Last week, the Dana team traveled to Las Vegas for IMEX America, the annual MICE industry trade show—back in person this year after going virtual in 2020. It was great to be on the show floor, soaking up everything this best-in-class event offers.
After being hosted at Sands Expo for 8 years, IMEX moved down The Strip to Mandalay Bay, a larger space that comfortably accommodated the 3,300+ buyers and 2,200+ exhibiting companies—all representing more than 200 countries.
Read on for more details about this year’s show:
HEALTH & SAFETY MEASURES
As this was IMEX’s first live show since the pandemic began, several steps were taken—based on science and current regulations—to ensure attendee safety and comfort. Measures included an optional mask-wearing policy on the show floor and in meeting rooms, daily cleanliness inspections, an advanced ventilation system, on-site testing for COVID-19 (plus protocols if someone tested positive) and efforts to keep spaces as wide open as possible, including show floor aisles. There was also a vaccine mandate, and IMEX used two apps to facilitate proof of vaccination (Clear for US nationals and Safe Expo for international attendees).
Wellness has been a focus at past IMEX America shows, but this year’s attendees seemed more interested than ever—perhaps prompted by the events of the last year-and-a-half. Numerous sessions on mindfulness and well-being were available, in addition to the IMEX Be Well Lounge, which offered guided meditations as well as 15-minute massages.
Maritz also provided education on the topic, discussing how wellness is tied to physical health and well-being as looking beyond the physical body to include the presence of positive mental states, emotions and moods—well-being is caring about the whole person. They broke it down into five distinctive elements: personal caring for self, social caring for others, environment caring for the greater good, financial caring for the future and caring for your career. Maritz sees wellness and well-being as essential for building a better, more impactful event experience.
WOMEN ARE IMPORTANT TO OUR INDUSTRY
Dana’s President, Lynn Kaniper, had the opportunity to moderate a panel called What Women Want. The discussion formed around the pandemic, which has disadvantaged women. We also discussed how leadership roles haven’t increased since 2019; we have an industry that’s nearly 80% female to male, but there are more males in leadership roles—only 70% of women are powered, and less than 20% are in management roles.
What women are really looking for are not 9-5 positions, but where they are a part of something bigger—they want flexibility for work-life balance, and real leadership opportunities where they are not put in a position of failure, but success.
We discussed how as women we need to elevate ourselves, be inspired by our fellow females, and learn to communicate our wants and needs. As we share our stories and experiences, we create the idea for cultural change, in turn creating a bigger movement.
FOCUSED ON WHAT MATTERS
IMEX has always been at the forefront with sustainability and protecting the planet. This year it was seen throughout the show, as schedules and communications were paperless and came through email and the app. F&B options were clean and healthy food, plus cups, plates and utensils made from recyclable materials. IMEX’s efforts help set the standard for hosting sustainable events, and also left all who attended feeling socially responsible. Mandalay Bay—which is an MGM Resorts property, a company also focused on sustainability and a global leader in the battle against climate change—proved to be a great partner for IMEX America. MGM’s Mega Solar Array is the hospitality industry’s largest directly sourced renewable electricity project worldwide, and its clean energy produces up to 90% of MGM Resorts’ Las Vegas daytime power needs and is part of their long-term climate strategy.
The show’s success proved that the industry is on its way to a robust recovery, a sentiment echoed by IMEX Group CEO Carina Bauer: “This week has signaled that—collectively—we’re back, and we’re back in business. Even if you weren’t in the room, we know you felt it from afar.”
And don’t forget: IMEX America will be back again next year, taking place October 11-13, 2022 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.