In Dana Travels

The eighth of Dana’s annual trips to Las Vegas for IMEX America recently concluded, and we’re still amazed, inspired and motivated by what we learned.

As always, we were delighted to reunite with our clients, the Brighton, England-based IMEX Group team. We weren’t alone. More than 13,500 incentive travel, meetings and events colleagues from around the globe eagerly connected at the country’s largest industry trade show.

Here are a few of the noteworthy impressions we brought back to the office with us—and a glimpse of what made this biggest-ever, record-breaking IMEX America so memorable.

Lots of learning on the agenda.
Dana has been working with IMEX America since day one, when we helped launch this US version of IMEX’s Frankfurt phenomenon. But we continue to discover new things every year. Not surprising, considering there were 256 education sessions!

Much of what we learned tied back to the show’s 2018 Talking Point of “Legacy: What’s yours going to be?” Plus, we delved into The Power of Events: 29 Inspiring Examples to Increase the Impact of Your Events and Create a Long-Lasting Legacy.

That’s the major new industry white paper commissioned by IMEX, researched and produced by EventMB and developed in association with ProColombia. (Have you downloaded your free PDF yet?)

Ladies are leading the way.
As we learned at IMEX in Frankfurt this past May, during the She Means Business conference, gender equality in this industry lags behind most others, despite the much higher ratio of women to men.

But! The good news is that with influential gatherings like IMEX America, and the galvanizing effect of simply getting together, it keeps making more meaningful strides in the right direction.

We couldn’t resist an artsy, crafty and super-colorful origami lesson from the Japan National Tourism Organization.

We witnessed it in the fact that IMEX America’s education program achieved an equal number of female and male speakers. We felt it at events such as the Association for Women in Events Happy Hour, where we joined those “pushing boundaries and championing others” and toasted to the 2018 Women in Events Hall of Fame Inductees, all of whom IMEX sponsored at the show. 

Think big, but it’s OK to start small.
We were wowed when Ray Bloom, the IMEX Group Chairman and Founder, announced that business events now generate over $1 trillion in direct spending worldwide!

But it can be daunting to stake your unique, significant claim in such a huge industry. That week, we heard over and over that tinier steps toward our goals are perfectly fine. From resolving problems creatively to integrating tech intelligently, just continue to grow through learning and take reasonable risks.

Incentive travel is on a roll.
During a standing-room-only presentation on Smart Monday, our client SITE launched the Incentive Travel Industry Index with partners the IRF and FICP, in association with J.D. Power. It’s the widest-ranging survey ever undertaken of the state of the incentive travel nation. Be sure to watch the recording, or download the study.

The 5 key takeaways? 2018 budgets are up. More qualifiers than ever. Incentives are a builder of workplace culture. There’s an increase in the use of all-inclusive destinations. And “wellness is the new golf!”

(And let’s not forget the uber-successful SITE NITE North America, the SITE Foundation fundraiser where we celebrated and bowled alongside 1,700 partygoers at the glitzy Brooklyn Bowl, off the Strip.)

You can’t do it all, so make what you do count.
Given the ever-expanding show floor and programs and attendance to match, we must choose our IMEX America experiences wisely. Certainly, it’s most important to connect face-to-face with our global community, whether for down-to-business meetings, kick-back-and-relax networking or Vegas Strip–style parties.

Dana’s Lynn Kaniper and Westley Hackmann define the differences between Generation Z and other age groups.

But this time, our team reserved more time to bond over IMEX’s wonderful CSR, sustainability, and health and well-being initiatives. We slipped away to the Be Well Lounge for rejuvenating meditation guided by mindfulness guru Lee Papa (now a must for us!).

We added play into our days, interacting with both the giant and mini DUNDU puppets, as well as high-tech Sophia, the human-like robot.

And we cruised exhibiting countries’ booths: Japan for an origami lesson, Scotland for hearty country dancing and Thailand for exquisite, hand-painted and personalized passport covers.

We shared our own ongoing discoveries, too!
In the mix of the Inspiration Hub, we presented a learning session on a Dana specialty—Your Gen Z Attendees: How to Excite and Engage Them. Did you catch it? Check out all of our blogs on Generation Z for much more on that hot topic.

At IMEX America and IMEX in Frankfurt, and throughout the year, let’s shape our brilliant industry future together and leave an amazing legacy. See you at #IMEX19 next September!


Reach out to Lynn Kaniper at lkaniper@danacommunications.com or 609.466.9187, ext. 117.

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