Momentum continues to build for the 10th anniversary edition of IMEX in Frankfurt next May 22 – 24 with planned developments and changes to the IMEX Association Day, the trade show’s hallmark “contact the buyers” system, its education programme and the popular IMEX App. The continued expansion of the hosted buyer programme will also be a key feature of this 10th IMEX show.
More hosted buyers are set to attend from both central European countries, as well as key long-haul markets including the USA, Brazil and Asia. Hyatt Hotels will be bringing their clients to the show for the first time, alongside a host of new US intermediaries – attracted to the Frankfurt show by the success of the inaugural IMEX America in October.
IMEX will also be introducing important new changes to the format and structure of its annual Association Day in Frankfurt, taking place at the Messe Frankfurt Congress Centre. These will allow for greater choice in the education and networking programme and will also take more account of the differing levels of seniority and experience amongst the hosted buyers attending. The hugely popular association evening, taking place at the Westin Hotel, will welcome 900 buyers and suppliers for a great evening of networking before doors to the trade show have opened.
Exhibitor demand high
Exhibitor demand for the 2012 show has also been extremely strong. From Europe all the major central, northern and southern European destinations are confirmed including the German Convention Bureau and its anticipated 200 German exhibiting partners, plus a notable stand size increase from Turkey. Eastern European destinations, including Russia, will continue their strong participation and investment in the sector. From the Middle East and Latin America representation will be as robust as usual with all of the major destinations strongly represented. Exhibitor participation from the United States, Asia and the Caribbean is expected to be larger than ever before at IMEX 2012.
IMEX in Frankfurt’s hallmark hotel sector is also set to grow with space increases already having been confirmed by Fairmont, Raffles, Swissotel and Kempinksi. Over 50 hotel groups exhibit at the exhibition with the majority taking part in the hosted buyer programme, bringing their key clients to the show.
A series of creative marketing campaigns is also planned to encourage German visitors from allied industry sectors to attend as well as more meetings, events and incentive travel planners from the German-speaking countries. Several new initiatives are also planned to enhance the visitor experience including a series of exhibition guides to assist buyers in personalising their experience.
Enhanced online systems
The show’s organisers will also use 2012 to test new ways of giving hosted buyers extra control over the emails and invitations they receive from exhibitors in the run-up to and during the trade show. The proposed new system will allow hosted buyers to have a unique IMEX inbox which will aggregate all exhibitor messages into a single, daily email alert. The system will be fully tested among several buyer groups for the 2012 show, with the aim of rolling it out come 2013.
Other enhancements will be made to the online appointment system to give buyers and visitors increased visibility and online functionality. In addition, the IMEX team will be introducing the IMEX App for Android users at the next IMEX in Frankfurt, as well as making improvements to the App’s interface to enhance speed and usability on the move.
Says Christopher Perrins, IMEX Group Director of Online Services: “We have a continuous improvement approach to all of our online services and we always take user feedback seriously. As with many, many businesses, email volumes have risen dramatically in recent years and our proposed new approach to appointment requests and email alerts will allow exhibitors to communicate with buyers in a way that should ensure more manageability and convenience for both parties.”
New Vision becomes “Visionary IMEX”
In addition, the IMEX New Vision programme is being renamed and restructured as “Visionary IMEX” from 2012, bringing all of the show’s industry-change initiatives into a single, cohesive brand, which will also allow them to be integrated seamlessly into IMEX America.
An important part of “Visionary IMEX” is the biennial IMEX Challenge, the second of which will also take place in 2012. After considering a wide variety of CSR proposals, IMEX judges and staff voted to invite industry volunteers to join them to construct a bee colony in Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2-4 July 2012. In keeping with the IMEX Challenge goals of both helping children and leaving a sustainable legacy for their care, 15 volunteers will join staff and patients of the CUDV Training, Occupation and Care Centre in Draga, Slovenia to construct a bee colony from scratch over three days. Once built, it will provide skills training opportunities and a valuable income for the care centre.
Also under the new “Visionary IMEX” banner will be a new Executive Meeting Forum, which will bring C-level corporate meeting directors to the Frankfurt trade show as well as procurement managers. This will add an influential new dimension to the hosted buyer programme and promises a strong focus on European business issues. It will be facilitated by Terri Breining and Kimberly Meyer, two well-respected and well-known industry experts, who led a similar Forum at IMEX America this year.
Also new in 2012 will be PCMA’s Global Meetings Executive of the Year Award – which will be presented for the first time at the IMEX Gala Dinner on Wednesday 23 May.
New education tracks
There will also be changes to the IMEX in Frankfurt education programme for 2012, which last year gave visitors a choice of more than 90 different sessions. Two new tracks, which will clearly separate meetings from events education, will be introduced to make seminar selection easier. Small, informal ‘campfires’ (lasting no more than 30 minutes) are also being introduced on the Sustainability Centre and the TechTap to give visitors quick introductions to these increasingly important professional development topics. Each campfire will be led by an industry expert and repeated regularly throughout the three-day trade show. Findings from the recently announced ‘Power of 10’ research study, being conducted by Fastfuture Research and sponsored by the German Convention Bureau (GCB), Frankfurt Tourist Office, CPO Hanser and Messe Frankfurt, will also be presented as part of the show’s education programme.
Looking ahead to the 2012 show, IMEX Chairman, Ray Bloom, said: “Over the last 10 years we have managed to build and develop the show in fresh and exciting ways that have delivered new business, new education and important new industry-change initiatives. Next year will inevitably be a time to look back, take stock and celebrate how far we have come. But, it is equally, if not more, important to concentrate on delivering on our key business objectives, listening and responding to new market needs and, of course, taking our usual forthright, proactive stance on the big industry issues.”
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