“A market showing solid growth and inspiring innovation; those will be the outstanding impressions that buyers will take away from IMEX in Frankfurt this year,” observes Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group with the show, taking place on 15-17 May, in just a few weeks.
“While the political climate has been unsteady, the meetings and incentive travel industry has been resilient and has progressed steadily worldwide. The continuing growth of the show is clear evidence of that,” Carina Bauer adds.
This year’s show will be the largest ever IMEX, both in the space taken by exhibitors and in total floor area. Notable among the areas within the show that have grown are Latin America which has increased by 8 per cent and Africa, up by 7 per cent. The hotels area has expanded by almost 11 per cent while the technology section has more exhibitors than ever, including a new Tech Cafe offering product demos and presentations.
Among the new exhibitors this year are the Russian Convention Bureau, the Uganda Ministry of Tourism, Caribbean Tours, the Lebanon Ministry of Tourism, Luxe Worldwide Hotels and Standard Hotels. Technology companies exhibiting for the first time include Bravura Technologies, Event Tech Tribe and Etud Bilsim as well as many more in the Technology Pavilion.
Exhibitors that have invested in larger stand spaces include Brand USA, the Mexico Tourism Board, the Polish Tourist Organisation, Ungerboeck Systems, Visit Britain, PRO COLOMBIA, NYC & Company, Accor Hotels and the German Convention Bureau.
Hall 9 for innovation, learning and live experience
Many of the exciting learning innovations at the show this year will be centred in Hall 9, separate from the trade show floor. There, a Learning Zone has been created with the Inspiration Hub, the home of the show’s 250 plus education sessions, along with a Live Zone bringing together a variety of experiential ideas and products for all to try.
Most spectacular is the SkyLab, the chance to experience how it feels to have a meeting in mid air, in seats suspended from the ceiling. This is one of the Learning Labs which have been brought to the show by C2 International, the ground-breaking leader in innovative business conferences, as a result of a new partnership with the IMEX Group, a joint effort to drive innovation and creativity throughout the meetings and events sector.
EduMonday – a day dedicated to free professional education
14 May will be EduMonday. Launched last year, this innovative learning day now offers even more events for specific interest groups. This year they include an Agency Directors Forum, a facilitated forum by invitation only for the directors of agencies; Rising Talent, an afternoon of actionable learning and career development for meeting professionals under-35; She Means Business, created in partnership with tw tagungswirtschaft, which celebrates and debates the role of women in the meetings industry, as well as new programmes for Exclusively Corporate and Association Day. Among the new elements of the education schedule are sessions covering different aspects of 'Legacy', the IMEX 2018 Talking Point.
With the global meetings industry gathering together at IMEX, networking with colleagues and making new contacts is a well-established element of the show. While social events such as Site Nite Europe, cim-clubbing – powered by MPI Foundation Rendezvous - and the IMEX Gala Dinner provide a wide variety of different opportunities, the Zenvoy service also enables like-minded buyers to connect and arrange in advance to meet at the show. A new additional feature of this popular service is the Zenvoy Connections Lounge on the show floor – the ideal place for those who connect online to meet face to face.
“I’m excited about what IMEX 2018 has to offer for the industry. Buyers have the opportunity to do business with the largest ever range of exhibitors from across the world and from all sectors of the industry; to experience the most exciting and creative innovations ever showcased at IMEX; as well as benefit from more sector specific education and social events to suit everyone’s specific needs. There has never been a better year to see and experience what the industry has to offer and no better place to discover it than at IMEX in Frankfurt this year,” concludes Carina Bauer.