Strong demand from intermediaries, especially in the US and Middle East, to bring hosted buyers to IMEX 2009, is the clearest endorsement yet of the success of IMEX’s long-term strategy to concentrate on global development as a means of fulfilling the expanding business needs of the international meetings industry.
According to IMEX chairman Ray Bloom, this focus on worldwide growth of the hosted-buyer program, using an extensive network of respected intermediaries including the top hotel groups and trade associations, has given IMEX a strong, sustainable foundation for further growth over the next 12 months. “We have spent more than six years forging strong relationships with intermediaries and hosted-buyer groups in a broad range of international markets. As a result, we have a detailed understanding of each destination’s and each sector’s unique business ambitions. We also appreciate the increasing pressures that buyers are under to maximize the time they spend at any trade show. By concentrating on controlled global expansion, we have made the world a smaller and more accessible place for the 3,600 corporate, association, and agency buyers who come to Frankfurt each year, in addition to the suppliers they do business with.”
Testament to the success of this plan is an early increase in exhibition space from Croatia (15 percenet), the Czech Tourist Authority (17 percent), Accor Hotels (30 percent), and Prestige Hotels of the World (38 percent). Brand new exhibitors so far include ITC Welcom Group, India; Top Atlantico DMC; and Tiara Hotels, both from Portugal. Early indications suggest a larger number of hotel groups than ever before will attend IMEX as part of a more aggressive marketing push for 2009.
The IMEX team reports a business outlook that is both strong and positive, with several markets especially upbeat including the Middle East, Asia, Russia, China, India, and the newer European states. Feedback from Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar in particular is optimistic, with buyers expressing satisfaction that one visit to IMEX enables them to efficiently meet a wide range of suppliers from favored markets including Australia, Singapore, Asia, and India. IMEX organizers are focusing on delivering more hosted buyers in 2009, as well as putting the emphasis on extending the length of time that buyers spend on the exhibition floor meeting suppliers. A new combination of familiarization trips and two- to four-night stays for long-haul buyers will extend this business transaction time by up to 25 percent. In addition, more German buyers are expected to attend as a result of increased marketing activity to this strong and resilient sector.
Speaking about the broader market outlook, Roger Tondeur, president of MCI who partners with IMEX and ICCA to organize the annual Association Day, said, “The traditional mass-consumption marketplaces that are the USA/Canada and Western Europe, will face slow, intrinsic growth in the coming year. However, the prospects of economic development in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) will pull the global economy forward. Therefore, we believe that transnational organizations like ours and global exhibitions like IMEX will maintain a solid pace of growth.”
IMEX 2009 will take place on May 26-28. For further information see www.imex-frankfurt.com .