IMEX in Frankfurt opened in Messe Frankfurt`s Hall 8 with the announcement that the leading trade show for the international meetings, events and incentive travel industry has grown again in 2014. New stands, stand increases from existing exhibitors, the biggest education program ever and the scale and diversity of the hosted buyer program are the defining features of this year`s exhibition.
64 new stands join the line-up of 3500 exhibiting companies on the show floor while over a third of previous exhibitors have increased the size of their stands on 2013. Growth from various regions of the world testifies to the meetings and events industry`s growing appetite for the appointment-driven trade show, with an 11% increase in space taken by Asia Pacific exhibitors, 5% increase from Latin America, an 8% increase from the USA and 3% from Europe. Strategic partners, the GCB German Convention Bureau, are hosting over 230 exhibitors on the show`s single largest stand, F100.
Rising numbers, growing sectors
Continuing a trend seen over the past few years, the cruise sector has grown this year with three new stands joining the line-up of cruise companies keen to maximize their share of the meetings, events and incentive travel market. Similarly the continuing growth of technology advisors, suppliers and product innovators is demonstrated in a 20%+ rise in technology exhibitors. Other sectors with a larger number of exhibitors at this year`s show include airlines, car rental companies, catering services, entertainment services, conference venues and hotel resorts specializing in golf, gaming or skiing.
New hosted buyer groups
20 new hosted buyer groups, the majority of which represent long-haul markets, add to the number of hosted buyers expected at the show this week. New services have also been introduced to help buyers make best use of their exhibitor appointments and business meetings at the show. A spacious new lounge for hosted buyers has been constructed to take account of rising numbers. It has double the seating capacity of previous years and features a new concierge desk, information counters, diary and boarding pass printing, mobile phone recharging plus an interactive floor plan and new food outlet. Changes have been introduced to accommodate more buyers in the halls and also to allow the many thousands attending to use their time more efficiently and in more comfort.
Hallmark preshow events swell buying power
Among the hosted buyers taking part in important preshow events, and staying on at the show over the next few days, are over 300 association meeting planners from yesterday`s annual IMEX Association Day. In addition more than 80 senior executives and meetings buyers from the corporate sector also took part in the show`s latest niche education and networking event, Exclusively Corporate @IMEX. The corporate buyers represent 20 industry sectors and 21 countries. Together this powerful group brings a joint annual meetings and events buying power of $180 million to the show.
The IMEX professional education program has also increased in scope and size in order to service the industry`s appetite for professional development while meeting the needs of rising numbers attending the show. This year`s program is 25% bigger, with over 200 workshops, seminars and campfires being delivered by 132 speakers and industry experts. The GCB`s German language Seminartage program will again offer German language education every day, including morning keynotes by high profile speakers. The program is also delivered in the same eight-track format as the show`s English sessions.
Other German education includes a “Future Trends Clinic,” which is run by Veranstaltungsplaner, a leading association of German event planners, plus guided “IMEX Tours,” organized by MICE Club. The tours start by giving small groups of German visitors a short education session based on a theme from the recent GCB “Megatrends Report” and continue with a guided tour of exhibitors and IMEX stands on the same theme.
Leisure travel leaders in cross industry dialogue
The presence of two leaders from the world`s leading leisure travel bodies, Mr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the United Nations Specialized Agency for tourism and Mr. David Scowsill, President & Chief Executive Officer of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), signals further strengthening in the authority of IMEX and its Politicians Forum. Their attendance at the Forum, and at the show today, represents a significant milestone for the IMEX Group, which has consistently pushed for greater and more open dialogue between the leisure and meetings, events and incentive travel sectors since it launched 12 years ago.