One month after registration for IMEX America 2021 went live, hosted buyer registration is already outpacing 2019 — which was a record year.
Talk about pent-up demand — after missing the show last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both hosted buyers and suppliers are flocking to sign up for IMEX America 2021, to be held November 9–11 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Until now, the show traditionally had been held at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in September each year.
Though registration for IMEX America 2021 just opened a month ago, “Buyer registration is quickly gaining pace with hosted buyers registering in strong numbers,” said Ray Bloom, Chairman of show organizer the IMEX Group. “There is similar buoyancy among exhibitors too, adding up to positive momentum in the run up to our live show, IMEX America.” According to the IMEX Group, hosted buyer demand is already higher than it was at this point than it was in 2019, which was a record year.
If the current trend continues, this year’s event may end up outpacing IMEX America 2019, when 3,426 hosted buyers came to IMEX America from 68 countries, more than half of whom represented $1 million to $10 million in buying power; another 800 non-hosted buyers from 28 countries also attended. That year also drew more than 3,500 exhibiting companies from 155 countries. In 2020, the pandemic forced the organizers to cancel the U.S. event, as it also had to cancel its flagship shows that were to take place in the spring of 2020 and 2021 in Frankfurt, Germany. The 20th anniversary edition of IMEX in Frankfurt is currently scheduled for April 26-28, 2022.
While IMEX America 2021 exhibitors to date do include some international suppliers — including destination marketing organizations from Italy and Argentina —they mainly hail from North America, including destinations such as Canada, Boston, Atlanta, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Hotel chains already on board include Four Seasons, Wyndham Hotel Group, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and Associated Luxury Hotels International.
From conversations he’s had with both buyers and exhibitors, Bloom said, “We know that IMEX America 2021 is set to play a significant role in their business recovery as well as offering their teams the chance to reconnect after a tough year. Our team is busy working behind the scenes to deliver a show full of memorable moments as well as the substantial opportunities to do business that underpin all of our live shows.”
The educational lineup is already taking shape. It includes Smart Monday powered by Meeting Professionals International (MPI), a day-long educational and networking event that precedes the opening of the show itself. Also on the Monday before the show kicks off will be the Association Leadership Forum, created by ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership; a day-long focus on the role of women in the industry called She Means Business, and SITE Nite North America, where SITE members and other industry professionals gather to network. MPI also is in charge of the keynotes that will start off each day of the expo, including Dr. Shim Kang, a physician, author and global social entrepreneur; Daybreaker CEO and Chief Community Architect Radha Agrawal; and author and socialnomics thought leader Erik Qualman. Another IMEX America tradition, the Event Industry Council’s Hall of Leaders award ceremony, will be held the opening evening of IMEX America 2021. Altogether, there are more than 100 additional educational sessions being planned for this year’s show.
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