November 19, 2021November 22, 2021Marketing4 Min ReadIMEX 2021 – It feels good to be back in-personNolan EtherIf you follow us on social media, you saw that the Socio team was on-site at IMEX 2021! After over a year of mostly virtual events, IMEX felt like a homecoming. According to IMEX Chairmen Ray Bloom, “Over 3,300 buyers were here this week, the vast majority of them hosted buyers. We also had over 2,200 exhibiting companies representing 200-plus countries.” Bringing event professionals back in-person, reconnecting with people we have not seen since 2019, we were truly in our element. I had a chance to sit down with Lisa Vogel, Senior Field Marketing Manager at Socio, to discuss the event. Nolan: First, I just want to start off by saying that our trip last week was the first time that you and I have had a chance to meet in-person, even though we work together every day. I know you are also relatively new to Socio. What was it like for you, being able to meet some of the other members of the Socio family, face-to-face? Lisa: It was awesome. I have gotten so used to being virtual for work that I had forgotten how much you get out of seeing team members, partners, and customers in person. It was great to connect on a different level and build those relationships. Nolan: IMEX calls itself the “heartbeat of the global business events community.” Tell me about the energy you felt at the show. What kinds of things were you hearing about how the industry is thinking about events of the next 12 months or so? Lisa: The events industry is a tight group of folks. Everyone was so happy to see each other that it gave off its own energy and you could really feel the buzz in the room and the excitement for in-person events to be back. This was our first chance to dip our toes back into the in-person events water and honestly everyone is ready to dive back in as we go into 2022. Nolan: To say that the last two years have been challenging for event professionals is an understatement. What are some of the biggest challenges you heard about in your discussions at IMEX 2021? Lisa: wellbeing was top of mind for everyone. We can all say that we had professional challenges with furloughs, pivoting to events that required a whole new skillset, cut budgets and so on, but everyone was focused on each other’s wellbeing and the importance to care about that for yourself in addition to designing your event around the wellbeing of your attendees. We work in a stressful and challenging industry which is also extremely rewarding, so making sure you have your wellbeing at the top of the list, so you can bring the best version of yourself to your day is #1. Nolan: Event technology was a big part of the show this year. It was my first IMEX, but I heard from other attendees that event technology used to just have tiny little booths in the back corners of the show floor. What do you think about event tech taking on a bigger role and what it says about where this industry is headed? Lisa: The future of events and work is hybrid and the fact that the Event Tech area was smack in the middle of the IMEX event shows that the industry is moving in the hybrid direction. We have learned that to have a successful events program, you need to be inclusive and accessible which is where a strong event tech partner comes in. And event technology has also come a long way over the past two years which makes events for the organizer and the attendee an engaging and easy to use experience.Nolan: What was something you saw or learned at IMEX this year that surprised you? Lisa: It should not surprise me, but everyone was eager to have conversations and make new connections. I know that is what an event like IMEX is all about, but usually attendees are a bit more reserved as to who they will chat with. However, I think the IMEX team does an amazing job of bringing together the right audience, the right vendors, and the right industry experts to have meaningful conversations and sessions that inspire innovation and creativity. Nolan: What do you think is in store for the Socio team at IMEX next year? For those interested in attending, do you have any tips or tricks to making the most out of the show and the trip to Las Vegas? Lisa: I would say for an attendee, you should look at what you need for your events in 2023 and fill up your agenda with scheduled vendor meetings and inspiring sessions that will help you meet your event goals…and bring comfy shoes! I walked 35 miles at IMEX this year! As for Socio at IMEX, our team is excited to start planning for 2022 and highlight not only how Socio can power all your event needs, but also how you can have an engaging experience. So be sure to visit us next October in Vegas to get the full Socio experience! It was great to be able to see each other again at IMEX 2021. It’s a moment that the events industry really needed. As organizations begin to look more at bringing in-person events back, there is a lot to consider. Luckily, our team has some experience helping our customers host in-person and hybrid events during these challenging times.If you have in-person events on your roadmap for 2022 and want to learn how to prioritize safety while also creating an engaging and immersive brand experience, take a look at this case study we wrote about American Med Spa Association (AmSpa) to learn how they are paving the way for a new era of in-person and hybrid events.Nolan EtherNolan is a Content Marketing leader at Socio (part of Webex). He’s passionate about helping brands connect with their customers through engaging storytelling and immersive experiences.