IMEX America takes place at Sands Expo at The Venetian l The Palazzo, one of the world's largest convention facilities, in one of the world's most extraordinary hotels. This was ICC Belfast’s second IMEX show of the year, following IMEX Frankfurt in May.
My journey to Las Vegas, which was in fact my first time travelling to the United States, began in George Best Belfast City Airport. From here I flew to London and caught my connecting flight onto McCarran International Airport. Ahead of the show I spent a day exploring the neon jungle that is the Las Vegas strip and soaking up a few rays that are slightly harder to come by in Belfast during the Autumn months.
IMEX America officially got underway on Tuesday 16 October. Along with fellow trade partners, ICC Belfast was exhibiting as part of the Meet in Ireland Booth B3025. This booth was a great opportunity for event buyers from all over the globe to pop by and find out about hosting their next world-class event in one of the island of Ireland’s top resorts or convention centres.
The IMEX show dates coincided with an exciting time for ICC Belfast as our new conferencing identity had just gone live a few weeks prior. I was also able to share the success of our recent C&IT Award win as the 2018 Best Venue, alongside Visit Belfast’s Best Event Destination win with booth visitors. Being in the gambling capital of the world, I was able to pick up a few tricks of the trade and can confirm that these accolades mean the odds of hosting a superb conference or event are firmly stacked in Belfast’s favour!
A dedicated appointment schedule with international PCOs, Agencies and Association buyers provided me with an incredible platform to increase brand awareness, catch up with existing clients to find out how we can work together to make future events bigger and better and prospect new business for Belfast. There was a total of 12,329 participants at IMEX America 2018 with 3200 exhibiting companies representing 130 countries across the globe. This made for an action packed few days during which the energy, enthusiasm and optimism was palpable.
There’s no party like an Irish House Party
One of the highlights of my IMEX experience was the Irish House Party which took place on the booth on Wednesday evening. It’s a traditional Irish ‘hooley’ with plenty of music, dancing and of course Guinness. IMEX participants flocked to the party to enjoy a taster of the unrivalled hospitality that will come as standard with any event or conference held in Ireland. I briefly joined the Irish dancers for a jig however I don’t think I’ll be departing ICC Belfast for Riverdance any time soon!
I thoroughly enjoyed my first experience of the United States and the many new connections I’ve been able to make as a result.
Although the ‘luck of the Irish’ wasn’t on my side at the casino tables, I felt incredibly fortunate to be able to promote Belfast on the world stage throughout IMEX America and look forward to keeping Team Belfast’s momentum going.