As the IMEX group looks toward its second American trade show, in Las Vegas in October, it is still drawing conclusions from what was learned at the inaugural U.S. event in 2011. IMEX, which also produces the giant show for the global meetings industry in Frankfurt, Germany, offers these observations for 2012:
- Business is looking up and globalization is increasing. There also is a trend toward more, but smaller or shorter, meetings.
- Value is king. With continued economic pressure in many world markets, the strong push for “added value” from buyers in the next 12+ months will remain.
- Green is good. Responsible business practices are on the rise as industry partners are given or offered more incentives to reuse and recycle goods, products and materials. Expect to see more companies, networks and alliances emerge that make it easier for organizations to work together to achieve their green goals.
- Social media matters. In post-conference surveys, almost 88 percent of hosted buyers reported using LinkedIn for business, with Facebook at 71 percent, Twitter at 50 percent and YouTube at 22 percent. Perhaps most importantly, almost half agreed or strongly agreed that using social media helps generate business.
- Education counts, and so does technology. One of the biggest trends — especially among associations — is the need to capture and leverage education content both during and after live events to extend the reach and benefit to attendees and members. The Internet, smartphone and tablet are here to stay.
- Quantifying meetings’ market impact is a must. The economic impact of the meetings and event industry must be made on government officials at every level.
At IMEX America 2011, more than 2,000 hosted buyers met with nearly 2,000 exhibitors. The second IMEX America takes place Oct. 9-11 at the Sands Expo, Las Vegas. Its older sibling, the worldwide IMEX in Frankfurt, will mark its 10th anniversary in May.