Rich and varied IMEX continues to drive business – New networking and education events add to business power

The launch of a new pre-show education and networking event for corporate buyers, the introduction of a new hosted buyer email service and a new German language seminar programme are just three of the features making up a strong IMEX in Frankfurt 2013.

11 new long-haul hosted buyer groups have been confirmed since the start of the year including groups from India, North America, Korea, China, South Africa and Russia, with many more expected in the next two months. Interest levels from hosted buyer groups and individuals suggest that the show is on target to meet or surpass last year’s figure of just under 4000 hosted buyers from 71 global markets.

New and expanded exhibitors
Exhibitor demand has also been strong with Orient Express, Memphis, Titanic Resorts & Hotels and Kerzner International among the new exhibitors at Messe Frankfurt this May. Those who have already booked larger stands for the 2013 show include Abu Dhabi, Amiando, Bahrain, Estonian Convention Bureau, Moevenpick Hotels, Puerto Rico Convention Bureau and Warwick Hotels. Visit England will also be taking more space, as will Qatar. As a meetings destination, Belgium also approaches the show in a new way with Meet in Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia Tourism all exhibiting separately for the first time at IMEX. As usual, IMEX’s founding partners, the German Convention Bureau are expected to have in excess of 200 exhibitors on their stand.

Business, education and networking at IMEX is underpinned by the show’s various, highly sophisticated website portals. To help in the management of pre-show communications and appointments between exhibitors and buyers, a new single daily email alert was tested at IMEX America and will now be rolled out for IMEX in Frankfurt. The new process combines all exhibitor messages to a named hosted buyer into a single daily IMEX email, greatly reducing the email volumes associated with pre-show business and marketing.

New online and email developments
Redesigns to both exhibitor and intermediary portals also mean that pre-show marketing and task lists have been streamlined and simplified, with many of the changes made as a result of recommendations from IMEX participants. The online exhibitor directory which is effectively the ‘shopfront’ for every organisation exhibiting has also been updated. New social media, photo and video links now allow exhibitors to provide richer, more dynamic content to showcase their stands and specific industry offerings.

As IMEX Group Chairman, Ray Bloom, explains: “Exhibitors and buyers expect the end-to-end business process and their ‘IMEX experience’ before, during and after the show to be fast, clear and intuitive. It’s therefore contingent on us to consistently review how we achieve that, and to develop new tools and approaches that support everyone’s business goals. That said, the main purpose of IMEX remains true every year – to generate new business opportunities, to educate and inspire the thousands of industry professionals who attend, and to provide a wide variety of high quality networking events that support their professional development.”

Launch of new ‘Exclusively Corporate @IMEX’
Historically IMEX in Frankfurt hosted buyers represent three industry groups, with association buyers generally accounting for around 10% of the 4000 who attend, agencies 70% and corporate clients 20%. This year organisers, Regent Exhibitions, conducted a number of focus groups and further research into the changing needs of the corporate sector. The result is the launch of a brand new event – Exclusively Corporate @IMEX – with content aimed at two different corporate groups, senior executives and, separately, corporate meeting planners. The new event is based on the highly successful IMEX Association Day model, which has become an acknowledged hallmark of the show. Exclusively @IMEX will be held at the Villa Kennedy and will start on the Sunday evening prior to the show with a networking dinner, followed by a full day of education tracks and networking on the Monday.

New networking events
IMEX has also responded to demand for more networking opportunities by establishing a new ‘Networking Hub’ on the show floor, which will be powered by Meetings Mindset®. Based on the Meetings Mindset principles of ‘prepare, perform, produce’, the Hub will be home to facilitated networking sessions plus health, well-being and business performance information and advice from a number of experts.

Politicians Forum – New Declaration of Support
A strong call to action will be part of this year’s IMEX Politicians Forum which takes place once again at the Villa Kennedy. All the politicians attending will be called upon to sign an official declaration of support which will provide the focal point for extended promotion and lobbying activity later in the year.

Summing up the coming Frankfurt show this May, Ray Bloom explained: “I am delighted with the growth in new exhibitors for 2013 and also the continued interest and rise in participation from the all-important hotel groups, both as exhibitors and as leaders of hosted buyer groups, especially from new and developing markets. Against a background of continued economic challenges in many parts of the world there remains a healthy appetite for new business, and we are looking forward to providing a strong platform that will facilitate that.”

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