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IMEX America 2023 Breaks Record for Largest Edition Produced

Maddy Ryley, Managing Editor
IMEX America 2023 Crushes Record to Be Largest Show Ever Produced by IMEX

LAS VEGAS — IMEX America 2023 reflected the strength of the global events industry’s return with the largest edition in the show’s history. With 360 booths — a 9% increase over 2022 numbers — and a 20% increase in space taken by exhibitors, IMEX America exemplified the importance of face-to-face events.

The trade show, which took place at Mandalay Bay Convention Center Oct. 16-19, attracted nearly 15,000 attendees, who flocked to the show floor to see what’s new and trending in the trade show, events and meetings industry, and featured more than 3,400 exhibiting companies. Of the 15,000 industry professionals, more than 5,000 were buyers.

“About a fifth of the hosted buyers are corporate buyers, so that’s great to see the increase in the number of corporations sending their teams here,” IMEX CEO Carina Bauer said. “One of the key measures of success is the pre-scheduled meetings, and we had over 80,000 pre-scheduled meetings, of which 73,000 were one-to-ones between buyers and exhibitors.”

A feature in the event app’s new tech stack allowed attendees to make appointments on the fly while on the show floor, resulting in 3,000 appointments being made through the app. The app also included a new interactive show floor map, providing attendees and exhibitors with the convenience of easy navigation and pathfinding.

Exhibiting companies showcased their products, services and destinations with lively booth designs, activations on the show floor and promotional materials. Using features in the app, buyers and exhibitors were able to scan each other’s badges to collect information and make connections to follow up with after the show. There were more than 120,000 scans between exhibitors and buyers throughout the event.

“These are some really exciting new features that as people get used to them, we expect them to grow and increase the business and connections that exhibitors and buyers can take advantage of,” Bauer said.

Trending Topics at IMEX

Exhibitors discussed their values and offerings for convention and meeting organizers, which included their sustainability and DEI initiatives, as well as technology they’re adopting, such as AI.

PCMA CEO Sherrif Karamat discussed the power and popularity of AI while providing more information on Project Spark, an AI platform designed for event producers by event producers. PCMA research reported 68% of event professionals are using AI and view it as a critical tool, and Project Spark is helping professionals to explore the technology, be more efficient and avoid burnout.

Maritz has a dedicated team working on how to adopt and utilize AI internally, and to figure out how to keep proprietary business information secure and private while using AI software. The company is looking forward to integrating AI aspects into their client services.

Sustainability also remains top-of-mind, and for the London Convention Bureau and ExCel London, an international exhibition center in the city, it’s imperative to focus on lessening environmental impact and being a responsible employer and business. The facility is on track to reach net zero by 2030 by driving more collaboration with well-planned strategies, and it is already a carbon-neutral venue.

What’s Hot in Tech

The technology section of the show floor was buzzing with event technology companies showcasing their services and what’s trending in the industry.

As engaging with audiences year-round becomes a priority for show organizers looking to keep their communities connected outside of trade show dates, creating and sharing content is imperative. Swoogo recently partnered with Zoom Events to provide event producers with the platform and tools needed to share evergreen content, host webinars and create cohesive experiences. Having a constant connection with show goers not only increases exhibitors’ and sponsors’ ROI but also provides a higher return on engagement for all who interact.

Bizzabo is offering smart badges to create seamless experiences in which attendees and exhibitors can connect on and off the show floor. Using Bluetooth technology, Bizzabo’s smart badges allow the wearers’ information to be shared with the tap of a button and aids exhibitors in lead retrieval. With the ability to change the color of the badges, organizers can have better crowd control, color code sessions in different locations, track attendance and gamify the attendee experience. The badges also serve as a way to heat map the show floor, thus providing insights on what areas of the show are seeing the most traffic.

Impactful Education

Smart Monday, which took place the day before the IMEX show floor opened and is organized by Meeting Professionals International (MPI), attracted 1,200 attendees, featured a full day of educational programming and keynotes. Hot industry topics and trends were discussed, including AI applications, building inclusive spaces at events, F&B trends and sustainability among others.

The educational sessions and discussions continued throughout the event, with 50-75 sessions taking place in the Innovation Hub daily on the show floor. The Innovation Hub, which attracted 2,000 attendees, featured speakers giving presentations on topics within areas of their expertise, such as quieting the inner critic and positive intelligence, and recognizing the safety and risks associated with large-scale meetings and events.

IMEX America will return to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center Oct. 8-10, 2024, with Smart Monday taking place on Oct. 7.

Reach Carina Bauer at

Photo credit: IMEX

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