Tourism Industry News
Record attendance for IMEX 2009
Germany (WorldTourismNews) - IMEX 2009 closed today on a high note as Ray Bloom, IMEX Chairman, declared the show a remarkable demonstration of the determination and desire of the international meetings industry to overcome the challenge of the global economic downturn and shape a positive and reassuringly profitable future.
Well over 3,700 hosted buyers combined with more than 5,100 unique visitors attended the Messe Frankfurt show making a total of nearly 9,000 over the three days. Records were also broken by the number of countries represented - 157 – by the 3500 companies who exhibited at IMEX this year.
Feedback from exhibitors reinforced this confident mood. Neal Jones, Vice President Global Sales, Europe, Marriott Hotels International Ltd, said, “We look closely at our figures when planning marketing pushes such as IMEX and the value for money and return on investment guaranteed here is far greater than at any other exhibition. It’s a unique show offering pre-qualified visitors that really want to do business. This year seems to be busier than ever and there’s a great buzz around the place. The value of business that Marriott has achieved is now well into the millions so we are feeling very buoyant.”
Bloom also stated that the number of hosted buyers from long haul destinations had increased, notably from the US, Brazil, Russia, China and India. The result was an increased number of individual and group appointments and a significant rise in the amount of business being conducted between suppliers and buyers each day. “Our feedback this year in particular is that buyers have arrived more prepared than ever to do business, with specific dates, events, numbers and budgets to fulfil. This has greatly increased their return on time invested and has been noticeable in dialogue with exhibitors before the show as well as on the show floor over the past three days,” he added.
Driving industry change
Bloom also picked out the launch of Meetings for Success as another highpoint. “This new initiative (organised in collaboration with JMIC – Joint Meetings Industry Council) is designed to highlight the profit-boosting and morale enhancing benefits of meetings and incentives to corporate decision-makers, particularly at board room level. Together with the momentum already created through our Politicians’ Forum, Meetings for Success amplifies the impact and influence that IMEX and its partners can exert on stakeholders. It also complements other global initiatives, such as Keep America Meeting and Meetings Mean Business. Again, it shows that the meetings industry has great reserves of creativity and focus which strengthen it, and, importantly, these are quickly mobilised when circumstances demand a united response. We will be developing all of these initiatives, together with our new educational offering, Meetings Under the Microscope, over the coming months. Expect to see IMEX offering more online forums, webinars and other education and communication-centred concepts later this year and into 2010.”
Online investment pays off
Refinements to IMEX’s online diary and appointments system also paid off this year with over 50,000 appointments made over the three days. “There is no doubt that our investment in the IMEX online experience for buyers, visitors and exhibitors has made it quicker and easier for all groups to meet and do business together, and to plan their time far better in advance. The defining element of this year’s IMEX has been the degree to which individuals and companies have clearly come to Frankfurt determined to extract every last inch from the opportunities we have set out, be they educational, inspirational or, of course, business and networking related. Because this activity is online we can track it and manage it so much better and that degree of transparency and communication with all audiences has proved vital in shaping the show into what is has become this year,” Bloom told his closing press conference audience.
He continued, “A new sense of purpose applies to exhibitors too. Hundreds of people viewed our exhibitor training video in the weeks leading up to the show. As a result, many have been able to accelerate appointment numbers and consolidate buyer relationships in advance. We know this because we’ve received countless examples of positive feedback, with one exhibitor seeing a six-fold increase in appointment numbers simply by applying all the training we provided.”
New IMEX Challenge
Announcing new initiatives for 2010, Bloom gave details of a new “IMEX Challenge”. This new bi-annual corporate social responsibility event has been inspired by the efforts of Jon Bradshaw, IMEX Sales Manager, who cycled 3000 miles across Europe in 2008, raising over £20,000 for stroke charities. Bloom explained, “The IMEX Challenge continues our commitment to corporate social responsibility and will be a chance for all corners of the industry to come together to achieve something remarkable. Places will be limited and the first Challenge will take place in Poland in Autumn 2010. More details will be announced later this year.”
Dedication to business
Looking to next year’s IMEX, Bloom reminded his audience of the show’s excellent track record in delivering high quality buyers from all the important markets and assured them that this “backbone” would be reinforced even further over the coming months. “We are aware that quality must always be combined with quantity to satisfy our exhibitors and we will not lose sight of this. We plan to increase the number of alliances with partners, and in particular global associations who can bring active and valuable buyers to Frankfurt. We will also continue to push back boundaries and challenge the industry where we think more progress can be made, whether that’s in new ways to do business or fresh educational thinking. By continuing to invest energy, focus, passion and resources we will ensure that IMEX remains dynamic and exciting and that it evolves in response to market needs every year. Ultimately we all know that success is measured by the volume and quality of business that IMEX generates for buyers and exhibitors, and that is why they keep returning. Business is our mantra – and that will never change – regardless of a world that’s rapidly changing around us.“
Source: Imex Frankfurt