We all need to evolve virtually now—and the IMEX Group has done it right. In lieu of its annual trade show in Las Vegas, our longtime client produced this year’s second PlanetIMEX, during which thousands of global events, meetings and incentive travel professionals gathered online.
IMEX successfully wowed us with a virtual event featuring lots of the same, great experiences we’ve come to expect from its live counterpart, an impressive opportunity to learn, do business and reunite with our friends and colleagues until we can do so again in person.
In honor of IMEX America’s 10th anniversary year, let’s dive in to some of the top highlights of this “world of wonder, community and connections” that celebrated the value of our industry and proved its power to change the world.
Just like the Vegas installment has Smart Monday, PlanetIMEX had a virtual version: Monday Funday. This curated day of exploring, being curious, energized and entertained, and bonding with likeminded people was a playful, uplifting kick-off to the week.
We enjoyed imaginative virtual site visits of destinations and venues, like a Germany fun facts quiz (and reminder of time spent at IMEX in Frankfurt), hot-air balloon ride over otherworldly Cappadocia and a tour of AREA15, Las Vegas’ new, one-of-a-kind event space. And the list goes on!
“Shrink the Distance: The Future of Tomorrow’s Technology, Today” Session
In this Headliner session, Digital Futurist Brian Fanzo examined embracing innovation and technology smartly—bringing people together, rather than pushing them apart. But before leveraging new tools, it’s crucial to evaluate our needs and pinpoint the right tech for today. Among the many takeaways were how we can—and should—leave offline limitations offline, and reinvent instead of repurposing.
MPI’s Meetings Outlook: Future Predictions for the Business of Meetings Session
Lori Pugh Marcum, CMP, CMM, CED, Head of Meeting Innovation at MPI, shared the association’s latest research on trends impacting meeting and event professionals. The insights touched on budget, attendance and business conditions, as well as what our next steps should be, as we stay competitive and bounce back. The Q&A digs even deeper into creative tips, so watch until the end!
She Means Business Panels
IMEX continued its twice-yearly She Means Business program with sessions led by influential panelists. One session looked at how diversity and inclusion strategies can steer our industry and eliminate barriers to entry, particularly improving the narrative and representation of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) women in leadership roles. A second panel talked about making tough decisions and guiding teams during the pandemic, leaning into the skills you have to become a better leader, and the significance of empathy, compassion and self-care.
Well-Being Themed Sessions
Well-being is always an important inclusion at the in-person IMEX shows, and PlanetIMEX was no different. Lee Papa, whose Mindfulness Lounge sessions are a staple at IMEX America, shared “The Secrets to Mindful Living.” She also led us step-by-restorative-step through “Ride Waves of Change Like a Master, Surf into Meditation,” featuring mindfulness training, a breathing and awareness exercise, and guided relaxation and meditation.
Last, but certainly not least, Community Day concluded the week with a subject close to all of our hearts. Delivered and hosted by IMEX partners, 30+ sessions encompassed an array of timely topics.
Among them were resources such as “Guidance from the EIC APEX COVID-19 Business Recovery Task Force” and Northstar Travel Group’s “Breaking News: Reporting on COVID-19’s Impact on the Meetings Industry.” “Best Cities: Around the World in 80 Minutes” presented the latest activities, innovative services and updates from global communities, and MeetGreen discussed “Sustainable and Safe Events: Comparing Current Guidance to Event Sustainability Practices.”
In a fitting finale, Mandalay Bay and MGM Resorts gave us a sneak-peek virtual tour of what awaits us next year, when IMEX America moves to their incredible resort.
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