IMEX America CEO Carina Bauer Previews 2021 Show

New safety measures, fresh offerings and familiar elements are on the agenda for November's Las Vegas event.


With IMEX America just weeks away, IMEX Group CEO Carina Bauer shared a preview of what participants can expect at this year's events industry trade show, which will take place Nov. 9-11 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Following are highlights of Northstar's conversation with her, plus some additional updates.

Participants must be fully inoculated with a vaccine approved by the World Health Organization

"I think the first priority of any event planner and each trade show organizer is to maintain the safety and security of your participants. And the situation, as we all know, has been very fluid and changeable. We've been watching the situation in the States very carefully. We want to make sure that we're providing an environment that is safe, secure, and really comfortable for the industry to come to do what they want to do at IMEX America: get back down to business and really revel and enjoy being in each other's company. For us, the bottom line was that we wanted to create a very low-risk environment."

The U.S. government's loosening of restrictions for international visitors, including those from Europe and the United Kingdom, is good news.

"We are absolutely delighted to see that the United States will be easing travel restrictions from across the world into America beginning in November, as hundreds of global buyers, exhibitors and industry professionals are keen to attend IMEX America. Whilst the U.S. has not yet announced an exact date, we are hopeful that the government's current statement of ‘early November’ will allow travel into the U.S. in time for [the show] and hope that further details will be announced very soon. We know that there is huge pent-up demand and we very much hope to be able to welcome our global industry back to IMEX America."
Familiar elements will be in place.

"I think [the show] will be a really great mix of the recognizable and familiar and the new. We will be doing Smart Monday with MPI on the day before the show [Nov. 8]; during the show, we'll have our morning keynote and we've got the show-floor education. So I hope that people will  be really happy to hear that what they love and expect about IMEX America will be there."

On the show's recurring theme of nature, Bauer said, "We looked at how to bring the outside in, and Mandalay Bay is a nice venue for that, because you've got a lot of nature and you've got the outside space."

Fresh education and innovative offerings are on the agenda.

IMEX America Resource Hub
IMEX America Resource Hub
Northstar Meetings Group’s IMEX America Resource Hub, sponsored by Visit Orlando, provides event professionals with all they need to know about the premier gathering for the meetings and events industry. Find essential information about the show, including safety requirements, the latest news, exhibitor and agenda details here.

"We’ve always believed that event design is a fundamental skill for professionals in our industry. Now it’s incumbent on all of us to strengthen our sector’s recovery, and the [recovery of the] wider world in a way that’s regenerative and sustainable for all by putting these skills to the test. We’ve created an education program delivering fresh thinking around the future of meeting and event design, along with sessions dedicated to true sustainability, diversity, humanity and technology, among other topics."

IMEX America's newly announced education tracks are Professional Development and Upskilling; Creativity in Communication; Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility; Innovation and Tech, and Purposeful Recovery. Full details of these tracks and education courses can be found here.

Attendees can also explore IMEX America’s venue, Mandalay Bay, in a series of tours. One tour will give planners an exclusive look into the behind-the-scenes operation of the resort and convention center, while a second tour will bring participants out into Nevada’s desert to visit the MGM Resort’s Mega Solar Array.

Safety, business and fun go hand-in-hand at IMEX America.

"I think as we've gone through this year of planning, we've put a lot of effort into important aspects, such as how do we spread people out? How do we avoid crowding? How do we keep it safe and secure for people? And that's obviously incredibly important. But in doing that, I wanted our team to really think about the fact that we didn't want to then suddenly create an environment that sterile. Because what we do is bring people together for business and for an experience. And that experience is what makes the show so special to people. We've also put a lot of effort into bringing back the fun, and making sure that when people are together, they are truly together. That goes back to what we were discussing right at the beginning, which is a vaccination policy, and creating an environment where people are coming to the lowest-possible risk environment that we're able to create for them; it is really important in enabling them to feel safe and secure together to have that fun. These things go hand in hand.

"We know that the safety and security is that first layer. Once we've got that, we can build our experience on top of it. We've lost a lot in this 18 months when we haven't been together. And of course, fundamental to a trade show like IMEX America is making sure that people can do business. That's what they're investing in the show for. But what goes around that is the experience. And we need to make sure that we're creating that wonderful experience that people expect."