• Rosie Ashman

The meetings industry through millennial eyes

Guest Post by Rosie Ashman, Marketing Assistant at IMEX Group.

Starting my job with IMEX was just the start of a number of opportunities that have come my way since. I get to work with an amazing team who encourage me to grow every day and I’m able to meet with people from all over the world. But best of all I get to travel to places I’ve never been before – attending our trade show in Las Vegas was my first time in America! For a more in-depth look into life at IMEX take a look at the blog I wrote below.

If you can picture yourself in a company like this, email to find out about career opportunities at IMEX.

At 22 years old, I’m a millennial, on the cusp of generations Y and Z, and I’m the youngest member of the IMEX team – the baby, if you will. Millennials may have an unfair reputation for being selfish, immature and glued to our phones, but we’re still the generation everyone wants to reach. Last year, I experienced my first ever trade show at IMEX America, and my first introduction to the meetings industry. Would you like to know what I thought of it? I promise I’ll be honest!

Social interaction isn’t so scary after all

Social media has defined my generation as the primary means of contact, causing us to lose the ability to communicate effectively in person. However, the first thing that struck me upon walking the aisles of the Sands was how friendly people were. Handshakes, hugs and contact details were happily exchanged between friends old and new. The prevalence of associations such as MPI and ICCA gave way to introductions, icebreakers and immediate mutual interests. This sheer volume of social interaction overwhelmed me at first, but by the last day of the show I grew to value how good it felt to talk to people face-to-face.

Bleisure travel is awesome

With gap years almost becoming a rite of passage for my generation, it may come as no surprise that millennials love to travel in our spare time. Yet the opportunity to travel on the job is equally as important, as observed by Huffington Post, “we’re seeing millennials base their entire career decisions around the ability to travel generating a completely new concept – bleisure travel”. The meetings industry provides the chance for young people to see the world by attending conferences, trade shows and events. I can vouch for how valuable this is, as my new job allows me to travel to countries I’ve never been before. Business travel provides a safety net that solo travel doesn’t, allowing you to advance in your career while gaining new experiences.

Technology buzz

Some may think the meetings industry is only just catching up with technology trends, but IMEX America was actually my first experience of several new innovations. In the lead-up to the show I saw what goes into creating an event app, and wrote about our experience of using chatbots (a form of artificial intelligence). Best of all, during IMEX America I had the chance to try out new technology in the form of virtual reality – if you haven’t tried it yet, you must! This was my first glimpse of what the future looks like.

Sustainability is a top priority

Forbes notes that one characteristic of the millennial generation is our loyalty to socially responsible brands. The sustainability efforts showcased at IMEX America made me happy to align myself with my employer – from attendees donating books to help Nevada’s schoolchildren to read, to exhibitors recycling unused materials. I truly believe IMEX are doing all they can to use their position in the meetings industry for good.

You never stop learning

Millennials are a highly educated generation with about 61% having attended university compared to 46% of generation X. This thirst for knowledge is encouraged by the education on offer within events in the meetings industry. At IMEX America I had the chance to attend sessions on social media strategy and supporting women in the industry, and both have benefitted my work since. Although I have left university behind me, I’m so glad to be in an industry that supports my continuing development.

To sum up, my first experience of the meetings industry at IMEX America was a hugely positive one. It seems that the key to attracting and retaining millennials is to keep moving forward, especially in terms of technology and social responsibility. The benefits of travel and education appeal to younger generations as they enable us to grow professionally as well as personally. But regardless of my generation’s fondness for social media over real-life interaction, nothing beats a good old-fashioned face-to-face meeting for getting things done.

If you’ve got serious FOMO after reading this, register for IMEX in Frankfurt 2018 now!

This blog was originally posted on the IMEX Blog.

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