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IMEX in Frankfurt Finishes With 33% Increase in Business Appointments

The 2013 edition of IMEX came to a close with IMEX Group Chairman, Ray Bloom, announcing several important new business achievements for the Frankfurt edition of the trade show.

He announced that over 3900 hosted buyers from 75 countries had attended the show (amongst an overall visitor total of nearly 9000); 27% of them from long-haul markets, which is up from 25% in 2012. Day one had seen 3000 hosted buyers in the halls doing business with exhibitors – another increase on last year - with almost 3400 on day two. This is due to growing numbers of hosted buyers staying on at the show for between two and three days as part of the hosted buyer programme.

Bloom also revealed that statistics show that visitors are now coming into the show for two consecutive days as well, with at least half of those who came for the first day, also attending day two of IMEX. “This is an important new business trend and one we’re pleased to see.”

Appointments up 33%

Speaking at the show’s closing press briefing, Bloom explained that changes to the design of the hosted buyer diaries, and the introduction of the single IMEX inbox for hosted buyers, had resulted in a new record of over 53,000 individual appointments between buyers and exhibitors – an increase of 33% on 2012. In all nearly 65,000 appointments took place, which included individual and group appointments and also stand presentations.

Bloom mentioned that Mark Spivey, Director of International Sales at Maritim Hotels, had told him: “Our experience at IMEX this year got off to a great start - within five minutes of attending a networking event on the first day we’d landed a major piece of business! We secured 1500 delegates in Berlin - a great start to a great show!” Equally Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo of the South Africa National Convention Bureau had said: “We've been rushed off our feet - 60 scheduled appointments took place yesterday alone! The pre-booking method is really useful - it enables us to plan our time at the show efficiently.”

Political breakthrough

Bloom also remarked on the success of Tuesday’s Politicians Forum which saw three tourism minsters attend for the first time (Mexico, South Africa and Egypt). He explained that such a high level of political interest in the Forum was a significant breakthrough and signalled a shift in the impact being made due to the industry’s ongoing advocacy efforts having strong momentum. He stated that 27 politicians have now signed the new Declaration of Support for the meetings industry and that IMEX would be pushing to reach 100 signatories by the end of 2012.

Once again the IMEX Association Day – on Monday – had brought over 300 association executives into Frankfurt for a full day of tracked education and networking. Feedback showed that the programme this year was extremely well received.

70% of corporate buyers new to IMEX

Bloom also referred to positive reaction from delegates who attended the new Exclusively Corporate @IMEX day on Monday. Of the 70-plus corporate meetings buyers and corporate executives attending the event at the Villa Kennedy, he said 70% had never been to IMEX before. “This means we are bringing brand new buyers into the show who stay for one if not two days. We’ve already had several emails saying how much they valued the education and how much they appreciated the chance to share knowledge and ideas with industry peers from other countries and industry sectors.” He explained that the event, which is modelled on Association Day, would now be developed and expanded for 2014.

Bloom also remarked on comments received about the show’s education programme this year which was possibly the best yet. “The scope, the quality and the sheer variety of the subjects covered, plus the formats such as the campfires, both suit the show and suit the way everyone now wants to learn.”

This year’s daily German keynotes, the German Compliance Clinic and the themed German education days had gone down very well with the German market, said Bloom, and he also thanked the German Convention Bureau once again for their continued support and input. He congratulated them on having the highest number yet of German members on their new stand – 216. Its sustainable construction had also won the GCB this year’s IMEX/GMIC Green Exhibitor Award.

Innovation success

Other innovations for IMEX 2013 which had been well received by busy buyers, visitors and exhibitors were the Networking Hub and IMEXLive. “IMEXLive worked well, with video interviews, a webcam and all the show’s Twitter feeds and online photo galleries available in one place via our home page. It’s another fresh idea that’s added value to the show and we look forward to developing it further.” He also explained there had been 2000 downloads of the IMEX App this year.

Bloom briefly gave a progress report on preparations for IMEX America, which takes place October 15-17 in Las Vegas. “We move into renovated halls at the Sands Expo this year and these are both larger and offer state of the art facilities, with new amenities which will benefit everyone. Numbers are also looking very good with increases expected in all areas of the show.”

Summing up Bloom said he was extremely pleased with the way the 2013 show had gone. “From business appointment numbers, to hosted buyer growth and visitor numbers, this has been another strong year. Above all, we now have good technologies in place which support business growth for exhibitors and buyers and we look forward to building on this again in 2014.”