The Events Industry Council released the results of its Global Economic Significance of Business Events study at IMEX America this week, offering a breathtaking top-line figure: Business events across the globe are responsible for more than $1 trillion in direct spending, matching the consumer electronics industry in size.
That figure might be eye-opening, but the busy show floor in Las Vegas left no doubt about a robust, innovating industry. More than 6,000 meeting, convention, and event planners attended the eighth annual IMEX America show at Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas from October 15 to 18, where they could sit in on 240 CMP-certified educational sessions and connect with reps from destinations, technology firms, and other industry suppliers at more than 380 exhibit booths.
Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, notes that the show expanded into a third hall this year to give exhibitors more space for creative displays, and to allow for an Inspiration Hub, Live Zone, Tech Zone, and other interactive elements to be set on the show floor.
The opening day of the show, known as Smart Monday powered by Meeting Professionals International, saw more than 1,000 attendees take part in breakout sessions across more than two dozen topics. For the following three days, the Inspiration Hub sponsored by Maritz Global Events delivered a 10-track educational program featuring sessions on event security, sustainability, creativity, innovation, technology, experiential elements, and legacy. Nearly all of those sessions were delivered in inflatable igloo-style structures of different sizes to accommodate 25 to 75 people at a time.
At the Live Zone, supported by Michael Cerbelli’s Hot List, dynamic activities included an interactive giant puppet, a virtual reality zipline, digital caricatures, and living walls/vertical gardens. Planners were also briefed on how each of these elements could be used at their own events. And in the Tech Zone, attendees were able to test-drive some of the latest ideas in event technology; one area that got much traffic featured artificial-intelligence applications.