Published On: Fri, Apr 22nd, 2016

Focus on innovation and investment boosts business at IMEX

Focus on innovation and investment boosts business at IMEX
Altogether close to 9,000 hosted buyers and visitors attended the event this year and the number of individual appointments and stand presentations increased by 9 per cent to 57,000.  In addition, 1200 group appointments were made leading to an additional 10,000 interactions. Over 53 per cent of appointments had profiles attached.

Ray Bloom, Chairman of the IMEX Group, commented: “Our own approach to IMEX in Frankfurt this year has been based on investment and innovation.

“We have invested substantially in bringing more senior hosted buyers into the show for longer periods of time while giving them flexibility to make the most of the opportunities to meet their own needs. At the same time throughout the show, from education to hosted buyer services, there have been many important innovations as we continually strive to help exhibitors, buyers and visitors achieve their objectives.”
The investment in offering European hosted buyers the option of an extra day at the show with a two night programme was well received. It brought many buyers on to the show floor for longer as well as giving them the chance to take in more education and networking activities. Together with the additional hosted buyers, these innovations helped to increase the business opportunities in the hall.

Monday was a busy day of education and meetings. The first PCMA Business School in Europe added a new high level strand to the education programme. After Exclusively Corporate@IMEX nearly 90 corporate buyers, with a combined annual meetings and events budgets in the region of $200 million, visited the show floor on Tuesday along with more than 300 association executives who had taken part in Association Day & Evening.

Ray Bloom added: “With several partner organisations holding meetings here as well, around 1200 people took part in events on Monday at IMEX in Frankfurt. It has become another very busy day even before the show opens.”

40 politicians and political advisers were at IMEX on Tuesday for the Politicians Forum at which Hon Minister Stuart Ayres, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events for New South Wales, Australia delivered the keynote address. A group of ISES (International Special Events Society) members also came to the show from all across the world before going to Scotland for their Global Event Summit.

There were several significant innovations in the continually evolving IMEX education programme. TED-style talks on Trends and Future-Think were brought to the show by the Swedish Network of Convention Bureaus, and Play With A Purpose brought its Play Room to IMEX in Frankfurt for the first time. A special early morning Sharing Economy discussion was part of a series on this theme. All these new sessions proved highly engaging.

Business is Personal, also a new theme for the show, met buyers’ personal needs, developing confidence, health and wellbeing. It featured educations sessions, the new Be Well Lounge sessions (by InnerSense and supported by Weichlein Tours + Incentives and Munich Convention Bureau) and the IMEXrun, inspired by Rio de Janeiro which attracted 800 registered participants.

Networking is part of the essence of IMEX. To ensure that buyers have more opportunities to meet their peers through the show – rather than leave it to luck – the IMEX Group has been trialling the use of a networking matching system – This uses demographic data to suggest matches between like-minded peers before the show.

After successful trials with association delegates in America and also with Association Day and Exclusively Corporate delegates in Frankfurt, IMEX plans to roll this out to all hosted buyers at IMEX America 2016.

Reflecting on the show, Ray Bloom said: “It is interesting to see that many stands have adjusted their marketing positioning. They are making more of their associated centres of expertise as these are an asset to event organisers and a way to drive inward investment and growth in the local economy. It’s a trend that was central to the discussions at the Politicians Forum.

“There is also a strong flow of innovation and investment clearly evident in the creativity and new technology on the show floor. The many impressive new designs among the 50 new stand structures and, for instance, virtual reality devices indicate their confidence in their investment in the industry and in the show.”

Keen discussions at IMEX Politicians Forum on how destinations are preparing for the future
How destinations are preparing for future challenges and how they can be more competitive created highly engaging debates during the 14th annual IMEX Politicians Forum on Tuesday 19 April.

More than 40 politicians and policy makers from all over the world, including national and regional government ministers, and political influencers, gathered together at the Hotel Villa Kennedy Frankfurt with 80 industry leaders at this unique annual event. The politicians who came from all over the world, from Australia to Moldova, represented ministries of economic development and education as well as tourism and culture.

Focus on innovation and investment boosts business at IMEX
Hon Minister Stuart Ayres, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events for New South Wales, Australia.

The full day programme gave them broad insight into the benefits that the meetings industry can produce as well as the opportunity to exchange knowledge and best practice. Before the comprehensive Politicians Forum, they were given an exclusive VIP guided tour of the IMEX trade show and visited their own national or regional stands. They also attended the show’s Opening Ceremony.

The afternoon sessions at the Villa Kennedy Hotel started with discussions at national and local level, on Building and sustaining a successful meetings industry – the political dimension which showcased well-developed and implemented techniques to help destinations to improve their competitiveness. The Hon Minister Ragnheidur Elin Arnadottir, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Iceland chaired the national level meeting while John Greenway, former Member of Parliament in the UK led the regional discussions.

Hon Minister Stuart Ayres, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events for New South Wales, Australia delivered the keynote address. In a speech entitled: ‘How Meetings and Events Can Fulfil Political Ambition’, he highlighted the importance of co-ordinating business events and meetings industry strategy with trade, investment and export policies.

All delegates then came together for the main Forum, a Global Exchange of Future Practice, moderated by Michael Hirst OBE, in which all the politicians, government officials and industry leaders shared their thoughts and ideas on how destinations are preparing for challenges ahead.

One of the many leading politicians who took part in the Forum, Ivan Liptuga, Division Head, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Ukraine, said: “I liked the keynote speech a lot, and I am taking away valuable lessons.

“Countries like mine which face many challenges, such as issues around labour legislation, developing high standards and training need the opportunity to discuss these issues with colleagues who share them.”

Mamoru Kobori, Executive Vice President of the Japan National Tourism Organisation, reflecting on the Politicians Forum, commented: “Events like this are very important and valuable for us to hear each other’s experiences and learn from them. I’ve learned a lot this afternoon, particularly about the advancement of technology and the need to keep investing in and developing it.”

Ray Bloom said: “The group of senior national and regional political leaders and government officials from across the world who took part in the IMEX Politicians Forum here today reflects the outstanding reputation that this event has acquired over the last 14 years.

“It has played a powerful role in advancing understanding of the meetings industry among political leaders, enabling them to appreciate that investment in conferences and meetings can bring major economic development benefits, from income and employment to inward investment, education and scientific advancement as part of the knowledge economy.”

“By shedding light on the likely future opportunities and issues facing the sector over the next 15 years, the high-level debate at today’s Forum may well have influenced policies and strategies across the globe positively.”

Photo caption: Ray Bloom, Chairman of the IMEX Group.