Close to 9,000 hosted buyers and visitors attended IMEX Frankfurt (15-18 May) for four days of focused business, education, connection and community. Total appointments between buyers and the show’s 3,500 exhibitors rose to 68,500.
Following a year of planned improvements to the appointment system, focused on educating buyers about the value of giving exhibitors mini RFPs (‘appointment profiles’) in advance, 74% of all buyer and exhibitor appointments were based on an appointment profile, an increase of 42%
Ray Bloom, chairman of the IMEX Group, commented: “The strong level of business conducted here this week is evidence of the wholesale resilience and positive outlook of the market in what are challenging times all over the globe.”
From Monday to Thursday there was innovation at every turn. The introduction of EduMonday added event technology, event design certification and business masterclasses to the options available to every single participant. Along with PCMA Business School, Association Day, Exclusively Corporate and ICCA mid-year meetings, a total of 1500 people took part in the newly integrated programme
“Our intention was to create a truly democratic pre-show education event – with something for everyone regardless of whether they speak German or English or come as an exhibitor, hosted buyer or visitor,” added Bloom. “This unilateral approach has gone down really well, with several people saying they plan to send their whole teams to the show a day earlier next year to take advantage of EduMonday. The superb feedback from participants indicates this is a strong formula for the future.”
The many additions and innovations in Hall 9 also made a huge impact; another of IMEX’s efforts to give hosted buyers, visitors and exhibitors a higher quality of service and care, which included a lot more space to relax and recharge. Once again, the feedback was positive with appreciation of the strong visual links between Halls 8 and 9 and the expanded show being on one level generating a much stronger sense of community and a cohesive experience.
The new food court populated by indoor food trucks, the bigger, more open Media Café, the two Be Well Lounge inflatable domes, plus other inflatable meeting rooms and the creation of ‘white space’ areas generated a chilled-out atmosphere. IMEX’s wellness programme also went down well with attendees, many of whom declared it genuinely refreshed them, providing new energy and an appetite for more business.
The new EventTech Academy in Hall 9, the new TechTours on the show floor, the new IMEX App and the experiment of adding Frank, a Chatbot on the website are further evidence of IMEX evolving its technology offerings ‘on-purpose’.
The keynote speeches by professor Greg Clark at both the opening ceremony and politicians forum were totally engaging and inspiring, contributing important ideas about the co-operation opportunities between cities and the meeting industry. Janet Sperstad’s keynote about ‘purposeful meetings’ also provided fascinating first insights into her research prior to the launch of an industry white paper at IMEX America.
Looking toward the future and the industry’s next generation, the IMEX Education team put 20 young professionals through a ‘Rising Professionals Day’ using the Event Design Canvas model to create the conference of the future.
Making new and renewing connections was, as always, an important aspect as IMEX brought the industry together, not only at SITE Nite Europe, Association Evening, CIM-Clubbing and the IMEX Gala Dinner but also at many association meetings co-located at the show this week.