HIGHLIGHTS of the IMEX 2008 exhibition held at Messe Frankfurt last month in Frankfurt came from its seminar programme, which included almost 60 different workshops, seminars and forums.
Delivered in English and German, “Storm Clouds or Silver Linings” was a hot seminar topic. Organised jointly by AIPC (International Association of Congress Centres) and ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) it brought together senior international experts from both association and corporate disciplines, who provided a cross- ector, multicultural perspective on the industry’s future.
Participating in an IMEX seminar for the first time was a US association, the PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association). PCMA president and CEO, Deborah Sexton, was joined by Bruce Macmillan, president and CEO of MPI (Meeting Professionals International), Geoff Donaghy, AIPC vice president and group director convention centres AEG Ogden, and Jurraien Sleijster, executive vice president of MCI and board member of ICCA. Rod Cameron, president of Criterion Communications, moderated the discussion.
Environmental education highlights included “Implementing Sustainability”, which presented a case study of the MPI European Meetings and Events Conference 2008 and offered advice on applying the new BS8901 sustainable event standard.
In addition, “Staying Green in a Brown Situation” from IMEX partner, the Green Meeting Industry Council, offered practical tips on delivering a green event, even when plans go wrong.
Other sessions that had a popular appeal came from IMEX cross cultural partner, Richard Lewis Communications, who presented “Vital factors in doing business with Middle Eastern countries”. The German Convention Bureau (GCB) presented 15 German language and one English seminar, including new sessions for German association buyers.
IMEX Research partner, Travel Marketing Factory (TMF), again provided an annual research report on trends in the German speaking outbound market, incorporating for the first time the impact of CSR on the planning of events.
The Professional Development Pavilion, again sponsored by the Convention Industry Council, provided an educational centerpiece throughout the show. The Pavilion hosted 16 different drop-in educational events over three days, including “I’ll never forget whathisname” by writer and author, Tony Carey and “Future trends and challenges” by CEO of Fast Future, Rohit Talwar.
In 2007 IMEX welcomed 3,400 exhibiting companies from a total of 150 countries, and hosted 3,592 buyers from 57 global markets, plus a further 4,800 trade visitors from 97 countries also attended. At the time of going to press,Ray Bloom, chairman of IMEX, predicted a growth across the exhibition – from exhibitors to hosted buyers and trade visitors.
Another highlights this year was the expansion of the corporate programme to include buyers from markets outside the UK. This programme provided an innovative educational session entitled “The Event Brain”, which was led by Eventology and Eventia. It took the form of a traditional and interactive “Oxbridge” debate focusing on the reasons why people bought event services and what process their brain went through in making these decisions.
The IMEX Association Day also highlighted new meeting techniques with the World Café and Wiki Workshops.
The IMEX Politicians Forum saw unprecedented demand this year and welcomed ministers from across the world, including Australia, Canada, Poland, Thailand and the UK.