THE SAME: The Crowds
While attendance numbers won’t be out until the show closes, crowds streamed in to the IMEX America trade show when the doors opened on Tuesday morning.
DIFFERENT: New Location
IMEX America had been held at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas since its launch in 2011. But for 2022 and the years ahead, the show has moved down Las Vegas Boulevard to MGM’s Mandalay Bay.
THE SAME: Industry News and Announcements
As always, IMEX America is a time for many organizations to drive excitement by announcing initiatives. Here, Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International, discusses new destination booking agreement guidelines being worked on by his organization’s Large Market Roundtable.
DIFFERENT: Vaccination Required
IMEX America attendees and exhibitors are required to be vaccinated and, for U.S. attendees, that means certifying immunization using the Clear Health Pass app. A green wristband indicates the attendee has shown his or her Health Pass at the door (and doesn’t need to show it again).
THE SAME: International Showcase
Despite the pandemic, the show has a wide variety of international exhibitors, from Colombia to Hong Kong to Ireland to Costa Rica. Monday, November 8 was the first day foreign travelers could arrive in the U.S. since travel lockdowns hit, and many exhibitors made the trip.
DIFFERENT: Masks Optional
Because everyone is vaccinated, IMEX America attendees can take their masks off on the show floor if they choose to (but must wear them in hotel public areas).
THE SAME: Education on the Show Floor
Educational sessions held in individual booths and in the “Inspiration Hub” are drawing crowds. Here, Meeting Professionals International’s Jessie States leads a session called “Meetings Outlook: Future Predictions for the Business of Meetings.”
DIFFERENT: Education on the Show Floor
The blow-up igloos that had marked Inspiration Hub sessions at past IMEX America events are replaced with blow-up walls. Attendees are more spaced, and audio has been added on both sides of the audience so that headphones, while available, are not necessary.
THE SAME: Fun Activations
The Dear World organization photographed attendees in the hall on Smart Monday and in their booth once the trade show opened.
DIFFERENT: A Welcome Poem
A poem by IMEX Group’s David Broadus on a sign outside the show entrance is a warm greeting for attendees, many of whom are attending their first business event since the start of the pandemic:
Scrubbed and starched
Tie straightened, shoes shined
I step forward to greet the day
Seas of faces and voices
Rolling like tides
Carry me forward
The captain of my destiny
One of many
Altogether, just the same
The time has come
I reach out my hand
Hello, old friend