Smart Monday connects community for IMEX America return in Vegas

“This feels like a new world for our industry and gives me hope that 2022 will be a strong year,” said buyer Valeria Serrano, from CTA Event design and DMC in Mexico, summing up the excitement felt by many attending IMEX America 2021’s pre-show day of learning, Smart Monday, powered by MPI.

“It’s like a reunion of old friends”, she said. “I’m reconnecting with my industry friends and have many meetings scheduled over the next few days.”

Buyer Donna Rogers, from Solus Sustainable Hydration in California, added: “I’ve already filled my boss’s calendar with face-to-face meetings and networking events!”

The power of the live, in person experience resonated loud and clear with many as hosted buyer Shelby Green, from Enterprise Events Group in California, explained: “I’m so excited to see people again – and happy not to be on another video call!”

Conferences & events are curators of human wellbeing

Smart Monday, powered by MPI, held on Monday 8 November, was a dedicated day of pre-show learning before IMEX America which runs 9-11 November at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas.

The day launched with a keynote by Dr Shimi Kang (pictured), an award-winning Harvard-trained medical doctor, researcher, and neuroscience expert. In her session Navigating opposing realities: 21st century stress and innovation, Dr Kang highlighted how event professionals understand the fundamental link between face-to-face experiences and mental health saying: “You are all mental health professionals – you know that we need meetings, we need conferences, we need information. It’s important to have this as part of our human experience – conferences and events are curators of human wellbeing.”

The power of nature to boost wellbeing and improve the event experience was the focus of Nature of space – An ecosystem for event success. Janet Sperstad, faculty director at Madison College, delivered a deep dive into her recently released Nature of space IMEX white paper. She offered guidance on how to deliver live event experiences that “quench the thirst for personal connections and community”.  Her research details ways of adapting nature’s best lessons to create a successful event, such as the use of lighting, space, and environmental features to inspire innovation.

Lightbulb moments – the power of sustainability

Environmental issues were front and centre of Meeting centric tour with MGM Resorts – a behind-the-scenes glimpse into Mandalay Bay’s substantial sustainability efforts. Participants were introduced to America’s largest continuous rooftop solar array which sits alongside other planet-friendly measures such as food waste and sorting trash at 11 recycling docks across the resort. The most complex undertaking? Changing the lightbulbs to energy efficient LEDs – all 1.4 million of them!

MGM’s Meeting centric tour was part of a programme of tours taking place on Smart Monday, offering opportunities to connect outside of the show floor. The Lip-Smacking Foodie tour shared the lowdown on Las Vegas along with some of the finest food on the Strip. 

Event technology figures highly on the agenda for many meeting planners and was explored in sessions including EventMB Event Innovation Lab™. The event planning masterclass, aimed at corporate and agency planners, offered a practical approach to the planning, marketing and delivery of events. The interactive session used case studies and the exchange of best practices to share new content relevant to the hybrid world of events and technology-rich event planning.

Zephia Bryant, a hosted buyer from Bryant Educational Leadership Group in North Carolina, explained why the topic resonated with her: “Many of my events have had to shift to hybrid so I’m looking at best practices and new approaches.”