IMEX in Frankfurt opened earlier today in Messe Frankfurt’s Hall 8 with the announcement that the leading trade show for the international meetings, events and incentive travel industry has grown again in 2014.
New stands, stand increases from existing exhibitors, the biggest education programme ever and the scale and diversity of the hosted buyer programme are the defining features of this year’s exhibition.
Some 64 new stands join the line up of 3500 exhibiting companies on the show floor while over a third of previous exhibitors have increased the size of their stands on 2013.
Growth from various regions of the world testifies to the meetings and events industry’s growing appetite for the appointment-driven trade show, with an 11 per cent increase in space taken by Asia Pacific exhibitors, five per cent increase from Latin America, an eight per cent increase from the USA and three per cent from Europe.
Strategic partners, the GCB German Convention Bureau, are hosting over 230 exhibitors on the show’s single largest stand, F100.
Rising numbers, growing sectors
Continuing a trend seen over the past few years, the cruise sector has grown this year with three new stands joining the line-up of cruise companies keen to maximise their share of the meetings, events and incentive travel market.
Similarly the continuing growth of technology advisors, suppliers and product innovators is demonstrated in a 20 per cent rise in technology exhibitors.
Other sectors with a larger number of exhibitors at this year’s show include airlines, car rental companies, catering services, entertainment services, conference venues and hotel resorts specialising in golf, gaming or skiing.
New hosted buyer groups
More than 20 new hosted buyer groups, the majority of which represent long-haul markets, add to the number of hosted buyers expected at the show this week.
New services have also been introduced to help buyers make best use of their exhibitor appointments and business meetings at the show.
A spacious new lounge for hosted buyers has been constructed to take account of rising numbers.
It has double the seating capacity of previous years and features a new concierge desk, information counters, diary and boarding pass printing, mobile phone recharging plus an interactive floor plan and new food outlet.
Changes have been introduced to accommodate more buyers in the halls and also to allow the many thousands attending to use their time more efficiently and in more comfort.
Hallmark pre-show events swell buying power
Among the hosted buyers taking part in important pre-show events, and staying on at the show over the next few days, are over 300 association meeting planners from yesterday’s annual IMEX Association Day.
In addition more than 80 senior executives and meetings buyers from the corporate sector also took part in the show’s latest niche education and networking event, Exclusively Corporate @IMEX.
The corporate buyers represent 20 industry sectors and 21 countries.
Together this powerful group brings a joint annual meetings and events buying power of $180 million to the show.
The IMEX professional education programme has also increased in scope and size in order to service the industry’s appetite for professional development while meeting the needs of rising numbers attending the show.
This year’s programme is 25 per cent bigger, with over 200 workshops, seminars and campfires being delivered by 132 speakers and industry experts.
The GCB’s German language Seminartage programme will again offer German language education every day, including morning keynotes by high profile speakers.
The programme is also delivered in the same eight-track format as the show’s English sessions.