The 12th IMEX in Frankfurt, Germany, the efficient, one-stop-shop for planners looking to book and organize worldwide meetings, events and incentive travel programs, closed at Messe Frankfurt. IMEX Group Chairman Ray Bloom described it as “a more positive and buoyant business mood than we’ve seen for some time.”
According to Bloom, IMEX 2014 had been the largest edition of the meetings, incentive travel and events industry tradeshow in its 12-year history. Positive feedback was heard of alterations made to the show’s unique online appointment system, expanded education program, specialized pre-show events and the show’s app leading to more conducted business.
Totaling about 9,000 visitors at IMEX this year, just under half were hosted buyers from 77 countries. About one third of these visitors came from long haul markets such as Brazil, Russia, China, India and Mexico together with North America and the Middle East. Attending IMEX for three full days, long haul buyers also take part in FAM trips organized by exhibitors either before or after the show.
Exclusively Corporate @IMEX, IMEX’s preshow corporate buyer event, added to the show’s hosted buyer program.
“80 corporate buyers and senior corporate executives from 21 countries attended this year and they brought a combined annual meetings and events spend of $180 million to the show,” said Bloom. “We know they feel more isolated than any other buying group in the industry, so the fact that we bring them all together for this one day of private networking and education is much appreciated.”
Of the 65,000 appointments that were held over the past three days between buyers and exhibitors, 53,000 represented one-to-one appointments and “stand presentations.” In addition to individual and pre-booked group appointments, stand presentations provide an important third appointment class allowing individual buyers to join a small group on an exhibitor’s stand for an inquiring presentation.
“The new stand presentations have gone down extremely well on both sides and it’s noticeable that all types of exhibitors, no matter how mature their markets, have made good use of them,” said Bloom. “They allow buyers to find out more about a destination or supplier without the formality of a one-to-one appointment.”
New hosted buyer profiles give buyers the power to create five event descriptions, which they can send to exhibitors prior to an appointment had also been very well received. Nineteen percent of all buyers used the new profile tool. Bloom described this innovation, together with the new stand presentations, as a “driver for more business in the future.”
Compared to last year, 64 new stands were added the show in 2014 and 30 percent of returning exhibitors had increased the size of their stands.
The experience for industry professionals at this year’s show was impacted greatly by the new IMEX App in a positive way. Developed in partnership with Quickmobile, the new enterprise app’s number of downloads were raised slightly more than last year although usage had leapt by 600 percent.
“What we have here is effectively seven apps in one,” said Bloom.
Bloom’s satisfaction at the end of the show was positively influenced by the continuing growth and authority of the IMEX Politicians Forum, which was attended for the first time by Taleb Rifai, secretary general, World Tourism Organization; David Scowsill, president and chief executive officer, World Travel & Tourism Council; and the United Nations Specialized Agency for Tourism.
“After many months of dialogue with the UNWTO, the WTTC and JMIC, the meeting between these organizations secured agreement to collaborate on three areas of common interest in the future,” said Bloom. “News of this meeting will be released in the coming weeks.”