The fifth IMEX closed having surpassed all previous visitor and hosted buyer numbers.
Record numbers on all three days at Messe Frankfurt saw over 3,500 hosted buyers through the doors of Hall 8, amongst an overall visitor total of 8,000.
As IMEX Chairman, Ray Bloom, explained in his closing ceremony speech, the uplift was a direct result of last year’s strategic decision to expand the show’s long-haul hosted buyer programme, with a particular emphasis on the US market.
“That decision has had a noticeable impact this year with exhibitors testifying to a substantial increase in buyer power. Being long-haul travelers, these buyers tend to stay at the show for longer. That increase in contact time means more time spent in appointments and doing business, plus more time for networking and professional education.”
He went on to explain that IMEX had also increased the number of intermediaries it had worked with globally for 2007, with a strong emphasis on delivering high quality buyers.
“Anecdotal feedback and that of our own records shows that the quality of buyers has been exceptionally high this year. Both first-time and repeat exhibitors have told us that ‘quality’ has been the buzzword for 2007 – they’ve seen it in buyers from virtually every one of the 57 world markets represented here.”
Agreed Maui Jim’s UK sales manager Lisa Stanhope, “As a first time exhibitor at IMEX we have been very impressed by the quality of hosted buyers. We have had many interesting meetings and some hot enquiries. We will definately be be back next year. Maui Jim are putting other corporate gift companies in the shade by offering a bespoke fitting service at corporate meetings, incentive trips, golf events and product launches."
Maui Jim is America’s top polarized sunglass company that currently dominates the incentive and corporate gift market and is moving into the European incentive and meetings industry.
Bloom added that the concentration on delivering more long-haul hosted buyers would continue into 2008 and beyond. He explained that the strategic decision to hold the MPI European Professional Education Conference in London the weekend before IMEX 2008, set for April 22 to 24, would again boost US buyer representation in Frankfurt. “We will be working closely with MPI and the PEC-E organising committee in London to attract a good representation of US planners to London and Frankfurt to take advantage of both events. This is a terrific opportunity, demonstrating the power of putting two landmark events side by side.”
Turning to other world markets, Bloom spoke of the success of the first ever IMEX UK Corporate Buyer Programme, organised in association with Eventia. “As I speak, there are more than 40 high level UK buyers from this dedicated group in the hall. All have been hand-picked and brought over to experience IMEX for the first-time – and reaction has been very positive. As you all know, the UK is an extremely powerful and influential market so we intend to put every effort into developing this programme further in the coming year.”
Addressing the growing reputation and increasing ‘pulling power’ of the IMEX New Vision programme, Bloom announced a new development in IMEX’s commitment to furthering the cause of environmental responsibility. A new ‘Green Supplier Award’, in association with the Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC) will recognise and reward environmental excellence and innovation within the international meetings industry.
Speaking about one of the flagship elements in the New Vision programme, the Future Leaders Forum, Bloom was delighted to report that the concept now reaches across six countries and has seen more than 1200 students participate since it started in 2003. “Just one glance at the speaker platform tells you how seriously our meetings industry takes the need to attract and encourage the brightest young talent. There is strong demand for the Future Leaders Forum from several new corners and this is an initiative which we plan to expand globally in the coming 12 – 24 months.”
By Clark Kelly
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