10th IMEX in Frankfurt will combine strong business opportunities with air of celebration


With the 10th anniversary edition of IMEX in Frankfurt set to open its doors for three days on May 22nd at Messe Frankfurt, organiser Ray Bloom and his team have announced further growth in the hosted buyer programme, a strong and diverse exhibitor line-up plus new features for the IMEX Vision programme.

This year’s extensive education programme also breaks through the 100 mark for the first time, with almost 120 workshops, seminars and other learning opportunities on offer for both visitors and exhibitors.  A number of changes to the IMEX website and diary functions plus improvements to hosted buyer refund processes have also been introduced. In addition, the 10th IMEX in Frankfurt will see free WiFi available throughout the show for the first time.

Around 3,500 exhibitors representing over 150 countries are set to exhibit at the award-winning trade show.  The US section will be 15% larger and will include Detroit for the first time, with San Francisco also returning to the show. Cruise line, Buy the Sea, exhibits for the first time, as does ATA Hotels, DMC Connection, Eventschmiede, JTB Europe and Pacific World, who will also be bringing a hosted buyer group. Other new exhibitors include: Best Western, Escuela y Centro de Conferencias de Monte Leon, Incentive Destinations Myanmar, Qatar Airways, Mintcentive India, Relais & Chateaux, Tumlare, Vantage and the Venetian Macau.  Mice Mallorca make a welcome return and Promo Tours becomes the first independent company operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina to exhibit at IMEX.

The technology area of the show will be 10% larger than in previous years with a sold out Tech Tap, plus the IMEX technology pavilion showcasing products and services from Amiando, ATIV Software, EventMobi, Evenium, Konnect and Video Tattoo amongst others. A new iPad Bar, sponsored by QuickMobile together with PSAV, will provide hands-on education on Apps for events. In addition, the IMEX App will be available for iPads for the first time.

26 established exhibitors are also taking larger stands for the 2012 show. Among the larger destination stands are: Boston, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Las Vegas, Mauritius, Moscow, Paris, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Texas, Turkey, Visit England and Visit Scotland.  AIM International, Cvent, GL Events, and technology providers, Psideo and Ungerboeck will also have larger stands. Meanwhile, among the hotel groups Fairmont, Jumeirah, Kempinski and Starwood have all taken bigger stands this year.

This year’s winners of the IMEX in Frankfurt Wild Card competition are Sendai in Japan and the El Salvador Convention Centre in Central America.  Both win free stand space on the Wild Card Pavilion plus, new for this year, a package of trade show and marketing support from business events consultancy, GainingEdge.

Hosted buyer growth

The show’s hallmark hosted buyer programme is set to bring almost 4000 hosted buyers to the Frankfurt show.  20 new hosted buyer groups are set to attend – half of them represent the European market, with the others focussing on long-haul buyers. Around 15% of the total hosted buyers at the show are expected from the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries. The number of buyers from Latin America and Mexico will also be higher this year and, as a direct result of success at IMEX America last October, more US groups will be present.

New – free Wifi

Among the most significant changes that buyers and exhibitors will notice this year is the introduction of free WiFi throughout the show. The service will allow everyone to browse the web and check emails on the go.  Equally, exhibitors are being encouraged to make good use of the ability to offer ‘stand presentations’ to groups of individual buyers.  This new facility will allow exhibitors to open their group appointments to more buyers and to invite individuals to join a group presentation through their online diaries, thereby maximising business opportunities and meeting time during the show.

Over 120 education choices plus new tracks

This year’s IMEX Education programme will be the largest and most diverse in the trade show’s history.  Over 120 different learning opportunities will be on offer, all of them free of charge. The IMEX App will also allow visitors to save education sessions into their personal schedules for the first time. Seminar attendees will also be able to use the App to download education collateral, make notes they can then email back to themselves, and complete seminar surveys.

A number of the education stands have also been rebranded to reflect subtle shifts taking place in the global industry. For example, The IMEX-CIC Inspiration Centre (formerly the Professional Development and Innovation Pavilion) will now provide a wider range of both professional and personal development information and advice. This year it is also sponsored by Poland.  

Planning which sessions to attend throughout the show has also been enhanced by the introduction of eight ‘tracks’: marketing and communication; personal development; HR and professional development; social media; sustainability; technology and general education. A ‘Visionary Events Series’  on the Inspiration Centre will also give visitors the chance to understand the dynamics behind individual meetings and events which have either pushed back boundaries or set new standards in innovation, design or impact.  

Education will be delivered by a range of experts and leading industry names including Meetology, tmf dialogmarketing, the GCB (who will once again be running an extensive German language seminar programme across all three days) and a host of industry associations. Among the individuals sharing their expertise in various sessions will be: Avinash Chandarana, Group Learning and Development Director, MCI; Aoife Delany, Director of Global Sales, Ovation; Eric de Groot, Meeting Designer, Mind Meeting; Andy Sharpe, Founder, Song Division; Julius Solaris, Editor, Event Manager Blog and Martin Suiter, Business Consultant.  Sessions will also be delivered in a variety of formats. These include Lightening Labs designed specifically as short, sharp ‘how-tos’ specifically for exhibitors and Campfires, which are informal, small group discussions facilitated by an expert. For the first time, and by demand, Campfires will also cover sustainability and technology issues.

New Sustainability Hub – green just keeps getting greener

In addition, the corporate responsibility centre now becomes the Sustainability Hub – powered by GMIC (Green Meeting Industry Council).  The Hub will act as a focus for environmental and community project information and will host a series of drop-in workshops as well as offering live case studies from previous IMEX Green Award winners.  ‘How to go green’ power-sessions with advice about where and how to start, as well as information on more advanced green policies and current practices will also be back by popular demand.

Badgeback programme to benefit two Frankfurt charities

For the first time, two local Frankfurt charities will benefit from the IMEX Badgeback programme: Lichtblick aktiv Schwester Sigrid, a homeless shelter run by Franciscan Sister, Sigrid Ehrlich, and Maisha’s Sewing Project, an employment programme for African women now living in Frankfurt. All visitors leaving the show will be offered the chance to deposit their recyclable and reusable badges into one of two collection bins, each representing one of the charities. Each badge will represent a donation of one Euro.

Reworked Association Day programme – senior association speakers

Other highlights in what promises to be a memorable 10th IMEX include a redesigned programme for Association Day.  Having been running – and consistently expanding – for 10 years, the IMEX Group, together with its association partners, took the decision to rework the day’s education content and formats to align more closely to the evolving roles and responsibilities of association executives.  As a result, all of the day’s seminars and workshops now fit into one of three new tracks: operations, executive and meetings.

Sessions will vary from three-hour ‘Deep Dives’, to case studies, panel discussions, workshops and a new 30 minute ‘Ask the Expert’ clinic. Speakers include Board Directors from leading associations such as PCMA, ICCA, the European Cancer Organisation (ECCO) and the Optical Society, ensuring that the day provides exceptional learning value for all 300 participants.  Association Day takes place on Monday 21st May at the Messe Frankfurt Congress Center, with the popular evening networking reception, which is open to exhibitors, suppliers and partner association members, taking place at The Westin Hotel.

Another strong element in this year’s IMEX will be the 10th Politicians Forum. This year up to 30 politicians and 70 industry leaders will meet at the prestigious Villa Kennedy (a Rocco Forte Hotel). Sir Rocco Forte will be the day’s keynote speaker. Chair of the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Events, Nick de Bois, MP, will also take part, as well as being special guest speaker at the IMEX Opening Ceremony.  Participants will also see a first screening of a short promotional film, produced by International Meetings: Review, which features an interview with Mayor of San Diego, Jerry Sanders. Sanders is widely credited with turning the city’s fortunes around by promoting it as the “biotech city of the world” and creating 40,000 new jobs in the process.  Since 1989 San Diego has used business events to put an extra 18 billion USD into the city’s economy.  Politicians Forum members will also hear a series of live case studies from other destination leaders; each sharing success stories and elaborating on how they worked in alliance with local politicians to achieve common economic and other goals for their destinations.

10th anniversary highlights

Chief among the changes designed into this year’s show to commemorate its 10th anniversary will be a special ‘Celebration Hour’ from 1700 hours on Wednesday 23rd May. During this special hour exhibitors are being invited to provide entertainment, food and drink to help create a party atmosphere on the show floor.  The atmosphere is expected to spill over into the IMEX Gala Dinner, later the same night at Frankfurt’s Alte Oper. The dinner will feature several ‘birthday surprises’ plus entertainment from Björn Again, who have been IMEX’s single, most-requested repeat performers over the last decade.

Results of the Power of 10 research study, which was commissioned by IMEX to mark its 10th anniversary, will also be presented at the show.  Conducted by Fast Future Research, who ran the highly acclaimed Convention 2020 study, the research will divulge interviews from 10 senior industry professionals in each of 10 meetings and events sectors to give an extensive picture of the state of the industry. The study also looks back to some of the most memorable and defining moments of the past 10 years, as well as looking ahead to the next 10.  A student essay competition and a comprehensive email survey (with a $1 donation being made to Save The Children for every complete survey submitted) will add further valuable perspectives to its findings. The Power of 10 is sponsored by long-time partners of IMEX: CPO Hanser, Frankfurt Convention Bureau, Messe Frankfurt and the German Convention Bureau.

Looking ahead to what promises to be a busy and highly enjoyable 10th IMEX in Frankfurt, Chairman Ray Bloom says:  “We’re very excited about our 10th anniversary show and we’re hoping to surpass last year’s record hosted buyer attendance. There’s also excellent development on the exhibitor side. Everything is set for us to deliver our usual combination of excellent business opportunities, networking and thought-provoking professional development and education too.  Above all, the IMEX team and I look forward to ensuring that we provide the best possible service so that all our exhibitors and buyers have an extremely successful IMEX and come away more than pleased with the results.”


Source = IMEX
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