27 October, 2023
…and just like that, IMEX America 2023 has concluded as fast as it started.
A week ago, #EventProfs from all over the world were #IMEXcited to meet in Las Vegas to get business done.
A week of creating captivating memories, attending fascinating educational sessions, and gaining indispensable connections.
A week to come together with our professional meetings and events community; our ever-growing global network.
A week later, #IMEXhausted has became a longing to hit replay yet knowing we won’t hear that sweet melody until #IMEX24.
I’m full of gratitude as I reflect on my #IMEX23 highlights. Every #EventProfs had their own IMEX experience and mine was no exception. Here’s what caught my attention after ten years of attending this conference (written in a ‘Top 5’ list like my pre-IMEX blog because this Meeting Planner needs to get back to planning)!
- I couldn’t turn any corner without being entangled in the conversation around AI and its impact on our industry. It could be a daunting task of ‘keeping up’ with this topic but keep on keeping on! Change is constantly upon us in this tech space and it’s not going away so embrace it as best you can. My advice? Engage with topic experts (like Nick Borelli, Miguel Neves, Julius Solaris), continue to be a part of the conversation, and get hands on with experiencing the technology. In order to advance in this profession, we’ll have to adapt and (2020 throwback word) ‘pivot’ – the good news? We’re in this together.
- Watching our global community come together to help raise each other up is absolutely one of my highlights. I noticed some small but impactful moments that make a conference center full of thousands of professionals feel like one unified team. Shining examples like holding a moment of silence before the Smart Monday keynote, being #MauiStrong during educational sessions (the Hawaii booth was full of aloha all Tradeshow long by the way), and supporting charity organizations such as SEARCH Foundation, SITE Foundation, and MPI Foundation all week long and beyond. Moments like those make me so proud to be a part of this industry (because like Technology advancements… we’re in this together.)
- Talking about keeping up… Vibe check, Gen Z! Hosting the Future Leaders Forum was not only my #IMEX23 highlight but honestly, my top career highlight. I spent a whole day moderating educational content for 100+ young professionals and all I can say is I hope you pull a chair over for this next generation of #EventProfs because they are ready to be at the table (no admission cap.) They’re not afraid of vulnerably asking the tough questions, caring for the environment and themselves (yes, sustainability and mental health is up on the list), and just like us, they’re craving for authentic connections. And TBH, I’m just happy they thought I was cool and not cringe.
- Keeping my finger on the pulse of the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) trends was incredibly engaging. It was tough to pick favorites during this year’s trade show because it’s constantly being elevated. I had the opportunity to engage in more genuine ‘local’ experiences at the booth vs being gifted a boring old branded pen (and I saw more fun being had as I walked by). Experiences like customized cookies and a photo opportunity on a roller coaster were memorable activations. It’s this type of engagement that will ignite business being done in the future.
- And to leave you on my last and most important highlight: the theme of in-person connection is here to stay! Since I first attended IMEX America in 2012, I’ve noticed that my highlight each year is delightfully the same. And what is that highlight you may ask? Its a firm handshake, a friendly hug, and a shared laugh when you meet face to face. An instant dose of belonging. This synergy flowing and bouncing off one another creates changed behavior. It’s why there’s so many highlights and not many lowlights and is why IMEX America holds such a special place in my #EventProfs heart. #IMEXcited even more for #IMEX24!
Author: Thuy Diep, Senior Meetings Planner, CWT Meetings & Events