Thousands descended upon Las Vegas for IMEX America 2018, and by all accounts it was a great success. We especially enjoyed our time at the Tech Zone, talking to folks that all have one thing in common: they live and breathe meetings and events, just as we do!

Before IMEX 2018, we asked our circle of event influencers what their top tips were for preparing to attend this mega event. Now that it’s over, we turned to them once more to find out what resonated most at this industry-changing expo. Here’s what they had to say!

Carina Bauer

CEO, IMEX Group

Q: What was your most exciting takeaway from IMEX America 2018?

A: Simply the success and business that we saw taking place on the show floor between our exhibitors and buyers. It highlighted the continued strength and positivity in the industry.

Q: What was a major industry trend you found amongst exhibitors, educators, and/or those you had conversations with while at IMEX America?

A: The industry is in a very positive and strong position. Industry research launched at IMEX America showed this, with the direct economic spend globally from business events being valued at over $1 trillion. In addition, smaller studies showed the continued growth of incentive travel programs globally, an increase in meeting participants and continued increases in city development including convention centre developments and of course continued increases in hotel stock.

Q: Who did you see at IMEX America this year that you consider an influencer and why do you consider them as such?

A: So many participants at IMEX America are influencers that it is hard to choose just one. One person that would stand out would be Julius Solaris who launched our joint (IMEX – EventMB) research, the Power of Meetings, during his Smart Monday keynote. It highlighted the many ways that business events can leave a legacy and I think it really moved people in the audience, as well as giving a real focus to the positive benefits of our industry.


Corbin Ball

Owner, Corbin Ball & Co.

Q: What was your most exciting takeaway from IMEX America 2018?

A: The robust growth of the events industry: a record attendance of over 13,000, 3,500 exhibitors, lots of association participation, lots of experiential elements.

Q: What was a major industry trend you found amongst exhibitors, educators, and/or those you had conversations with while at IMEX America?

A: Major event tech acquisitions continue (Cvent/Social Tables, Aventri/ITN).

Q: Who did you see at IMEX America this year that you consider an influencer and why do you consider them as such?

A: Julius Solaris did and excellent job this year both at the MPI Monday Keynote and Top Trends for 2019 Breakfast on Wednesday. He and his team are to be congratulated!


Tahira Endean

Chief Creator, TahiraCreates

Q: What was your most exciting takeaway from IMEX America 2018?

A: The sense we are getting better at articulating the value meetings and events have for organizations globally.

Q: What was a major industry trend you found amongst exhibitors, educators, and/or those you had conversations with while at IMEX America?

A: Play and fun used intentionally to create engagement which leads to better learning and conversations that move our world forward. Sustainability matters and is something many destinations and venues are committed to; taking care of people with wellness actions and better food options, profit because we have to and the planet through a host of initiatives from energy to waste – minimization and management, among others.

Q: Who did you see at IMEX America this year that you consider an influencer and why do you consider them as such?

A: It is not possible to choose one, and I would consider the whole IMEX team, and the many organizations they have partnered with, to all be influencing our industry across trade shows, conferences, and incentives. The depth and breadth of education at all levels; the conversations opened up with joint research and the sharing of these reports; the social influencers and the leaders honoured by the Events Industry Council and the other organizations who support these awards – there are so many seeking to have a positive impact, we can only grow forward together, and with more strength thanks to them. All of us really are stronger than any one influencer or voice.


Nick Borelli

President / Strategist, Borelli Strategies

Q: What was your most exciting takeaway from IMEX America 2018?

A: Globally, it feels like we have the best handle I’ve ever seen on what our actual selling proposition is as an industry – experience design.

Q: What was a major industry trend you found amongst exhibitors, educators, and/or those you had conversations with while at IMEX America?

A: Everyone was talking about data. I think everyone is onboard that you don’t have event ROI without data.

Q: Who did you see at IMEX America this year that you consider an influencer and why do you consider them as such?

A: Corbin Ball. Decades of relevant thought leadership in a rapidly changing industry specializing in an area that changes every day – technology…that’s impressive! His induction into the Hall of Leaders in Las Vegas by the EIC was recognition for his continued efforts to evolve what we all do.


Miguel Neves

Head Chef, Social Media Chefs

Q: What was your most exciting takeaway from IMEX America 2018?

A: It is possible to be human, tell a story and do business! This is not mutually exclusive.

Q: What was a major industry trend you found amongst exhibitors, educators, and/or those you had conversations with while at IMEX America?

A: I found sustainability is seeping into many areas of the events industry that I have not seen before. This is great news!

Q: Who did you see at IMEX America this year that you consider an influencer and why do you consider them as such?

A: Keynote speaker and EventMB editor, Julius Solaris. Julius has built an empire based on speaking candidly and honestly about event technology. He has a unique understanding of the industry and is always ahead of the curve. It’s always a pleasure to interact with Julius.


Kate Patay

Chief Strategy Officer, Patay Consulting

Q: What was your most exciting takeaway from IMEX America 2018?

A: My favorite takeaway, besides finally putting faces to so many names, was seeing the future of our meetings through the eyes of technology. From the Oculus that AllSeated released to the Chat Bots of Sciensio, our future is bright.

Q: What was a major industry trend you found amongst exhibitors, educators, and/or those you had conversations with while at IMEX America?

A: The major industry trend I’m seeing is the movement towards inclusion, awareness and diligence. Now, more than ever, there need to be strong contingency plans in place and solid, capable leaders at the helm to lead teams through both the calm and the crisis.

Q: Who did you see at IMEX America this year that you consider an influencer and why do you consider them as such?

A: I loved seeing Julius Solaris rock the keynote and hear about his future plans (watch him people!!)…Nick Borelli was, as usual, a fount of information and connections (influencer game is strong)…and lastly, anyone on the SEARCH Foundation Board of Directors or SEARCH 100. It’s wonderful that IMEX embraces the charitable causes that directly impact our industry and they are a group that I will be proud to be affiliated with for many years to come.


Adam Parry

Director and Editor, Event Industry News

Q: What was your most exciting takeaway from IMEX America 2018?

A: Its been two years since I last visited IMEX America, having met some key eventprofs on my last visit. Meeting up with them on this trip, the thing that struck me the most was that IMEX and its attendees are so welcoming, it’s as if I saw everyone just last month. IMEX really does provide a great platform for meaningful connections within our sector, it’s more of a community than an event.

Q: What was a major industry trend you found amongst exhibitors, educators, and/or those you had conversations with while at IMEX America?

A: More exhibitors creating their own content and using their stands to conduct this on. This for me is a great way to attract a key audience to your brand or organisation More exhibitors should think this way, as an educator and facilitator. Its something the event can get behind marketing and the ROB is much higher.

Q: Who did you see at IMEX America this year that you consider an influencer and why do you consider them as such?

A: There are so many TBH, I think everyone at IMEX is an influencer in their own right.


Will Curran

Founder, Endless Events

Q: What was your most exciting takeaway from IMEX America 2018?

A: Getting to see so many awesome faces during our live broadcast at IMEX America. It reaffirmed why we bring together all of the icons in one place!

Q: What was a major industry trend you found amongst exhibitors, educators, and/or those you had conversations with while at IMEX America?

A: A lot less hard selling when people knew I wasn’t a planner. I noticed a lot more people bringing their demos into the walkway too (robot with projector, giant light up man walking around, etc)

Q: Who did you see at IMEX America this year that you consider an influencer and why do you consider them as such?

A: The team behind C2 International aka C2 Montreal. Their event really pushes the bounds of what is possible and I think they are super influential on future trends and ideas.


Elizabeth Glau, CMP

Product Marketing Manager, EventBots by Sciensio

Q: What was your most exciting takeaway from IMEX America 2018?

A: Business events are proving to create a positive return on investment as more organizers take a strategic position in their companies.

Q: What was a major industry trend you found amongst exhibitors, educators, and/or those you had conversations with while at IMEX America?

A: Interest in chatbots for events (EventBots) is strong! Organizers are starting to see how having an EventBot to answer attendees’ questions decreases their stress levels.

Q: Who did you see at IMEX America this year that you consider an influencer and why do you consider them as such?

A: Megan Powers is very active in our online communities but you don’t always know it is her because she’s often representing other brands.


Marie-Claire Andrews

COO, Event Tech Tribe

Q: What was your most exciting takeaway from IMEX America 2018?

A: The continued announcements of consolidation – acquisitions – in the event tech space and the volume of conversations we had about partnerships. The event tech industry is a hotbed of excitement, collaborations and change right now!

Q: What was a major industry trend you found amongst exhibitors, educators, and/or those you had conversations with while at IMEX America?

A: That service is beating price and features right now for event tech purchases. “Make it easy”, “Make it fun”, “Be an extended part of our team” were repeated in conversations we had at our booth

Q: Who did you see at IMEX America this year that you consider an influencer and why do you consider them as such?

A: Courtney Stanley – one of the Association for Women in Events Hall of Fame winners, who came to the Women in Events happy hour at our booth. Courtney Stanley is the recipient of the Disruptor Award, and inductee into the 2018 Women in Events Hall of Fame. Courtney has been a driving force for positive change in the meetings industry and an inspiration to young women on a global scale. Courtney is the youngest member to have ever been elected to MPI’s International Board of Directors, where she worked fervently to improve the member experience and focus on innovation, diversity and inclusion. Earlier this year, Courtney spoke with the BBC on behalf of the events industry regarding sexual harassment and the critical need to make changes.