, 2019, with Smart Monday, powered by MPI on September 9. Registration for the show is free of charge and open to all who work in the meetings, events, and incentive travel industry. Trade visitors can show up day of and register.
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