“While last year’s show was the celebratory ‘coming back together’ the industry craved, this October’s edition was the business-fuelled ‘bounce-back’ we’ve all been waiting for,” says Carina Bauer, CEO of the Imex Group, summing up last month’s Imex America as full post-show statistics are released.
The numbers for the show, which took place October 10–13 at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, reveal that business is now firmly on an international level with over 4,000 buyers from 69 countries attending. A positive sign for the industry’s health is that both agency and corporate planner numbers, representing 56 per cent and 20 per cent of hosted buyers respectively, were on a par with last year.
The global buyers out in force at the show brought with them substantial budgets – with three quarters having annual budgets of over $1 million and 39 per cent having spending power of over $5 million. Many had long-term plans, with RFPs (requests for proposals) and business being placed as far out as 2028.
As ever, business meetings formed the bedrock of the show, with 62,000 appointments between buyers and suppliers over three days. These comprised individual, group appointments and open-to-all booth presentations.
Over 3,300 exhibiting companies from 180+ countries including Europe, Asia Pacific, North America and the Middle East took part. Many had been unable to attend in 2021 and made a welcome return including Abu Dhabi, Australia, Bahamas, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Dubai, Greece, Hawaii, Ireland, Switzerland, Turkey and New Zealand.
“From our conversations with buyers and suppliers on-site, we know that this year’s show was characterised by the return of global business and strong business pipelines running as far ahead as 2028”, explains Carina Bauer. “We’ve even had one commentator refer to it as ‘an ironman event’ due to the energy and commitment required to leverage all the opportunities on offer!”
“Our buyers and suppliers have since shared their news and wins from the show. We always love to hear feedback and incorporate it into planning for next year’s edition. None more so than when it takes the form of a heartfelt poem!”
The extract below is from a poem sent to the team by Kip Horton, SVP Strategy at HPN Global and sums up the business-driven buzz and connections felt by many during the show:
Some things take a lot of sweat and some tears
And you wonder why you have done it for all of these years
And yet when the project is finally done
You kinda sorta think ‘hey that was real fun’
But it always works out and this year was the case
Where everyone finished with a smile on their face
Meeting new friends, crossing paths with the old
It’s not really about how many things you have sold
It’s always relationships, made better and strong
By walking the floor amongst all the throng
You’re exhausted and tired at the end of the day
But deep down you wouldn’t want it any other way
Imex America returns to Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, October 16–19, 2023.