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A Week in Las Vegas – Day 3

It used to be The Egg in Chicago. A perfect place for “Breakfast in America” – counter service, coffee and water upon arrival and a menu featuring eggs every way, waffles, pancakes and English muffins. I wanted the Las Vegas equivalent and tasked Moira Hearn with finding it for our annual early AM trade show rendezvous. Moira, in turn, consulted with Karen and Stephanie of Las Vegas based DMC Activity Planners and got the benefit of local expert input.

She took us to the Black Bear Diner way out on W Tropicana Ave. It was perfect – fresh orange juice followed by 7-grain granola nut cakes and fellow diners who arrived by pick up truck. It all felt so real and authentic. Inevitably when industry veterans in their 50s assemble, talk soon turns to “the next generation”. Moira had a great phrase to describe Gen Y – “ubiquitous connectivity and pervasive proximity”.

Hugo as "Bad Teacher", IMEX America 2011

Back on the show floor business was well and truly buzzing. Hugo, Sean and Dan looked extremely comfortable in their teacher’s gowns and the various groups of hosted buyers seemed to appreciate the quirky methodology that we adopted for the on-stand presentations. It was like an all male version of “Bad Teacher” with Hugo, in particular, displaying a very worrying level of comfort with the cane and Sean not far behind him!

Business was consistently brisk throughout the day leaving only time for a banana at lunchtime. I had a great catch-up with Harry Fine and we discussed the value proposition of DMCs agreeing that the DMC’s unique local destination insight and connections could never be by-passed.

I also caught up with ubiquitous James Latham ( who is NO Gen Yer!) to plan our ongoing collaboration on the Meeting: the World project for 2012. Feedback on the 2011 series starring our own Aoife Delaney has been phenomenal to the point that next year is almost sold out!

The inimitable Rob Davidson with Krzysztof (left) and Allison Summers, MD Site (right)

IMEX America also saw the launch at the Site booth of a new publication of cases studies around the business results of motivational experiences. Compiled by Krzystof Celuch of Vistula University, Warsaw and Rob Davidson of the University of Greenwich Better Business Results through Motivational Experiences and Incentive Travel presents 14 case studies that prove the value of motivational events. Including programmes from such global companies as Bombardier, Blackberry and Fuji Xerox this important publication shows how MCI, AV Business & Communications and Dragonfly Africa, amongst others, generated impactful ROI from the programme investment.

The buzz and energy around the floor started to reach fever pitch by 5pm as most exhibition stands transitioned into party mode offering adult beverages and entertainment. The lines between business and pleasure, more blurred in our industry than any other became even more indistinct.

By the time many of us gathered again at Pure Niteclub for the IMEX America Champagne and Dessert party the positive energy of the show floor had almost grown legs. The tentative optimism that most of us dared to feel in advance of this week in Las Vegas had moved up several notches and seemed to take shape as real tangible hope. Jane Schultz pointed out the happy irony of it all. Las Vegas, the key reference point in our industry’s annus horribilis of 2008 was now the birthplace for its annus mirabilis? Laissez les bons temps rouler!!!


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