When I was asked by Brightspot to attend IMEX this year, I was thrilled. I have been in the industry for several years and have always heard amazing things about IMEX, but until last month had never had an opportunity to attend. I left for IMEX motivated to get as much out of the week as I possibly could. When it was all said and done, I gained so much more than I could have imagined!
I started my week in training to get my CIS (Certified Incentive Specialist) certification through SITE. It was a fantastic course that focused on the fundamentals of the incentive travel industry. If you have a passion for the industry, like I do, the course was far more interesting and exciting than your standard “run of the mill” education session. Not to mention networking with other industry professionals. Priceless.
The next three days were spent on the IMEX show floor. As a hosted buyer, I attended 8 meetings each day, meeting with vendors, hotels, and destinations. The best advice I received going into IMEX was to have a strategy behind my meetings. My strategy was to spend my time taking advantage of meeting face to face with destinations and properties I have been working with via email. In addition, I wanted to make sure I learned all about at least one new destination I had never worked with before.
Known as “The Green Spot in the Middle of the Americas” Costa Rica is easily accessible with approximately 400 flights weekly into its two international airports. From its volcanic peaks, beautiful waterfalls and natural parks in the North Pacific to the pristine beaches, kayaking, surfing and hiking of the Central Pacific, and the not to be forgotten capital city of San Jose in the Central Valley, Costa Rica is a destination I look forward to working in one day soon!
I would also like to acknowledge Preferred Hotels & Resorts who graciously hosted me at IMEX this year and helped make my experience memorable and successful. Their booth on the floor was both welcoming and comfortable, as were all of the properties represented. The final highlight of IMEX was my very last meeting with a property represented by Preferred Hotels & Resorts that I loved learning more about.
Often overlooked as an incentive travel destination due to its “big city” reputation, the beautiful Kahala Hotel & Resort is the only beachfront resort in Kahala, Oahu’s most prestigious residential area. Located 20 minutes from the Honolulu International Airport, the property boasts stunning ocean views, white sand swimming beaches, a 26,000-square-foot lagoon, complete water and beach activities, spa with (9) treatment rooms, and 13,000-square-feet of meeting space.
I could go on for days about my time spent at IMEX, the people I met, and the knowledge I gained. It was a whirlwind week full of education and networking that I look forward to experiencing again in the future!