Case study: Driving business sales and growth at IMEX

2 mins

Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas sign

Trade show success: how IMEX can help you grow your business 

Lip Smacking Foodie Tours: how it started:

When Don Contursi started Lip Smacking Foodie Tours eight years ago, he was creating dining line-ups for two to four people a day - mostly couples visiting Vegas for business or pleasure who were looking for an alternative to gambling. 

Through hard work, a good head for business and strong connections to the best chefs and restaurants in town, Don grew to hosting to one to two tours of 10 people each day.  However, it really wasn’t until he decided to start tapping into the meetings business in Las Vegas and IMEX America that things really started cooking for him and his team.

And how it's going:

Now Lip Smacking Foodie Tours dazzles meeting and incentive groups of up to 150 people with inventive, VIP experiences. The unique tours guides guests between four acclaimed Las Vegas restaurants in one event.

They get to connect personally with the head chefs, each other over a love of food and drink in fresh, fun ways. Options are meant to appeal to all tastes and times of availability like the Ultimate Steakhouse Tour, Lip Smacking Boozy Brunch, Savory Bites and Neon Lights, or Afternoon Culinary Adventure. 

They are now one of the most-highly rated Trip Advisor attractions in Las Vegas. So how did it happen? 

Lip Smacking Foodie Tour
IMEX attendees taking part in a Lip Smacking Foodie Tour

How did IMEX play a role in growth and success?

Don found out about IMEX America through the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) when he decided to start tapping into the huge Las Vegas meetings industry. They talked about it as being the place to be.

"I started off by just walking the floor as a visitor with my free badge and talking with buyers and suppliers. What became apparent quickly was that everyone who was in meetings was there… And they’re all there to do real business."
Don Contursi, Lip Smacking Foodie Tours

The company then put their hat in the ring and were chosen to exhibit at the IMEX America Las Vegas booth in 2016. From that first year on, they've hosted 40 meetings per show. In 2018 they also flew over to IMEX Frankfurt for the first time to exhibit, which in Don's words was "another great experience" for their business.

Growing buyer reach at IMEX America

IMEX provided Lip Smacking Foodie Tours with access to buyers and organizations in corporate and association spaces that they felt they wouldn’t have been able to meet on our own.

"IMEX without a doubt has catapulted my business to new levels and into the larger group business we are doing now."
Don Contursi, Lip Smacking Foodie Tours

Don says: "We now host groups like M.I.C.E Matters Singapore where up to 140 people participated in a VIP dining experience. Another IMEX appointment led to three separate group bookings-one of which was for 87 guests on one of our newer tours that include a helicopter flight over the Strip."

Top tips for trade show success:

Don shares his tips on how he made the most of his time at IMEX, as a supplier:

  • Push before and during the show to promote your business in any way you can
  • Work the online meetings system hard as well as social media channels to get the word out
  • Use the show week as a platform to get in front of meetings with industry decision-makers
  • Moving billboards down the Strip, tweet with the IMEX hashtags 
  • Bring extra staff to just walk the floor and meet people informally
  • Discounts for IMEX attendees
  • Attend MPI Rendezvous and other networking events
  • Make a concerted effort to meet new people each time at IMEX as well as seeing existing friends and repeat customers

Table of food

Leverage audience and market insights - plus your business USPs

Don notes that understanding his audience, his location and the opportunity is key to his success. 

He says: "We’re in a great spot at the intersection of the foodie culture and immersive experiences. Everyone has to eat. And many people enjoy thinking about, talking about and learning about food. They also like seeing new sides of a city they may have visited before."

"We want to help planners create something new that delights and surprises even the most traveled of attendees."

For example, the company's tour that visits restaurants in East Freemont, historic or “old” Las Vegas, delights participants' taste buds but also provides an unforgettable, new experience. They get to spend a few hours in a completely different, local neighborhood that they didn’t even realize existed in Vegas. Don says: "It’s a whole different vibe and one that people enjoy."

Ready up to level up your business success at IMEX? 

Our exhibitors include tourist offices and convention bureaus; hotel companies, conference and exhibition venues; cruise lines, airlines, transportation companies; technology providers; event management specialists; gifting and merchandise suppliers - and many more! Sound like you? Exhibit with us! 

About the author

Charley Murfitt is IMEX's Content Producer. She is a proud advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion, sustainability and the circular economy.

Charley Murfitt

Content Producer