Specific concerns addressed

THE buying power, size and resilience of the global association meeting market was demonstrated when almost 300 association meeting planners gathered for the eighth Imex Association Day at the Messe Frankfurt Congress Centre.

The day focused exclusively on professional education and round-table debates with each session tailored specifically to address the professional concerns of association executives. Association buyers regularly account for approximately 12 per cent of Imex’s hosted buyers each year.

This year’s programme concentrated on the issues of strategic planning, long-term future trends and how best to manage online content.

The ‘strategic global planning’ sessions were moderated by Greta Kotler, chief knowledge and strategy officer at ASAE (American Society of Association Executives) with contributions from speakers Chip Deale, head of global society relations at the CFA Institute (Global Association of Investment Professionals), Helga Severyns, senior director of the UITP (International Association of Public Transport) and Luc Hendricx, director of IDF (Congresses and Governance for the International Diabetes Federation). These sessions examined how best to expand influence and drive up membership numbers while increasing loyalty.

In a second session, CEO of ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association), Martin Sirk, examined the different factors at play when deciding where to hold an international congress, using ICCA’s recently updated framework as a discussion document. A discussion about the value and purpose of online content also proved popular with delegates. Pol Van De Perre, association director of MCI Brussels outlined the importance of providing valuable online content for event delegates as well as how to leverage such content for revenue generation.

The Day’s educational programme ended with the ever popular round-table sessions, organised by MCI, which give delegates the opportunity to discuss issues of their choice with their peers. Association Day delegates then joined more than 500 Imex exhibitors for a networking event.