Now that I have been back a week and my sleep pattern has returned to normal (almost), I thought it was about time to look back at my first and hopefully not last imex America experience.
So much to do and so little time
imex America 2018 took over the Sands Expo and Convention centre in the heart of Las Vegas from the 16th to the 18th October. With over 3,500 exhibitors, 6,000 attendees and 150 countries represented it was easy to see how this was the largest imex to date! It was almost hard not to become overwhelmed, when at 9am everyone piles into the exhibition hall to try and navigate their way to their first meeting of the day. To put this into context, over 70,000 meetings took place over the course of the week; from venues, to travel, entertainment to app providers, there really was something for everyone.
Have a plan and (try to) stick to it
For those that didn’t have a full day of meetings, the first task is to work out where to start, who to see and of course what time and where the free beers come out. We set ourselves achievable goals and tried to not do everything in the first day! There’s plenty of time, so no need to burn yourself out on day one. We knew who we wanted to see and made sure we saw them, but still allowed ourselves some free time to stop by some exciting new potential partners for 2019 and beyond.
New ways to engage
In amongst the hundreds of venues and destinations, one of the particular interests of mine was to discover new ways to engage and excite our audiences, (we are an engagement agency after all). DUNDU’s gentle giant towered over the exhibition hall and instantly caught my attention. This incredible light based, interactive, artform is sure to capture the imagination of anyone who engages with it. I was lucky enough to see what DUNDU can do up close and personal - as the giant’s little brother joined me on the dancefloor later in the week.
Network, network, network
You never know who you’re going to meet, and when. Obviously, there are the pre-arranged meetings, but it’s the networking events, the after-hours socials and the parties where you really get to connect. Some of the best people I met were at the MCI Rendezvoux party at Drai’s nightclub. (I think they were impressed with my dancing). Always having a stash of business cards is essential as imex is so much more than just the exhibition centre. It’s about getting together with those who share the same passion, interests, and have the same questions as you. Picking each other’s brains over a glass of prosecco is possibly more valuable than having a full diary during the day.
All Night Long
Once our long days of meetings were over, we decided to experience some of Vegas’s incredible nightlife (I mean you can’t come all the way here and not)! Vegas has it all, so much so that it’s hard to decide what you will have to miss out on, because trust me you can’t do it all! We decided that a trip to Fremont street to see downtown Vegas was a must, and what better way to do it than by being suspended high above the neon lights and shot out of a 12 story slot machine inspired zipline.
Also known for some of the best entertainment in the world, a trip to Vegas isn’t complete without taking in one of the many shows it has to offer. This also gave me the chance to tick off one of my life goals and see the one and only Lionel Richie in the flesh! As the lights cut out and with the crowd waiting anxiously, Lionel sung the only word he needed to, to send shivers down my spine…Hello.
I wouldn’t be an events guy if I didn’t analyse the production at least a little, and all I can say is…spectacular! The live camera shots of the crowd up and dancing, encouraged the others to get up and let their hair down too. The lighting was nothing short of stunning, adding to what was already a faultless performance. I owe our hosts AirX my eternal gratitude for what will go down as one of the greatest nights of my life.
Until next year…
With a weary head, tired legs and having shaken more hands than I thought humanly possible, my first imex was like nothing I had ever experienced before. But imex didn’t stop the moment we boarded our plane back to London. Even now I am finding business cards in pockets and connecting with those I met; sharing stories from the week. I am planning meetings with potential partners that one week ago I didn’t even know existed! Yes, imex was a whirlwind and what felt like both four seconds and four years, was actually four of the most valuable days of the year, and I am already counting down the days till I can do it all again in 2019!
A huge thank you to everyone who made imex America 2018 such an incredible week...