The 10th IMEX in Frankfurt trade show opened today (May 22) at Messe Frankfurt with its traditional focus on generating strong business opportunities for buyers and exhibitors, high-level networking events, and its largest ever professional development program.
Twenty new hosted buyer groups have joined the hallmark IMEX-hosted program this year, which is set to welcome almost 4,000 hosted buyers from over 60 countries. Seventy-five percent of buyers will attend from the key European markets, with the remainder from the growing long-haul markets of the USA, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Latin America.
On the show floor, 47 new exhibitor stands join the already extensive global line-up. New exhibitors include ATA Hotels, Best Western Hotels, Buy the Sea cruise lines, Hornblower New York cruise line, Jakarta Convention & Exhibition Bureau, Lithuanian Exhibition and Congress Centre, Mice Mallorca, Qatar Airways, Song Division, and the Venetian Macau Resort Hotel. Brand new destination – Georgia – also joins the exhibitor line-up for the first time. A greater presence by technology exhibitors sees the technology area of the show expand by 10 percent.
Thirty-five existing IMEX exhibitors will be showcasing their products and services on bigger stands this year, including Atout France, Discover India, Jordan, Lufthansa, Philippines, Preferred Hotel Group, Rocco Forte Collection, and Taiwan.
From the US market, Las Vegas, Texas, and Visit Florida also have a stronger presence this year, and Detroit, San Francisco, and Visit Pittsburgh are among the new stands. IMEX’s founding partners, the German Convention Bureau (GCB), are also exhibiting with more than 200 German meetings and event industry suppliers.
This year’s IMEX education program has been greatly expanded, with the introduction of short, small group “campfires” of no more than 45 minutes, taking place on various show floor locations – the IMEX-CIC Inspiration Centre (sponsored by Poland), the Sustainability Hub – Powered by GMIC, and the Tech Tap (coordinated by the Meeting Support Institute). Campfires are also scheduled on the new iPad bar, which is sponsored by QuickMobile and PSAV and designed to give quick, hands-on events and meetings app tuition, and on the Meetings Mindset® stand.
LIVE EXPERIMENTS TAKING PLACE
IMEX’s partnership with Meetings Mindset® continues to expand, with CEO and Founder Jon Bradshaw offering the chance for visitors and buyers to take a “pitstop” on the stand. Here, they have to chance to recharge and refocus on their business goals for the show using the Meetings Mindset® formula of “Prepare, Perform, Produce.” In a related activity, the Meetology® Group has teamed up with IMEX to investigate and measure the psychological differences between face-to-face and virtual meetings. In a series of live, quantifiable experiments, psychologists Dr. Jon Sutton and Dr. Paul Redford will invite visitors to take part in short, 10-minute tests to help define the true differences in human behavior when we meet face to face or “virtually.”
EDUCATION PROGRAM NOW OFFERS 130 SESSIONS
In total, over 130 different seminars, workshops, and campfires are set to take place over the next 3 days (in addition to 17 ICCA Chapter Meetings, which took place yesterday). Just some of the highlights include: “Break, Burn or Ban the Professional Meeting Box;” “Participant Driven Incentive Travel Design for Better Results;” “Dare to Compare with El Bulli;” “Winning Ways to Win Bids;” and “Destination Leadership.”
Due to strong demand, IMEX has increased the number of sessions offering technology or social media education this year. Among them are: “Using iPad Apps to Manage Attendees;” “Social Media Communications Strategies;” “Indoor GPS Technology;” “How 9 Events Came to Life in Less Than 2 Years out of a Twitter Community;” and “Best Practices for Mobile Engagement.”
JEAN MARIE PFAFF – BIG DRAW FOR GERMAN FOOTBALL FANS
The GCB is also running a 3-day German language seminar program with a full day dedicated to social media education tomorrow (Wednesday, May 23). Guest speaker, Jean Marie Pfaff, ex-Bayern Munich and international goal-keeper (known in Germany as “the David Beckham of his day”) is also set to attract a strong crowd when he talks about engagement and how the discipline required in top level sport complements that required for business success.
STRONG GREEN MEETING PROGRAM
Heightened interest in green meetings and events issues this year means that the Sustainability Hub will present 26 different sessions, among them “Scary Sustainability Stories,” “Why Conference Apps Are A Must For Green Meetings,” and a number of sessions dedicated to exploring the implications of various green meeting frameworks, such as BS 8901, ISO20121, Apex, and ASTM.
The IMEX Green Awards – run in partnership with GMIC – will be awarded at the Gala Dinner on Wednesday evening.
NEW POWER OF 10 RESEARCH DEFINES THE WAY AHEAD
Among the new research studies being presented during IMEX 2012 are the GCB/DZT Annual Meeting and Event Barometer and tmf dialogue marketing’s new Mice Market Monitor (mmm) study incorporating social media trends. IMEX will also be presenting the findings from its new Power of 10 research report (tomorrow – Wednesday, May 23). The study represents the largest ever foresight research study into the future of the global meetings and events industry.
Conducted by Fast Future Research, and building on the findings from the Convention 2020 report, the Power of 10 research both looks back at the changes that have defined the industry over the past decade and also ahead to the next 10 years and produces a roadmap of key trends, business challenges, and opportunities. Researchers conducted over 100 face-to-face and in-depth telephone interviews with industry leaders, respected practitioners, innovators, change agents, and future thinkers from all sectors of the industry, as well as an extensive online survey and student essay competition.
NEW IMEX SOCIAL TEAM – AND IMEX TV
Also new this year, and designed to capture the full “IMEX buzz” during the week, will be the presence of IMEX TV – sponsored by Iguassu Falls. Interviews and footage will be broadcast throughout the show via the IMEX website. In addition, an “IMEX Social Team” consisting of social media experts from Dutch company, Triqle, will be roaming the show floor helping exhibitors, visitors, and buyers use social media to get even more value from attending IMEX.
A number of new services have also been introduced for the 2012 show to help visitors, buyers, and exhibitors to get even more out of their time at the show. The launch of free WiFi throughout halls 8 and 9 for the duration of the show allows all participants to easily access the IMEX App, plus check emails and surf the web on the go.
Speaking about this year’s “IMEX experience,”’ after the show’s opening ceremony, Chairman Ray Bloom said: “Our 10th anniversary has given us the chance to focus on some of our most successful and long-standing initiatives – and also to raise the bar on others. Yesterday’s Association Day is a good example of a strong educational and networking event that we reframed and reworked, and I’m delighted at the positive feedback received from the 300-plus association executives who attended. Our Future Leaders Forum is now a joint initiative between IMEX, MPI, and MCI – and quite rightly because its reach is truly global, and all 3 parties share a strong desire to attract the best young talent into the industry, knowing we face some stiff competition from other sectors. This afternoon’s Politicians Forum is also set to be our strongest yet, with politicians from South Africa, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Germany, Scandinavia, the UK, France, and other parts of Europe attending. Our guest speaker, Sir Rocco Forte, and the presence of Nick de Bois, MP, also reflect the authority this event now exerts every year.”
Bloom concluded: “We hope that the Power of 10 research goes some way to giving something of great value back to the industry that will help shape a strong future but, most of all, we remain focused on making sure that the business, education, and networking opportunities provided by this week at IMEX in Frankfurt provide the best results and return on investment required by everyone who attends the show.”