Business focus dominates IMEX 2009


IMEX 2009 will offer the industry more opportunities to do business than ever before, said organizers Regent Exhibitions, when it opens its doors on May 26 in Frankfurt. Enhanced business opportunities is the focus of the exhibition, thanks to a forecast increase in the numbers of hosted buyers attending from across the world, an increase in the length of time they spend on the show floor, and an expected expansion in the numbers attending from the enormous German outbound meetings market.

For the past two years, IMEX has focused consistently on building and extending its network of intermediary partners who invite hosted buyers to attend the exhibition from across the world, as well as the important European markets. For 2009, IMEX has established new partnerships with intermediaries across Asia, the US, Australia, Russia, Chile, Dubai, Europe, and South Africa and will be hosting new groups of buyers in partnership with Marriott Hotels, Capella Hotels, NH Hoteles, Al Rostamani, and George P Johnson. Over 3,600 hosted buyers are expected to attend the exhibition from almost 60 world markets.

New four night programs for long-haul buyer groups, including those from the US, will also increase the length of time that buyers are able to spend on the show floor by up to 25 percent. Combined with this, the Frankfurt Tourist Office will be offering post-IMEX introductory sightseeing tours of the Rhine main region’s cultural and historical highlights, including the Rheingau wine region.

Commenting on the preparation for IMEX 2009, chairman, Ray Bloom, said: “Although our planning is taking place against a background of global economic uncertainty, both our recent industry research and also the feedback we’re receiving on a daily basis from exhibitors, buyers, and industry peers suggests that the international meetings industry is doing what it does best: that is, remaining resilient and positive while cooperating closely to share knowledge, best practice, and experience in order to maximize every business opportunity that exists. We have never experienced higher demand from hosted buyers to attend from all corners of the globe.”

Business efficiency
Business efficiency will also top the agenda at IMEX with a number of improvements to the key functions and pathways within its website. These refinements will particularly help hosted buyers and exhibitors to manage their online diaries and appointment schedules more easily. As a result, they will be able to communicate directly through a new IMEX instant-messaging service about planned appointments and easily exchange working documents and requests for proposals. Improvements in the virtual exhibition search function will also make it easier for buyers to find the exact exhibitors matching their requirements prior to the show, and a new service within the Exhibition Buyers Guide will deliver exhibitors a pre-selected list of buyers who exactly match their countries and products. In 2008, a record 40,000 appointments were booked prior to the opening of the exhibition by buyers directly with exhibitors of their choice. Such online improvements are intended to maximize these opportunities yet further.

New exhibitors
Demand from new and existing exhibitors is also high with IMEX organizers forecasting continued growth for the award-winning tradeshow in 2009. New exhibitors already confirmed include ITC Welcom, India; Tiara Hotels, Portugal; Welcome Swiss, and Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau. Turismo Valencia Convention and Visitors Bureau will be taking their own stand for the first time, and Kenya, Greater Boston, and Meeting Matrix are among those exhibitors returning to IMEX. Those increasing their exhibition space by a significant margin include Croatia; the Czech Tourist Authority; Accor Hotels; Prestige Hotels of the World; Norway; Romania; Golden Tulip Hotels; and Discovery Travel, Jordan. Other increases will also be seen from exhibitors as diverse as Luxembourg; Serbia; Japan; BMW Welt; New World Travel, Inc.; Concorde Hotels, Texas; and Arkona, Germany.

German buyer increase
German buyer numbers are also set to increase at IMEX 2009 thanks to an expanded marketing campaign, which will target almost 150,000 marketing and event professionals across Germany. An enhanced partnership with leading marketing magazine, Horizont, will form a cornerstone of the program, as well as new partnerships with VokDams – the country’s leading live events marketing agency and Germany’s Association of the Scientific Medical Societies (AWMF). To compliment the campaign, a total of 15 German language seminars, run by the German Convention Bureau, plus new German language workshops on the IMEX Professional Development and Innovation Pavilion will take place, addressing the specific issues of the German market and focussing on the IMEX 09 professional development theme of ‘innovation.’ Last year a number of highly-targeted German marketing campaigns resulted in 70 percent of all IMEX visitors attending from the resilient German market.

Summing up, Ray Bloom explained, “By consistently concentrating on delivering new business opportunities and ensuring that IMEX remains a truly business-centered show, IMEX has proven to be an indispensable business tool for everyone involved in the international meetings industry. We look forward to fulfilling that fundamental market need once again in May.”

IMEX 2009 will take place from May 26-28 in Hall 8, Messe Frankfurt.