“This feels like a new world for our industry and gives me hope that 2022 will be a strong year.”

Buyer Valeria Serrano, from CTA Event design and DMC in Mexico, sums up the joy and excitement felt at Imex America’s pre-show day of learning, Smart Monday, powered by MPI. “It’s like a reunion of old friends”, she continues. “I’m reconnecting with my industry friends and have many meetings scheduled over the next few days.”

Buyer Donna Rogers, from Solus Sustainable Hydration in California, agrees: “I’ve already filled my boss’s calendar with face-to-face meetings and networking events.”

The power of the live, in-person experience resonated loud and clear with many as hosted buyer Shelby Green, from Enterprise Events Group in California, explains: “I’m so excited to see people again – and happy not to be on another video call.”

Conferences & events are curators of human well-being

Smart Monday, powered by MPI, held on Monday November 8, was a dedicated day of pre-show learning before Imex America which runs from today November 9 to November 11 at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas.

The day launched with a keynote by Dr. Shimi Kang, an award-winning Harvard-trained medical doctor, researcher, and neuroscience expert. In her session Navigating opposing realities: 21st century stress and innovation, Shimi highlighted how event professionals understand the fundamental link between face-to-face experiences and mental health saying: “You are all mental health professionals – you know that we need meetings, we need conferences, we need information. It’s important to have this as part of our human experience – conferences and events are curators of human well-being.”

The power of nature to boost wellbeing and improve the event experience was the focus of Nature of space – An ecosystem for event success. Janet Sperstad, Faculty Director at Madison College, delivered a deep dive into her recently released Nature of Space Imex whitepaper. She offered guidance on how to deliver live event experiences that “quench the thirst for personal connections and community.” Her research details ways of adapting nature’s best lessons to create a successful event, such as the use of lighting, space, and environmental features to inspire innovation.

Lightbulb moments – the power of sustainability

Environmental issues were front and center of Meeting centric tour with MGM Resorts – an exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpse into Mandalay Bay’s substantial sustainability efforts. Participants were introduced to America’s largest continuous rooftop solar array which sits alongside other planet-friendly measures such as food waste and sorting trash at 11 recycling docks across the resort. The most complex undertaking? Changing the lightbulbs to energy efficient LEDs – all 1.4 million of them.

MGM’s Meeting centric tour was part of a program of tours taking place on Smart Monday, offering opportunities to connect outside of the show floor. The Lip-Smacking Foodie tour shared the lowdown on Las Vegas along with some of the finest food on the Strip, while Mystery Trip promised a surprise evening of unique experiences, cool locations, fantastic food and great company.

Event technology figures highly on the agenda for many meeting planners and was explored in sessions including EventMB Event Innovation Lab. The event planning masterclass, aimed at corporate and agency planners, offered a practical approach to the planning, marketing and delivery of events. The interactive session used case studies and the exchange of best practices to share new content relevant to the hybrid world of events and technology-rich event planning.

Zephia Bryant, a hosted buyer from Bryant Educational Leadership Group in North Carolina, explains why the topic resonated with her: “Many of my events have had to shift to hybrid so I’m looking at best practices and new approaches.”

Imex America opens Tuesday November 9, and runs until November 11 at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas. www.imexamerica.com