The 10th IMEX Frankfurt tradeshow opened May 22 at Messe Frankfurt with its traditional focus on generating strong business opportunities for buyers and exhibitors and its largest ever professional development program.
Twenty new hosted buyer groups joined the IMEX hosted program this year, which welcomed almost 4,000 hosted buyers from over 60 countries. Around 75 percent of those buyers attended from European markets with the remainder from the U.S., Brazil, Russia, India, China and Latin America.
On the show floor, 47 new exhibitor stands join the show, including Best Western Hotels, Buy the Sea cruise lines, the Jakarta Convention & Exhibition Bureau and the Venetian Macau Resort Hotel.
Many returning exhibitors also increased their footprint at IMEX with larger spaces compared to last year.
From here in the states, meeting representatives from Las Vegas, Texas and Florida all had a greater presence this year and Detroit, San Francisco and Pittsburgh were all first-time exhibitors.
In total, over 130 different seminars, workshops and campfires also took place during the three day show. This included 26 different sessions on sustainability and green meetings.
“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,” said Ray Bloom, chairman of the IMEX Group. “Our Future Leaders Forum is now a joint initiative between IMEX, Meeting Professionals International and MCI Group. Its reach is truly global, and all three parties share a strong desire to attract the best young talent into the industry, knowing we face some stiff competition from other sectors.”
IMEX Frankfurt also featured a restructured educational component for its Association Day program, which was attended by executives from Europe, North America, South America and Asia. Daylong networking event gave delegates the opportunity to step back from day-to-day business and discuss future strategies and current challenges with senior industry leaders.
“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,” said Bloom
Participants in the event, most of whom attended as part of the IMEX hosted buyer program, heard from 24 speakers, including CEOs and executive directors from some of Europe and America’s largest associations.
“We know the pressures association executives are under and appreciate that time spent away from daily operations has to provide a solid, measurable return in terms of education and networking,” said Carina Bauer CEO of the IMEX Group. “We are delighted that our new program has met with such a positive response and was appreciated by all those who took part. It gives us the motivation and direction to keep enhancing the program, extending its reach and doing whatever we can to support association executives in their professional challenges.”
This year, IMEX Frankfurt also unveiled findings from the largest foresight research study conducted on the future of the global meetings and events industry.
The Power of 10 Study, which was commissioned from Fast Future Research by the organizers of IMEX, was created to give something of lasting value back to the meetings industry and help drive its development over the next decade.
Fast Future’s researchers conducted interviews with more than 100 leaders, respected practitioners, innovators and future thinkers from across the industry. The research explores the internal mechanics of the meetings industry itself and the full range of business sectors it serves. The study also looks back over the last decade to trace and define the key lessons learned from past experiences.
The interview insights, together with desk research, a student essay competition and the results of a global survey, which gathered feedback from 765 respondents in 68 countries on six continents, were analyzed to produce the final Power of 10 Report.
“This was a major undertaking for IMEX and for Fast Future,” said Bloom. “The report’s findings are extremely comprehensive and make compelling reading for anyone involved in the sector. We are delighted to be able to gift the research to the meetings industry to mark the end of IMEX’s first 10 years. What becomes very clear from the study findings is that the pace of change has accelerated far quicker than any of us ever thought or imagined possible 10 years ago.”
The study identified the uncertain global economic outlook, the rapid availability of new technology and the shorter business cycle as the three main things that will greatly influence the industry in the next decade.
As its three-day run came to a close, IMEX once again showed why it is an important tradeshow for the worldwide meetings, incentive travel and events industry. It closed with a 21 percent rise in the number of individual buyer appointments with exhibitors during the show.
In total, over 64,000 appointments took place between buyers and exhibitors during the event, 40,000 of which were made by individual buyers.
Bloom believes that appointment numbers are a key business indictor as they represent planned, face-to-face meetings between buyers and suppliers.
Amy Riley, senior director of convention sales for the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, also saw a jump in activity.
“The show’s been very busy,” said Riley. “Appointments have increased from 180 last year to 250 this year, which is huge. We’re meeting a great variety of planners.”
In summing up the event, Bloom paid tribute to the support of the entire meetings industry.
“All have played their part in helping us to grow and develop IMEX since our launch in 2003,” said Bloom. “We know that we and our clients can rely on them for their exceptional levels of service, efficiency, creativity and partnership. We value them, and look forward to continuing that relationship over the next 10 years here in Frankfurt.”