The ninth IMEX in Frankfurt closed on a high earlier today when Chairman Ray Bloom announced some important new achievements and record outcomes for the exhibition that represents the worldwide meetings, events, and incentive travel industry. At the show’s closing press conference at Messe Frankfurt Bloom explained that the authority and quality of the IMEX-hosted buyer model had once again been reinforced.
“There were just under 3,900 European and long-haul hosted buyers in the halls - many were here for three full days with the intention of placing business. The total show attendance was almost 9,000. Results like these confirm that the IMEX model works, and works extremely well, for exhibitors and buyers. Both parties now appreciate the value of resources such as the diary and appointment system, the IMEX App with over 1,200 downloads, and the website which allows them to extract maximum business benefit from their time at the show,” Jorge Franz, VP of Tourism and International Group Sales, Greater Houston CVB commented, “IMEX has been amazing this year and definitely the busiest ever. We’ve seen a variety of good quality visitors, including major associations and corporations.”
Hosted Buyer Kathleen Lowrey Biara, President of Universal Odyssey said: “IMEX provides the crème de la crème of exhibitors. It’s like a little UN meeting.”
The strength and depth of this year’s hosted buyer program was demonstrated by the presence of corporate buyers from all of the major industry sectors including American Express, Citibank, Credit Suisse, and Nomura International from finance and banking; Danone, Nestle, PepsiCo, Proctor Gamble from consumer products; Oracle, Cisco, SAP, and Siemens from technology, and from the automobile sector, Volkswagen AG, Renault, and Bugatti Automobiles. Management consultants were also out in force with international buyers present from Ernst Young, KPMG, and McKinsey. Buyers attending from the pharmaceutical sector included Lilly, Merck, and Pfizer.
Buyers from the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) countries were again much in evidence and eager to do business. Association buyers were also out in force, as evidenced by a record 300-plus buyers attending Association Day. Significant groups of buyers from AC Forum and SportAccord Convention also joined the hosted buyer program.
Bloom also shared some impressive statistics with those present at the press conference: “Over 57,000 appointments have been made between buyers and exhibitors, including a record number of individual appointments. In the process of qualifying and planning those business appointments, they also exchanged over 12,000 messages. The quality and breadth of our education program has become an increasingly important part of the IMEX experience for all our participants. We were pleased to see that during that period they saved 3,500 seminars and workshops into their diaries. This year, working alongside a variety of excellent partners and companies, we were able to present over 90 different educational events to help inspire and motivate industry professionals in their day to day work and challenges, as well as their long-term career ambitions.”
A record number of industry research studies were also presented at IMEX this year, including Conventions 2020, the Future Convention Cities Initiative, Mice Market Monitor, IAPCO’s Congress Trends, and the GCB and EVVC’s Germany Meetings and Event Barometer. Bloom explained that their results combined to reflect a slow but steady upturn in business quantity and value across the world; a new-found confidence among buyers, and positive growth at a variety of regional levels. “Be they association, corporate, or agency, in established or emerging markets, one finding came through loud and clear from these studies: business is gradually returning and optimism is on the rise,” Bloom said.
Bloom also explained that several of the IMEX New Vision initiatives had reached new heights this year. He singled out Tuesday’s IMEX Politicians Forum, which saw 25 politicians from 16 destinations in Europe and the rest of the world meet to discuss the true business value of events with industry stakeholders and association directors. Political representatives attended from as far afield as Germany, India, Sweden, Croatia, France, Greece, Mexico, Italy, the Netherlands, Serbia, and Slovenia.
Demonstrating the success of the initiative, Hyeon Ki Kim, Chairman of the Culture, Sports, and Tourism Committee of the Seoul Metropolitan Council stated: “By attending today, I’ve gained a good impression of the meetings and events industry and how hard they are working to involve politicians, and how important the industry is to the economy. When I return to Seoul, I will help to locate the budget to develop the industry.”
Looking ahead to later this year, Bloom explained that plans for IMEX America were going extremely well, with the result that the show is set to be far larger than first anticipated when it gets underway on October 11 at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas. “Response has been excellent across the board, and around the world from both exhibitors and buyers. October in Las Vegas is going to be a very exciting time. IMEX America will also demonstrate the new power and importance of co-located events; the new ‘collegiate’ principle that working together delivers a far bigger total benefit for the industry,” he said.
Bloom also described how plans are progressing to mark the tenth anniversary of IMEX in Frankfurt come 2012. He explained that new branding would soon be launched, plus additional marketing initiatives, particularly within the German market.
Bloom also said: “Throughout the year, we will be marking the occasion with a number of entertaining, as well as more serious, activities, including a strong presence on social media. 2012 will also be the year of our next IMEX Challenge corporate responsibility project, which I am pleased to announce will be held in Slovenia. We are also delighted that the Board of PCMA has recently sanctioned the launch of a new award - the PCMA Global Meetings Executive of the Year Award - which will be presented for the first time at next year’s IMEX Gala Dinner.”
He concluded by saying: “Next year is going to mark an important milestone for IMEX and for the industry it supports and represents. Of course, before we get that far, we look forward to seeing many of you at IMEX America in Las Vegas when we will commit to repeating the spirit, the camaraderie, but most of all the results that you have come to expect from doing business the IMEX way.”