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IMEX America sets attendance record

November 18, 2013

IMEX America, held Oct. 15-17 at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas, enjoyed a successful 2013 edition, registering a 12 percent increase in exhibitor numbers and a significant surge in hosted buyers compared to 2012 numbers.

The number of exhibitors increased from 2,413 last year to 2,694 in 2013. The number of hosted buyers settled in at just under 2,700, up from 2,400 the previous year.

Buyer-supplier appointments grew by 27 percent, registering 50,000 appointments (and 9,500 buyers participating in group appointments) over the three-day event.

According to Ray Bloom, IMEX group chairman, in just three years the Las Vegas event has reached 80 percent of the size of the group’s original IMEX show in Frankfurt, Germany. Bloom says the group plans to grow the number of hosted buyers and thus appointment opportunities next year.

Bloom added that the show’s opening-day Smart Monday educational event, powered my MPI, attracted some 1,200 participants.

Although IMEX America took place as the U.S. government shutdown was coming to an end, causing the mayor of Washington, D.C., to cancel his trip to participate in the IMEX Policymakers Forum, Bloom said the rest of the show was relatively unaffected.

In other IMEX America news, American Express Meetings & Events released its 2014 Global Meetings Forecast, which predicts flat or slight declines in meetings spend per organization across all regions next year, following two years of modest budget and activity increases.

“We are expecting to see the stabilization of that trend due to a rise in meetings-related policies designed to ensure meetings comply with company guidelines and deliver against strategic objectives,” said Issa Jouaneh, vice president and general manager, American Express Meetings & Events, adding that North America is expected to remain relatively flat, while Europe, Central America and Asia Pacific are expected to see slight declines in overall meetings spending.

With planners striving to achieve more with flat or decreasing budgets, Jouaneh said the trend to hold meetings locally and regionally is likely to continue in 2014. Additionally, the approval process for meetings is expected to become more rigorous.

The Forecast also predicts increasing use of social media and mobile apps within meetings, slight increases in group hotel and air rates for meetings and events, and the use of more non-traditional properties for meetings, such as outdoor venues, universities and aquariums, particularly in North America, where there is increasing interest in “hip and trendy” alternative locations.

The findings of the Forecast are based on a comprehensive survey, extensive meetings and events data, and in-depth interviews of meeting professionals.