Focus on business in current climate


IMEX chairman Ray Bloom, Face-to-face business opportunities at exhibitions like IMEX have always been essential and never more so than in the current climate. Although our planning is taking place against a background of global economic uncertainty, both IMEX‘s recent industry research and the feedback we’re receiving daily from exhibitors, buyers, and industry peers suggests that the international meetings industry is doing what it does best: remaining resilient and positive while co-operating closely to share knowledge, best practice, and experience.

By hosting more than 3,700 of the top meetings and incentive buyers from around the globe, together with attracting over 3,500 German planners, IMEX aims to guarantee outstanding business opportunities. For example, each year more than 40,000 appointments are made in the run up to the show through an easy-to-use online appointment system. This ensures that both exhibitors and buyers spend their time at the Messe Frankfurt show as productively as possible.

This trend towards a stronger business focus across the meetings and incentive travel sector is not going to go away. Buyers and exhibitors are all under pressure to prove the value of business travel, business meetings, and, of course, attending a trade show.

However, the experience of IMEX buyers speaks for itself. “IMEX 2008 delivered some really good genuine leads for us, with some deals already signed at the event. The buyer appointments worked really well for us, too. And we met some buyers we didn’t originally have meetings booked with,” said Celeste Hoffman, key account manager, Oman. Lluis Carmona Caballero, consultant, Grup(+) congressos + incentius, Barcelona, Spain, said, “I went to IMEX looking for the latest industry suppliers…and I was rewarded. Particularly helpful is the appointment system, which allows both vendor and buyer to prepare in advance and so make the most of the chance to meet face-to-face.”

Clearly the Internet has not only revolutionized the way that buyers can prepare for IMEX but also how they conduct their everyday business. Increasingly, portals such as have given buyers the ability to explore new markets and suppliers easily and quickly, enabling them to maximize face-to-face time when it matters most.

Visitors to IMEX can expect to meet a variety of new exhibitors in 2009. These include El Salvador; ITC Welcom, India; Tiara Hotels, Portugal; Welcome Swiss; and the Lebanon and Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau. Turismo Valencia Convention and Visitors Bureau and TA DMC are all taking their own stand for the first time and Kenya, Greater Boston and Meeting Matrix are amongst those returning. Bigger stands will also be in evidence from Austria, Denmark, Croatia, the Czech Tourist Authority, Accor Hotels, Prestige Hotels of the World, Norway, Romania, Golden Tulip Hotels, Discovery Travel, Jordan, and the Canary Islands among many others.

German buyers are also set to increase while IMEX’s founding partners, the German Convention Bureau, will stage their biggest German language seminar program yet, with a total of 16 sessions. In all, over 70 seminars will be on offer to meetings professionals of all levels of seniority and experience.

Brand new for 2009 will be “Meetings Under The Microscope.” This series of dedicated seminars taking place on the Professional Development and Innovation Pavilion will give planners up-to-date information on how to create events and meetings, which are more effective and deliver a higher return on investment.

To register, or for more information, go to