October 14, 2022 | By Joyce DiMascio | Image: The Australian delegation on the stand

IMEX America 2022 wrapped up this morning – Australian time – at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas and the mood between buyers and sellers was upbeat as the world reconnected through business events.

Tourism Australia led a strong delegation of Australian operators who worked the show floor and the appointments program in addition to hosting events and briefings for key buyers.

Thirty partners including hotels, convention bureaux, event organisers, speaker agencies, airlines and major conventions centres donned the “Team Australia” uniform to create a solid presence for Australia.

“Come and say G’Day” was the slogan on stand #1406 where sellers were wearing an Indigenous-inspired colourful scarf over basic black.

Tourism Australia’s executive general manager of commercial and Business Events Australia Robin Mack said being back on the world stage to promote Australia with 30 Australian organisations was fantastic.

“This marks a positive milestone in the road to recovery as we return to pre-pandemic attendance on the stand,” he said just prior to the show.

“Over the next two days, we look forward to connecting with planners from the incentive and association sectors and driving awareness about the latest developments and why there’s nothing like Australia for business events.”

One of the big changes introduced at IMEX America this year was a revamped education program.

In a key session called Venue contracts for today’s unruly environment, Tyra Warner, chair of the Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts at the College of Coastal Georgia, said the “old rules are out of the window”.

“We’re in the relationship business and traditionally contract negotiations reflected that. Increasingly, however, there’s less collaboration or room for negotiation.”

Many in the audience agreed that it was currently a seller’s market. The advice from Warner was, “In a negotiation, the name of the game – for both parties – is to minimise risk. Figure out what your event’s strengths are and trade on those.”

Action in IMEX America’s education program

Day one of the show also saw IMEX America recognised for its sustainability commitments. The 2021 show reached Platinum level certification in the Events Industry Council’s (EIC) Sustainable Event Standards.

The EIC Standards are made up of specific criteria for environmental and social responsibility within the events industry.

“Certification to the event industry’s highest global standards gives us not only recognition for all sustainability efforts, but also a roadmap for measuring and improving our sustainable event programs in the future,” said IMEX Group CEO Carina Bauer of their achievement.

“We’re also committed to the Net Zero Carbon Events initiative and are on track to publish our pathway to net zero by the end of 2023. All of these milestones rely on a collective effort. Without engagement from our partners, exhibitors, suppliers and more we would not be able to make such a positive impact.”

IMEX America was expected to attract 10,000 visitors by show close. There were almost 400 booth on the exhibition floor with exhibitors representing over 180 countries. IMEX America first launched in 2011, with 2022 being the 11th edition of the show.