4 Ways IMEX America Designs an Event Experience to Attract More Exhibitors

This year’s IMEX America was held at Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, from Sept. 10th-12th. As the cornerstone event for this industry, it drew an estimated 14,000 attendees and generated an economic impact of more than $20 million, according to show officials.

Having been held in Las Vegas for the past nine years, IMEX America has grown immensely over the past near-decade. This year, the trade show floor included more than 3,500 exhibitors from 150 countries. IMEX Group, which organizes the show, estimates a total of 76,000 individual and group appointments took place over the three-day event. That marks a 3-percent increase in appointments over last year. It was an exceptionally busy and productive week with business firmly on the agenda.

Why IMEX America Delivers on ROI for Sponsors and Exhibitors

From an event planner’s perspective, attracting and retaining sponsors and exhibitors year over year is crucial to generating event revenue targets and providing an overall event experience that is mutually beneficial for attendees. IMEX America is a prime example of how to design an event that’s laser-focused on driving business value for sponsors and exhibitors in the form of prospect networking and lead generation.  

EventMobi has been exhibiting at IMEX America for many years. It’s one of our favorite events because of the ROI that we receive through our participation. It’s the easiest way to meet decision-makers with real buying power, in one of the biggest meetings markets in the world.

imex america event experience

How IMEX America Designs a Great Exhibitor Event Experience

IMEX America really places a lot of emphasis on their exhibitors gaining as much as possible out of their experience with the event. They structure their event in a way that provides a lot of variety and opportunities for exhibitors to connect with prospects and customers. Below are a few ways where IMEX excelled this year in designing an event experience that promoted relationship-building between exhibitors and attendees.

Online Appointment System

IMEX is famous for their innovative and online appointment system. Leading up to the live event, exhibitors got the opportunity to make valuable new contacts and strengthen existing relationships with attendees through a centralized online portal. 

Both attendees and exhibitors created profiles that made it easy to be found in IMEX’s online exhibitor directory. Messages could be exchanged between parties one to four weeks before the show. Exhibitors were able to send targeted messages to attendees according to topics of interest listed in their profiles, and attendees were able to easily search and book appointments with exhibitors they wanted to learn more about.

The Hosted Buyer Program

IMEX has a unique networking program called the Hosted Buyer Program. More than 4,000 qualified buyers from across all industry sectors participate in the program, which requires that they come to the show with business in hand and prepared to book six to eight appointments with exhibitors per day. In exchange, hosted buyers received many incentives & perks at the show such as complimentary travel and accommodation. 

imex america hosted buyer program

Event Programming Focused on Networking 

Much more than just a trade show, IMEX America offered a diverse buffet of programming, with over 180 educational and networking events across four days.

In particular, a full day of free education and networking was made available the day before the trade show opened. It provided an opportunity for attendees to immerse themselves in programming that was put together with association partners. Most of the education sessions were aligned to the CMP International Standards and eligible for credits.

imex america smart monday

Experiential Learning

IMEX America places a lot of emphasis on the whole world of experiential activity. This year they created the Discovery Zone, an area within the trade show floor that was dedicated to experimentation and immersive activities as a way to articulate the theme of this year’s event, Imagination. Attendees were encouraged to stretch themselves – figuratively and imaginatively – testing the theory that experimentation leads to innovation. There were many exhibitors within the Discovery Zone with interesting activities that attendees could interact with.

imex america discovery zone

Overall Impressions

IMEX America created a memorable event experience that catered to the needs of both attendees and exhibitors. Attendees were wowed by exhibitors’ creative booth designs, impressive presentations and welcoming hospitality, and exhibitors participated in valuable networking with prospects and customers. It all helped intensify the energy and inspiration radiating both on and off the show floor.

In addition to the thriving appointments held right on the show floor, both exhibitors and buyers benefited from an exhilarating environment for gathering, learning, and celebrating.The result: a fantastic week rich with opportunities for the entire industry community to engage with brands and experience major breakthroughs and announcements.

Recommended Resources:

[eBook] Experience Design: A Complete Guide to Creating Memorable Events

[Blog] How to Create a Sponsorship Strategy to Maximize Event Revenue

[Blog] 5 Ways to Use Data to Measure Event ROI