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10th IMEX Frankfurt combines business and celebration

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

This year’s extensive education program 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 tradeshow. The U.S. section will be 15 percent 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.

The technology area of the show will be 10 percent larger than in previous years. In addition, the IMEX App will be available for iPads for the first time.

Twenty-six 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, Las Vegas, Paris, Texas, Turkey and Visit Scotland.

The show’s hallmark hosted buyer program is set to bring almost 4,000 hosted buyers to the Frankfurt show. Twenty new hosted buyer groups are set to attend; half of them represent the European market, with the others focusing on long-haul buyers. Around 15 percent 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 U.S. groups will be present.

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 maximizing business opportunities and meeting time during the show.

This year’s IMEX Education program will be the largest and most diverse in the tradeshow’s history. Over 120 different learning opportunities will be offered, 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 Center (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.

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. Campfires, which are informal, small group discussions facilitated by an expert, will also cover sustainability and technology issues.

In addition, the corporate responsibility center 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.

Other highlights in what promises to be a memorable 10th IMEX include a redesigned program 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.

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