The largest meetings industry trade show in the U.S., IMEX America, will be bigger than ever when it kicks off in a little more than two months, September 10 – 12 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center at The Venetian/The Palazzo in Las Vegas. Approximately 3,500 suppliers and 4,000 qualified buyers will be on hand.
So far, 21 new exhibitors have already signed up including Tourism Trinidad, Visit Spokane, Visit San Antonio, Destination Cleveland, and Rocco Forte Hotels. In addition, more than 30 current exhibitors have expanded their presence at the show, including Live National Special Events, Hilton Head Island Visitor & Convention Bureau, Discover Palm Beaches, Utah, and the Canadian Tourism Commission.
IMEX America starts with a full day of free education on Monday, September 9 with Smart Monday, powered by Meeting Professionals International. Artist and TED Talk speaker Phil Hansen’s keynote address “Embrace The Shake: Transforming Limitations into Opportunities,” will outline how meeting planner limitations like reduced budgets, limited resources, and rushed timelines can be an impetus for creativity and imagination. His keynote breaks down resistance to limitations by recognizing their role in driving, not stifling, creativity. Hansen’s mantra of “seizing the limitation,” is a result of having developed a career-ending tremor in his drawing hand, a massive blow to an artist.
Hansen’s session is one of more than 180 education events that will be featured this year designed for meetings and events industry professionals at all levels, including both buyers and exhibitors. The learning opportunities which include deep dives, one-to-one sessions, and hot topic tables will provide fresh thinking on how to make meetings more engaging, embrace new ways of thinking, consider the big issues, and explore innovation and creativity.
Other highlights include Jessica Pettitt, who combines stand-up comedy with diversity training at Good Enough Now, whose discussion, “Inclusion: beyond the law for meeting professionals,” will focus on having attendees feel safe and welcome and how to foster inclusive environments. Lynn Wellish, a hospitality industry trainer and speaker, will discuss putting lead generation in your comfort zone by offering tips and tricks to overcome sales call reluctance.
“We’re working to bring the power of imagination to everything we’re doing at IMEX America,” says Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group. “Absolutely everything, and everyone is connected or capable of becoming connected and the driving force behind all the positive changes we’re witnessing is the power of the human imagination, a uniquely human quality. So, we’re exploring and celebrating this aspect of being human, one that we frequently take for granted. Think of it as a human superpower; our instinct to ask, without judgment or limitation, ‘What if.’”