IMEX is one of the largest gatherings for event people across the globe. Thousands of event planners, producers, Professional Conference Organizers (PCOs), Destination Management Companies (DMCs) and event tech people from across the world gather at IMEX to find partners, figure out the next big thing in event management and check out the latest in tech powering events. IMEX America 2022, held in Las Vegas, was Zuddl’s first trade show event as sponsor participants.
Here are some of the highlights from IMEX America 2022:
- The event was organized at the Mandalay Bay Convention center. That is a whopping 2.1 million square feet of meeting and event space. To give you a sense of the size of the venue, TWO mega events were running in parallel - IMEX America, and ExpCon Reality - both with thousands of attendees, and it didn’t feel like we were in each other's way.
- Large trade shows like the IMEX take months of planning, organizing and strategizing before they come to life. This was evident in a mostly incident-free four days, which is a remarkable feat anyway you look at it.
- We were averaging about 18,000 steps a day exploring the event. Even though we had a booth to manage, we wanted to seek inspiration for our events down the line. There’s always an opportunity to learn and grow.
- IMEX America saw about 12,000 attendees, out of which a majority, say 60%, were destinations. So you could literally walk down from Boston to Puerto Rico to Canada, in the same aisle!
- Another 30 percent were hotels and venues that wanted to be the destination of choice for buyers.
- The remainder were event tech vendors, like Zuddl, with tools and platforms that support event execution.
Who is the IMEX for?
I'm glad you asked.
When you participate in a third party event, your goals could be one of two broad things - brand awareness and/or generating leads. Or you could be at an event just to meet your existing customers. Either way, choosing the right event is crucial to get a positive ROI.
At IMEX America, you will meet a lot of event planners, and associations. So if event planners and associations are your ICP, IMEX is the place to be. You’ll be meeting independent event organizers as well as large event consulting organizations. Between them, they run events of any scale - from a 100 attendee get-togethers to over 15000 attendee concerts!
Another fantastic takeaway from IMEX was the hundreds of event destinations to choose from. If you are tasked with shortlisting venues for your next in-person or hybrid event, then you’ll find a lot of options to consider at IMEX.
With a lot of event tech vendors in attendance, IMEX also offered a wide array of tools and platforms for buyers to run their events. From face detection technology to audience engagement, and badge printing vendors to event hosting platforms - they were all in attendance.
How to get the best out of IMEX?
Now with over 12,000 registered attendees, hundreds of hosted buyers, and tons of exhibitors, it can be a really overwhelming three days if meetings and activities are not planned out well in advance. We did our homework, and knew exactly what to expect. Even then, we weren’t able to cover as much as we would have liked.
Here are some tips to help you make the most of IMEX (or any large conference for that matter):
Book meetings way in advance
And by that I mean as early as four weeks before the conference begins. IMEX had a portal for buyers to contact vendors, and for vendors to run campaigns, which isn’t the best out there, but it was still something. Since IMEX is a buyer-first conference, it made sense for buyers to reach out to vendors. And each hosted buyer group had definite meeting targets to meet, so you could be sure that meetings would not be ghosted.
Book your booth in advance
Most booth sponsors lock in their booths as soon as the event is announced. This helps them secure the best possible location for their budget. And at events, it is all about location location location!
Follow up quickly
Make it a priority to follow up with booth visitors and leads as soon as possible after the event. The likelihood of them remembering the conversation drops significantly as time passes by.
Create memorable giveaways
You will be long remembered for brilliant swag than a run-of-the-mill pen. Don’t get me wrong - pens are great, but how many conference swag pens can someone have? We took these brilliant water bottles/sippers, stickers, buttons and tote bags that flew off our shelves faster than we could restock. Now someone’s child somewhere knows of Zuddl (or Zoodle :P)
Wear comfortable shoes
I cannot stress this enough. I saw people changing into sneakers by the second half of the first day. These convention centers are huge, and you will need to walk from one part to the other. Comfortable feet make for comfortable days.
So there you have it folks. Hope this helps you drive more value from your events.
See you at IMEX (or some other event!) soon!