Now in its eighth year, IMEX 2010, the award-winning international exhibition for the worldwide meetings, events and incentive travel industry will build on the success of last year’s exhibition with an increase in long-haul hosted buyers, more exhibitors and a more diverse professional education programme.
IMEX 2010 has its sights set on continuing its strong growth and business track record, which will be demonstrated by a rise in the number of intermediaries bringing hosted buyers to the Frankfurt show. Over 20 new buyer groups have already been confirmed from the US, Asia Pacific and Middle East delivered by intermediaries including Marriott Hotels, Hilton Hotels, Mandarin Oriental, Rocco Forte and Starcite. Participation from US association buyers is also forecast to be particularly strong this year as a result of new intermediaries in this market. Many have also been attracted by the chance to participate in the IMEX Association Day on May 24th, the day before the show opens.
According to last year’s post-show hosted buyer evaluation, a record $375.5 million dollars worth of contracts are estimated to have been agreed during IMEX 2009, with an approximate $1.7 billion added in the nine months following. In response to these increases in business, and especially the rise in individual and group appointments, many exhibitors were quick to book additional space for 2010. As a result Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Ritz Carlton Hotels, Mövenpick Hotels, the Spanish Tourist Office, Indian Holiday, the Czech Tourism Authority, Luxembourg and Liberty International are all taking bigger stands. New exhibitors so far confirmed include Scandic Hotels, Warwick Hotels and Madrid, who will be taking their own stand for the first time.
Further improvements have been made to the way that IMEX’s 3,500 exhibitors and nearly 9,000 buyers conduct business via IMEX online and especially on the IMEX Virtual Exhibition pages of the website, making it even easier for buyers to locate exhibitors they are interested in making appointments with. Every year the IMEX website attracts over 70,000 visitors in the final three months leading up to the show and generates around 50,000 appointments made online prior to the exhibition.
In addition, a new partnership with i-Meet – the professional and social network for people who plan meetings and events – will enable IMEX hosted buyers to network with each other and share ideas in a private online environment both before and after the exhibition. IMEX will create a “community within the community” at i-Meet, and offer various ways for its attendees to join.
IMEX’s focus on continually increasing its online efficiency and usability is unique among meetings industry trade shows. Its success and commitment to continuous improvement was recognised earlier this year by UFI (the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry) when IMEX was one of four shortlisted for the “Best Innovative Web-based Application for Exhibitors” Award 2009.
IMEX 2010 will continue to balance an unparalleled number of business opportunities with an exceptional education programme delivered in both English and German. Sessions will be organised into different tracks such as ‘environmental’, ‘innovation’ and ‘leadership’ to allow visitors to choose seminars and plan their time more easily. Education will cover both professional and personal development themes this year in recognition that many meetings industry professionals are eager to develop transferable skills and also to maximise high quality free learning opportunities outside the office. IMEX workshops and seminars will focus on unlocking the industry’s future and helping individuals understand how to add personal and professional value whilst working in a constantly changing and dynamic sector.
Launch of Meetings & Conventions 2020
A first for IMEX 2010 will be a new initiative focussing on the future of the industry – Meetings & Conventions 2020. IMEX has partnered with ICCA and Fast Future to deliver a new groundbreaking research study looking at the future of live events, venues and meeting destinations. The study will explore the underlying trends and drivers that could shape the industry over the next decade and will drive a series of seminars and workshops at IMEX 2010.
Says Carina Bauer, IMEX Group CEO: “Launching this new research initiative in 2010 gives us the perfect opportunity to look at least 10 years ahead to 2020 and continue to focus on different aspects of our changing environment. Fast Future CEO Rohit Talwar will use his keynote session at IMEX to present the findings of a report on the ‘Future Meeting Experience’. Delegates at workshops taking place around the exhibition will also be in a unique position to contribute to the third phase of the research to be presented later in the year. We are always pleased to contribute to industry thought-leadership by creating or supporting fresh, relevant initiatives such as these.”
New York Times best-seller workshop
A new seminar based on New York Times Best-selling book, “Influencer”, is also new for 2010. Influencer is a training concept which draws on the skills of hundreds of successful change agents around the world and combines them with five decades of the best social science research. This 1.5 hour session will be delivered by Grahame Robb Associates to give participants a coherent and portable model for changing behavior that can be taken away and applied to any situation. IMEX will also be surveying previous buyers to reveal their biggest workplace challenges so that the workshop’s content can be specifically tailored to the unique requirements of its IMEX participants.
Demand for environmental education at IMEX has also grown significantly over the past five years. For the first time the IMEX Corporate Responsibility Centre will be ‘Powered by GMIC’ (the Green Meetings Industry Council and IMEX’s green partner). Also new will be a series of short, drop-in workshops that will run throughout the day on the stand. They will include case studies from previous award winners and ‘how to go green’ power-sessions with advice about where and how to start, as well as information on more advanced green policies and practices.
Commenting on preparations for IMEX 2010 in Frankfurt, IMEX Chairman Ray Bloom, said: “IMEX’s enduring success is founded on always making sure that exhibitors and buyers can do as much business together as possible. The industry returns to IMEX year after year because we deliver maximum return on investment for their money and time. To achieve this, we must provide the right quality of buyers; the right tools and information; all at the right time and in the right environment. I am delighted to confirm that IMEX 2010 will stick to this winning formula, although each year we raise the bar higher to reflect the pace of change in our industry.”