PlanetIMEX Virtual Platform for Community, Education and Networking Launches This Month

May 5, 2020

While this year’s IMEX flagship Frankfurt event was canceled back in March, members of the IMEX community will still have opportunities to come together virtually over the next several months. The virtual PlanetIMEX platform aims to keep the spirit of IMEX alive by allowing visitors to explore content, reconnect, talk about future business and continue learning in the company of friends and colleagues.

Designed in collaboration with Cvent, PlanetIMEX will feature three 3-D, interactive “islands” as destinations within the platform.  Each island will have its own theme (community, education or networking) and agenda.

"We decided early on that we wanted to give something back to the industry and at the same time continue our commitment to providing high quality training, business and networking opportunities,” said Carina Bauer, IMEX Group CEO. “Instead of a singular online event, we opted for an innovative, transformative and new approach.”

Each year, IMEX names a single emerging or important trend as the year’s talking point. Bauer explained that PlanetIMEX was inspired by 2020’s focus topic, nature, which will also be featured in educational content. 

Two of the three PlanetIMEX islands are slated to open on May 6:

  • Community Island — This beach-themed space will feature news, views, research and insights from the business events world, along with leisure activities from the #imexstillrunning solo run to laid-back island music mixes.
  • Education Island — A lineup of education focused on professional development, which will also be home to the IMEX Sustainability Village and the IMEX 2020 talking point: nature, will be held in this forest-inspired island. Education is sponsored by Cvent and supported by Streamlined Communications.

IMEX Group plans to expand the content, programs and interaction options on the platform over time, but has already announced some key dates for May activities:

May 11

EduMonday Live, featuring a full day of education and interactive content, will take place on Education Island. Content highlights will include:

  • Explore the virtual world of PlanetIMEX with Bauer, and IMEX Chairman and Founder Ray Bloom
  • Keynote address featuring Guy Bigwood, managing director of Global Destination Sustainability Index; and futurist Rohit Talwar
  • She Means Business panel including Julia Brewing, head of marketing for Germany, Austria and Switzerland at Facebook; and Gabriela Suhoschi, director of World Water Week

May 12

IMEX Community Day will bring together education from industry partners and associations including EIC, IAEE, Association of Destination Management Executives International, German Convention Bureau, International Association of Professional Congress Managers, International Congress and Convention Association, ZEUS and more. The IMEX-MPI Future Leaders Forum will also be included in the Community Day lineup.

May 13

#IMEXstillrunning — Join the community of IMEX participants who will be running, walking or doing any other form of exercise in place on this designated date. Share your workout with the hashtag on your social media platform of choice to inspire others.

May 14

The mountain-themed Networking Island will open featuring IMEX Introductions. These will help planners explore potential new business relationships and have one-to-one conversations with other members of the IMEX global community.

May 18

PlanetIMEX will offer by-invitation specific training for event professionals from associations, agencies and companies, including a virtual interpretation of Exclusively Corporate, the Agency Directors Forum and Association Focus.


Access to PlanetIMEX will be free, but registration for each scheduled event is required. Register for access to PlanetIMEX EduMonday Live here.

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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.