Editor’s Note: This is part of a monthly series on the planning process for producing IMEX America, the 10th anniversary of the landmark industry gathering scheduled for Nov. 9-11 at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

After news that the United States would open to vaccinated international travelers starting Nov. 8, a fresh round of registrations poured in, bringing the total number registered for the now mask-optional IMEX America at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino to 10,000.

Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX Group, reported that with less than two weeks to opening doors, nearly 3,000 hosted buyers are now confirmed from across North America and the rest of the world, plus many hundreds of attendee buyers, largely from the USA. Suppliers represent countries as far and wide as the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore and Rwanda. A robust Latin American contingent includes Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico. Chantal Sturk-Nadeau, executive director for Business Events at Destination Canada, reported that the country will be hosting the largest contingent ever this year. Representatives will be sharing updates from all over the country (beyond the usual cities) that can leverage experts in business verticals as diverse as nanotechnology and medicine.

All the major international hotel brands are attending, plus many smaller, boutique hotels, and the number of technology suppliers grows by the day.  Expect to see Cvent, EventsAIR, Hopin, Swapcard, RainFocus and MeetingPlay among others. “The tech area has significantly increased with companies we hadn’t even heard of two years ago,” said Bauer.

Bauer called the reunion for the business events industry particularly special since IMEX America is celebrating its 10th staging and a new home at Mandalay Bay. Two weeks out, her team was still adjusting the show floor map to make room for all the new visitors, the latest the map has ever been changed. “We are delighted to be at this point. It feels like things are back to normal,” she said. “It will truly be a global show.”

Another late-breaking development: The show will be mask-optional. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak granted an exception because attendees must all be fully vaccinated.

Read MoreRoad to IMEX: Details Released

IMEX Ready Checklist

After a year off, many may need to dig out their comfortable business shoes and practice smiling, greeting and walking, again—so much walking. To make the transition back to convention-ing easier, we came up with a checklist of what to do to make the most of your time in Las Vegas. Plus, we add a bonus tip for those not attending this year.

Come Prepared

The biggest change is that everyone has to show their vaccine verification so you will want to do the following:

  • Upload Covid-19 vaccine verification to Health Pass by CLEAR (U.S.) or Safe Expo (international).
  • To streamline registration, print your name badge and agenda.

Plan Now

Schedules fill up fast, so if traveling with a team, start planning as early as possible and fill a master calendar with the booth numbers of everyone’s appointments and reception commitments for most efficient coverage.

  • Hosted buyers should have already scheduled their appointments through the app. Come prepared to learn.
  • Go through the agenda and mark educational presentations you don’t want to miss on your calendar starting with Smart Monday, powered by MPI, where tracks are broken out with a focus on updating skills in association, corporate and agency sectors. During the show, new tracks including Creativity in communication; Diversity and accessibility; Innovation and tech; Business recovery, Contract negotiations, Personal branding and Sustainability. 
  • Reach out to partners and potential partners to ask for 15- to 20-minute catch-up times
  • Get reservations if scheduling lunches or dinners. (Ernest Stovall, vice president of sales with Mandalay Bay suggests Salt & Ivy at ARIA or, for a quick bite, Border Grill just above the North Convention space.)

Make Time for Right Things

EIC People & Planet Village will bring together sustainability, social and diversity efforts in one central place on the show floor. Look for the following:

  • Build a clubhouse: the result will be delivered to the kindergarten class of Luna, a child with pediatric cancer.
  • Donate a book: More than 400 have already been donated, bring one to keep the momentum going.
  • Build hygiene kits for Clean the World: completed gifts go to vulnerable local communities.
  • Make a sustainability pledge: Case studies will share tips for producing inclusive and planet-friendly events.

Read MoreStory Behind the Decision to Focus on IMEX America Live; Smaller Online

Get Out

Not everything happens on the show floor. IMEX is the perfect opportunity to bump elbows with fellow meeting professionals after hours, out and about. Las Vegas has developed enormously over the last two years and IMEX is making it easy for people to check out all the new venues for themselves. “There is a lot of newness to explore,” Bauer said.

The IMEXrun tradition continues on Wednesday morning at 6:30 a.m. With a 5K on The Strip at dawn.

  • Take a tour of MGM’s solar advances in the desert. Scout future meeting space at Mandalay Bay and the new CAESARS FORUM. Take a Lip Smacking Foodie Tour of top restaurants on The Strip. And, new this year, a mystery trip promises to surprise and delight. Again, you are going to want to register in advance to save your spot.
  • Site Nite, a fundraiser for research and scholarships to advance the incentive industry will be Monday from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the new Resorts World Las Vegas Zouk nightclub.
  • MPI Foundation’s signature Rendezvous event poolside at Caesars Entertainment’s Drais nightclub/beachclub goes down Wednesday from 10 p.m. Until 1 .a.m. the next morning.
  • Events Industry Council will honor its 2021 Hall of Leaders winners at MGM Grand Las Vegas Nov. 7.

Stream In

Not attending this year? IMEX Buzz Hub Live will broadcast education, panel discussions, wellness activities and show floor highlights for the first time ever. The content stream sponsored by Notified starts Tuesday at 9 a.m. With an interview with Bauer and IMEX Chairman Ray Bloom. Moderator Suzanne Mulligan will guide viewers on the journey.


READ MORE: Meetings Profs Essential Guide to the Return of IMEX America