What preparation went into getting IMEX America ready?
We're a team of 50 people and we work year-round on the Frankfurt show and IMEX America. There are a lot of different elements that go into it, including what the industry around us does. We've got a huge number of co-located events taking place and we work with all of the industry associations, who are all doing something this week. The exhibtors themselves are also putting together a variety of events. All of this works together and it all fits like a jigsaw puzzle by the end.
What improvements have been made following last year's show?
We do online evaluations after every show, but we also like to see people face-to-face to get feedback from exhibitors and buyers. Usually, it is little things that make a difference, so we're always tweaking.
One of the things we did this year was open the doors 15 minutes earlier to hosted buyers to let them navigate around the show floor before their meetings started. They also told us that they wanted more time for education, so we committed to not scheduling them any group appointmetns before 11 or after 4 to give them that time.
Have numbers increased this year?
Exhibitors are up by a couple of hundred to 3,100 and the size of the show has grown a little bit. We do expect the hosted buyer numbers to increase again.
What will be some of the highlights of the three-day show?
We started the show with the Assocation Evening at SLS Las Vegas and Site Nite at Caesars Palace on Monday night (13 October). They were both spectacular venues, so kicking things off in that manner was very nice. The MPI Foundation Rendezvous event will also take place. The great thing about these events happening is that within a very short space of time they're fundraising a lot for the industry and that is quite extraordinary.
The CIC Hall of Leaders event is also taking place, which is the preeminent industry awards and five inductees that have really had an impact on the industry and enforced change will be chosen on the night.
On the show floor there is a huge amount going on. The Euro Party takes place on Wednesday afternoon where the European exhibitors collaborate to give the Americans a real taste of the continent.
On the education side we have the inspiration hub with a lot of different areas and features. New this year is the Play Room, which has been really well received, with 350 to 400 people going through it on Monday alone.
The show is about business so the key is that everyone gets a chance to get their busness done as well as having fun.
A number of sustainability initiatives have been launched over the years. Why is this important to IMEX?
When we launched IMEX America, we wanted to make sustainbility an important part of the show. We hired Meet Green, who are our sustainability consultants. They work with the venue, the contractors and the transportation companies to see what we can do each year to improve our goals. We've worked with the chefs at the venue to make sure what's on the menu is using less water, which is a major issue in Las Vegas.
The Green Team came about because we felt that we had to give the exhibitors and the attendees a way to take part and contribute to our green goals.
What proportion of this year's Hosted Buyers come from outside the States?
Roughly 75% of the hosted buyers are from North America and the rest from around the world. We have a few hundred from Europe and a small contingent from the Middle East, and a growing contingent from Asia and Latin America.
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