Invaluable Lessons From One of the Year’s Biggest Events

imex americaIt’s been nearly a month since dust of IMEX America has settled, yet still we find ourselves thinking about some of the incredible connections and insights we experienced.

It seems like even the smallest conversations IMEX America (and Frankfurt) can spark dramatic change across the industry and around the globe. It’s further proof that face-to-face meetings are important, even to those who design them for a living.

At Experient, we consider this event a valuable piece of our strategic growth and commitment to enhancing each of our customer’s events.

First and foremost, our clients deserve to have a partner who is inspired by the latest trends, familiar with the myriad of technological options available, and has the right connections to help them reach their future goals.

We make it a priority to bring many of our team members to this event each year because every department is eager to enrich its teams with new perspectives. It’s these intangibles that separate true partners from “vendors” who are essentially commodities.

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As usual, IMEX America didn’t disappoint.

There were some themes we uncovered during the week that we feel are vital to the industry moving forward:

The Legacy of Events – Event Manager Blog’s Julius Solaris perfectly illustrated the transformative power of live events with memorable examples in his keynote during MPI’s Smart Monday. His report on this topic can be found here.

Embracing Shared Values – Whether it was building hygiene kits or learning about the many industry-leading sustainability initiatives, IMEX understands that attendees want to see their values represented by the events they attend.

Acquisitions –We’re in a golden age of mergers and acquisitions as brands realize the needs of their clients require more and more resources. From technology, to audio-visual and venues, the show floor was buzzing about these shake-ups and the speculation of more that may be coming.

Breaking Down of Silos – The fractured nature of live events wasn’t only being addressed by corporate partnerships, but on the association and conference production side as well. IAEE, MPI and SITE announced the “Global MICE Collaborative” which will provide solutions to accelerate workforce development and destination capabilities awareness.

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What We Experienced at IMEX America

Each member of our team has unique takeaways from this year’s event. You’ll see a diverse list of impressions representing their positions in the industry, roles within our organization, and—most importantly—their focus on our clients.

Here are some of the big insights members of the Experient team gleaned from IMEX America:

Michael Guerriero
Division President

Why is participation in IMEX America important for Experient?   

It is a tremendous opportunity to meet with the senior leaders of hotels and suppliers, as well a chance to discuss client-related sourcing contracts. It’s a great way to have important discussions with hotels, suppliers and destinations; not to mention the incredible industry education our team can learn from.

In three words, describe what you’ll remember from IMEX America 2018.

Exhausting but valuable.

What were the hot topics at IMEX America this year?

Some of the high-level issues we were talking about included the economy, new hotel brands and the commission cuts.


Gary Schirmacher
Senior Vice President,
Industry Presence & Strategic Development

Why is participation in IMEX America important for Experient?

IMEX America is the largest meetings industry event in the world. Being able to call them are our client and that 130 of our Maritz Global Events buyers are able to get appointments with the top destinations, hotels and suppliers is an incredible return on investment for MGE. The fact that we can showcase our thought leadership and actually book a few clients is a bonus we have enjoyed since 2012.

In three words, describe what you’ll remember from IMEX America 2018.

Event That Delivers.

What were the hot topics at IMEX America this year?

There was a lot of discussion around politics, the economy, global relationships and emerging markets/emerging destinations.

Name some of the top solutions that event organizers were looking to find on the show floor and education sessions at IMEX America 2018.

Organizers were looking for new and unique players in collaboration technology.


Chip Smith
Vice President, Global Solutions

Why is participation in IMEX America important for Experient?

For events wanting to build a global brand and gain exposure to a different market segment, it’s important to find an international partner with delivery capabilities.

In three words, describe what you’ll remember from IMEX America 2018.

Sharing market knowledge.

What were the hot topics at IMEX America this year?

Connecting like-minded individuals and having a strategic plan.

Name some of the top solutions that event organizers were looking to find on the show floor and education sessions at IMEX America 2018.

Our message of the value in understanding attendee behavior resonated, including how it’s shown in registration and lead retrieval. Consolidation of vendors and providers was also a major topic of discussion.


Nancy DeBrosse
Senior Vice President, Strategic Account Management

Why is participation in IMEX America important for Experient?

It keeps us in front of clients, prospects and industry partners regarding the global market we are trying to expand within our portfolio of business.

In three words, describe what you’ll remember from IMEX America 2018.

Exhausting, informative, productive.


Char Shada
Director, Strategic Accounts

Why is participation in IMEX America important for Experient?

Experient must show representation because all of our competitors are attending IMEX as well. With regards to staff attending as Hosted Buyers, it is important for us because we can meet with hotels, vendors and suppliers as a mid-year check in (if they met at Envision), to finish negotiations or find new opportunities.

In three words, describe what you’ll remember from IMEX America 2018.

Productive. Reconnecting. Eye-opening.


Lynn Wirch
Director of Operations, Live Events

Why is participation in IMEX America important for Experient?

It’s extremely important for us to have a brand presence, while networking and creating dialogue with industry partners on future business and strategy.

In three words, describe what you’ll remember from IMEX America 2018.

New strategic connections.

What were the hot topics at IMEX America this year?

Some of the topics I heard a lot about included future business needs, new ways to work with hotels for group business and what we are doing in live events.

Name some of the top solutions that event organizers were looking to find on the show floor and education sessions at IMEX America 2018.

A lot of conversation centered around the attendee experience and how to brainstorm new ideas for old problems.


Jennifer Walsh
Director, Strategic Sourcing Services

Why is participation in IMEX America important for Experient?

IMEX America offers us an unparalleled opportunity to meet with clients and suppliers alike in an environment of learning and partnership.

We can wear many hats at IMEX. We are thought leaders at educational events. We are students as we visit booths and learn about new destinations, technologies, and services. We are collaborators as we meet with our partners to share information about our clients’ needs, industry trends and business challenges.

We are friends: we see those within our industry and build relationships that move business forward.

In three words, describe what you’ll remember from IMEX America 2018.

Collaboration. Networking. Experiences.

What were the hot topics at IMEX America this year?

I think this perspective varies based upon attendee type and each attendee’s personal goals for the show. For me, I was focused on technology options that would enhance our customer experience. I was also interested in learning more about how destination management companies could be integrated more in to our standard sourcing processes. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was mentioned frequently, and discussions around chain consolidations were as well.

Name some of the top solutions that event organizers were looking to find on the show floor and education sessions at IMEX America 2018.

Attendee engagement, creating a memorable experience (experience design) and there was discussion around overall safety – safety at venues and safety in destinations.


Mike Digiovine
Sourcing Manager

Why is participation in IMEX America important for Experient?

It is the one show that all of the industry participates in, where the opportunity to learn and meet people you work with is at it’s highest.

In three words, describe what you’ll remember from IMEX America 2018

Learning. Networking. Connecting.

What were the hot topics at IMEX America this year?

New and exciting destinations.

Name some of the top solutions that event organizers were looking to find on the show floor and education sessions at IMEX America 2018.

New and creative ideas.


Pam Nicoletti
Strategic Sourcing Manager

Why is participation in IMEX America important for Experient?

It’s important that we continue to build and grow our relationships with our hotel and Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) partners.

In three words, describe what you’ll remember from IMEX America 2018.

Experient is respected.

What were the hot topics at IMEX America this year?

The hotels and CVBs I met with are eager to know what they can do differently/better to earn more business from us.

Name some of the top solutions that event organizers were looking to find on the show floor and education sessions at IMEX America 2018.

I didn’t attend the education sessions, but I enjoyed meeting people who I am working with or have in the past. I was able to explain face to face the hot buttons for each client. I’ve attended IMEX several times and this was the best show yet! I can’t wait to attend next year.

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Events Are Vehicles of Change

By now, it is no secret that we find amazing value in attending IMEX America and Frankfurt.

Now more than ever, face-to-face exchanges are vital to the success of businesses, associations and entire industries. The biggest takeaway for many on our team from IMEX America 2018 is that we collectively have the best understanding of our value proposition for organizations looking to invest further in meetings and events.

The world has finally acknowledged what we already knew – that live events are the best vehicle we have to create change.

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