In the final run-up to IMEX in Frankfurt, which takes place at Messe Frankfurt May 24-26, the IMEX Group has announced a variety of additions to its program, including more exhibitors and a number of important new hosted buyer groups.
Among the key international hotel groups and 20 new hosted buyer groups already confirmed for IMEX, there will be some new groups with exceptional international buying power. These include a new group of buyers from Merck Global meetings, a company which has an annual meeting spend of US$700 million. Another first-time group will comprise buyers from the AC Forum who place and plan some of the world’s largest conventions. US buyer numbers are also set to be higher than last year, fueled in part by the launch of IMEX America in October, as well as new association partnerships. These include an important group from IAEE, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events. In addition, SportAccord Convention, the umbrella organization for all Olympic and non-Olympic international sports federations, which has 104 members around the world, will be bringing a hosted buyer group to Frankfurt for the first time. In total, IMEX expects a record number of hosted buyers to attend the show, exceeding last year’s attendance of 3,870.
WHAT’S NEW ONLINE AT IMEX ’11
IMEX always welcomes hundreds of new exhibiting companies from across the world each year and 2011 is no exception. Among the new stands at the show will be Oberoi Hotels Resorts, The Balearics, H10 Hotels from Spain, Gdansk Convention Bureau, Malla Travel Trek Services Nepal, and Dragonfly Africa. New technology exhibitors include Getyoo, PowerVote, and Eventsforce. Exhibitors returning to IMEX in 2011 include Latvia, Riga Tourism Development Bureau, Hyatt Hotels, Costa Rica, and Lithuania Tourism Association. Armenia also returns with their own stand following a successful participation in the IMEX Wild Card scheme in 2008.
A host of established exhibitors have also increased their participation this year by taking larger stands. This includes Thailand, Paris, Moscow, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Boston, Poznan in Poland, Mandarin Oriental Hotels, Corinthia Hotels, Arosa Hotels, Air Charter, and Compagnie du Ponant cruise line.
Chief among the fresh developments at this year’s award-winning trade show is a range of technological and social media tools specially designed to help buyers and exhibitors maxmize business and networking before and during the show.
NEW APP AND QR CODES
A new mobile phone app, developed in partnership with Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and QuickMobile, will allow iphone, blackberry, and android smartphone users to access additional information about the show plus have a direct link to their IMEX online diaries, as well as links to the IMEX social media pages. IMEX has also been quick to develop QR codes (also known as 2-D codes or mobile tags), which the show organizers will use to share event and seminar information at point of delivery and also on information boards around the halls. The codes are easy to use and most smartphone users can download a free QR reader from their provider or apps store.
Developments aimed specifically at enhancing exhibitors’ ability to do more business during IMEX include the opening up of group appointments to all hosted buyers and visitors and the ability to send email broadcasts to targeted hosted buyers via the IMEX website.
In addition, for the first time, the IMEX i-Meet Group will be open to all IMEX attendees including hosted buyers, visitors, and exhibitors to help them make direct contact and connect with peers, prospects, and suppliers in advance of the show.
This year, hosted buyers will also have access to free Wi-Fi throughout the halls as a result of a new service courtesy of Destination Frankfurt Rhein-Main.
PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION HAS THE EDGE
The variety of educational events and seminars continues to expand at IMEX every year. Attendees will be urged “not just to attend IMEX but to be their best” at the show. As part of its partnership with Meetings Mindset®, visitors will have access to a new Online Performance Center, which launches on April 11. Here, they will be able to set measurable goals for the show and also receive guidance on how best to achieve them. Onsite Meetings Mindset® will have an exhibition stand providing free brain training techniques and practical tips on improving meeting performance. There will also be a dedicated seminar, entitled “Are you in the Meetings Mindset®?” IMEX organizers will also be exploring the use of scent to enhance learning and concentration by installing a scent machine in one of the seminar rooms.
This year’s show offers visitors, buyers, and exhibitors a choice of 80 different educational events, all free of charge and with no need to book (a full schedule is available online at www.imex-frankfurt.com/events
Anticipating another strong turnout at IMEX in Frankfurt, Ray Bloom, IMEX Chairman commented: “Yet again we have aimed to both increase the strength of our hosted buyer program and, importantly, the quality and buying power of those buyers who come to the show. As each year goes by, the global market changes and influential new markets and sectors emerge. We work closely with intermediaries the world over to make sure that IMEX is tapping into every last inch of potential these markets provide. What is more, we continue to invest in the technology that drives communications and business between exhibitors and buyers; the quality and type of industry partnerships we need to leverage and the relevance of scope of our educational offerings. As I’ve said before, IMEX is so much more than a trade show – and that is why many thousands in our industry wouldn’t dream of missing it. They know they can’t afford to.”