LAS VEGAS (eTN) – The third edition of IMEX America has been hitting the right notes, making its success akin to that of a singer topping the music charts. Based on this year’s attendance and the quality of business being transacted, the ongoing exhibition for the meetings industry, being held at Sands Expo, has risen to the top of annual travel industry events. Some are claiming Sin City is very much a factor in the show’s success.
IMEX Group, the show’s organizer, has released some key figures proving the show’s success. IMEX America is seeing a 12% increase in exhibitor numbers compared to 2012 (from 2413 to 2694 companies). Compared to 2012, the number of pre-arranged business appointments between exhibitors and buyers has increased, with almost 50,000 one-to-one appointments made prior to the show’s doors opening this morning. “This compares to just over 38,000 on 2012’s opening day and marks a 27% increase. In addition to one-to-one appointments, over 1,000 group appointments and stand presentations will also be taking place throughout the show.”
According to IMEX Group, among the other key statistics demonstrating the US market’s appetite for IMEX America and its unique “added-value” trade show model, is a 17% increase in the size of the show. “This growth is a result of increased demand for booth space from previous exhibitors together with 80 new booths joining the exhibitor line-up for 2013. Of returning exhibitors, 37% (86 exhibitors) increased their booth sizes, with a third of those (26 in total) doubling, or more than doubling, the size of their booths.”
As an exhibitor at this year’s show, eTurboNews (booth 3131) got a first-hand look at the success of the IMEX America plus Las Vegas formula. Annie G. Cuevas, director of the Philippine Department of Tourism’s Los Angeles office, told eTN: “IMEX America in Las Vegas far exceeds others in terms of drawing attendees in. We did a dive show in Florida and the numbers are far apart. This show attracts more, in thousands.”
Cuevas’ presence is testament enough that Las Vegas is fast becoming the convention capital of the world. She was just in town last week for World Routes 2013, which in itself as an aviation summit, was a major success, drawing major destinations to the exhibition floor and big names on stage to discuss the day’s most pressing aviation topics.
“I’m delighted with the excellent growth we’ve achieved this year across all areas of the show. After three years of IMEX America we’re now at the stage where the US market, especially hosted buyers and buyer attendees, know how to get the very best return from the show,” IMEX Group chairman Ray Bloom said. “We’ve put a lot of time and effort into communicating with buyers to make sure they understand the full value and convenience of our online appointment system. The ability to pre-schedule your own meetings with your own choice of exhibitors and take full advantage of a show built around doing business efficiently and face to face is fundamental to the IMEX experience.”
Bloom added: “On the supplier side, we conducted 20 exhibitor training webinars over the summer with over 50% of our exhibitors taking part to improve their understanding and use of our online scheduling tools plus our numerous marketing and buyer-targeting tools. This improvement in expertise and knowledge of how to use those for maximum sales return is already showing through in today’s figures.”
Gregg Anderson, New Zealand Tourism’s Western Long Haul Markets general manager, spoke to eTN in an exclusive chat, and what he says in the first 28 seconds in the below video aptly sums up IMEX America 2013.
The above video is just a glimpse of my one-on-one with the New Zealand Tourism official. In an upcoming eTN 2.0 episode, Anderson makes his case for New Zealand Tourism and in so doing, answers one of the basic questions in tourism governance: How important is it for destinations/countries to appoint officials who have had some degree of experience in travel and tourism? Why the question? Simply put, New Zealand Tourism has an interesting story to tell. The country’s prime minister is also the tourism minister.
eTN 2.0 gets you connected with the author and the relevant people mentioned in the story, making good on our promise to bring you a medium that is interconnected, influential and impactful. Nelson Alcantara can be reached via email at [email protected], Annie Cuevas at [email protected], Ray Bloom at [email protected], and Gregg Anderson at [email protected]