This year’s highly successful IMEX America reflected the pent-up demand of an industry that has spent the past two years in recovery mode: 45 percent bigger than last year’s show and with 40 percent of returning exhibitors taking more booth space.
“We’ve certainly all got our steps in this week,” IMEX Chairman Ray Bloom joked at the closing press conference on Thursday.
In total, 12,000 people attended the show at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas over three days. A full 4,000 of those were buyers, and 3,300 were hosted.
“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,” Bloom said. “It’s been a long time coming and, although we a produced a great show last year, this week felt like the big comeback we’ve all been waiting for.”
That recovery will take place over the next couple of years, with Bloom noting that business was being placed as far out as 2028.
“The juddering, global halt of the pandemic may be behind us, but its lessons live on,” said Carina Bauer, IMEX Group CEO. “And, having talked about disruption as a tool for business transformation for so long, we’re now seeing what that really means.”
On the research and education front, the highlights were many. Among them, the Google Experience Institute’s NEU Project, which is rethinking and reimagining the future of event and experience design, was on site; the 2022 Incentive Travel Index, a collaboration between the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence, Financial & Insurance Conference Professionals and the Incentive Research Foundation, was released; and IMEX Group’s many sustainability initiatives earned it MeetGreen’s Visionary status.
The show’s two anchor events—SITE Nite at Allegiant Stadium on Monday and the MPI Foundation’s Rendezvous at Drai’s Beachclub and Nightclub on Wednesday—both packed the house and raised money for future industry research.