The 10th anniversary edition of IMEX in Frankfurt, the award-winning trade show for the worldwide meetings, incentive travel, and events industry, closed on a strong note today, with IMEX Group Chairman, Ray Bloom, announcing a 21 percent rise in the number of individual buyer appointments with exhibitors during the show. In total, over 64,000 appointments took place between buyers and exhibitors over the 3-day trade show, 40,000 of which were made by individual buyers, the remainder being group appointments.
Bloom also confirmed that just under 4,000 hosted buyers attended the show from an overall total of nearly 9,000 visitors from around the world. The high quality of buyers was also widely remarked upon.
He explained that appointment numbers are a key business indictor as they represent planned, face to face meetings between buyers and suppliers on their stands. He mentioned two particular testimonials from exhibitors that reflected this year’s results. Jennifer Salsbury, Senior Director, International for the China National Convention Center, said: “The number of booked appointments has exceeded previous years, which is incredibly encouraging. IMEX is an essential part of our activity in this market,” and Amy Riley of the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority commented: “The show’s been very busy. Appointments have increased from 180 last year to 250 this year, which is huge. We’re meeting a great variety of planners.”
The 10th IMEX also succeeded in delivering its most ambitious education program to date, with nearly 140 separate seminars, workshops, and short-session campfires taking place. The informal campfires were first introduced last year to allow intimate discussions with subject experts to take place on the show floor. Sessions on social media, innovative event design, and sustainable meetings and events were attended in especially high numbers this year, with many of the German Convention Bureau’s German language seminars also being presented to packed crowds.
Bloom explained: “Without doubt, the scope and quality of our education program now marks IMEX out. It allows all of our participants to prove even stronger ROI so we will continue to review and develop the show’s education to ensure that it keeps delivering good content in the new and exciting formats that the industry demands.”
Planning what and when to attend was also made easier this year thanks to functional developments made to the IMEX App, such as interactive, two-way diaries. The presence of the new @imexsocialteam was also extremely well received by exhibitors who appreciated the practical social media advice on marketing and community building. The launch of IMEX TV – in Frankfurt for the first time – made news available faster and to a bigger audience than in previous years.
Bloom also remarked on the widely-acknowledged success of the 2012 Politicians Forum, which he stated had been the best to date and had effectively “raised the bar for our future forums.”
He explained: “The presence of Gloria Guevara Manzo, Minister of Tourism for Mexico (and member of President Calderon’s Cabinet), in particular said it all. Here was a politician who has committed both passionately and knowledgably to using the meetings and events potential of her country as a catalyst for future growth. The fact that she flew into Frankfurt just to attend the forum demonstrates the value of IMEX as a global industry showcase and, more particularly, of the Politicians Forum as a platform for powerful statements of intent and of change.”
He also explained that the reworked Association Day program received very good feedback and that IMEX would refine the new format further in 2013. This year’s Association Evening reception was attended by over 900 people and continues to be a flagship event for the show, he said.
New for 2013, Bloom announced a dedicated education program just for corporate buyers next year. “The model will be similar to Association Day, although smaller in scope, and will enable us to bring in more high-quality corporate buyers from leading markets around the world.”
On a lighter note, he commented: “It was a great pleasure to see the show floor come alive even more during our special Celebration Hour this year – and to see so many exhibitors entering the party spirit with great hospitality and entertainment.”
Moving on to talk about the next IMEX America in Las Vegas in October, he confirmed that: “Increases are planned across all parts of the show, and we will announce full details on these in the summer. The opening of 14 new gates at the city’s international airport later this year is also good news for us.”
In summing up, Bloom looked back briefly over the last 10 years and paid tribute to the support of the German meetings industry, including partners from the very beginning: The Frankfurt Tourist Office, Lufthansa, Deutsche Bahn, Messe Frankfurt, CPO-Hanser, the Frankfurt hotels, plus strategic partners, the German Convention Bureau. He also paid tribute to the support of the entire industry – not least the industry trade associations, IMEX’s network of intermediaries and the press.
“All have played their part in helping us to grow and develop IMEX since our launch in 2003. We know that we and our clients can rely on them for their exceptional levels of service, efficiency, creativity, and partnership. We value them and look forward to continuing that relationship over the next 10 years here in Frankfurt,” said Bloom.