“The 2023 edition clearly reflected an industry pride and renewed confidence among exhibitors and, of course, a strong desire to do business with thousands of buyers,” said IMEX Chairman, Ray Bloom at the IMEX Frankfurt closing press conference, which ran May 23-25, 2023 at Messe Frankfurt.
More than 3,500 buyers made 55,000 appointments with the show’s exhibitors, of which 47,000 were individual appointments. The remainder were group and stand presentations.
New this year and free for all exhibitors and buyers was the ability to scan each other’s badges through the IMEX app, delivering instant access to a leads report and resulting in more business opportunities.
Reflecting business confidence on the show floor, Pablo Sismanian, Argentina National Institute of Tourism Promotion, said: “So far, we’ve had 15 events finalized at the show, worth more than $10m – and this is just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve received many enquiries for incentives, and some congresses.”
Claire Smith, vice-president, Sales & Marketing at Vancouver Convention Centre, commented: “The meetings we’ve had have really moved discussions along, including conversations about bringing medical and scientific associations in with between 1,200 and 4,000 attendees. We involve our event partners so buyers can meet the wider team – this helps build trust, which is crucial.”
A new German language Impact Academy, organized by IMEX Brand Ambassador in the German speaking markets, Tanja Knecht, welcomed 60 hosted buyers who share a special interest in using events and event design to achieve both environmental and community engagement goals. Its successful launch augurs well for a repeat in 2024.
Intentional design, brand refresh
Along with renewed business confidence, intentional design was in the spotlight at the show.
Noting the importance of intentional design in both Hall 8 by the exhibitors and Hall 9 by the IMEX team and its industry partners, IMEX Group CEO Carina Bauer, remarked on the show’s visual impact and memorability factor being stronger than ever. “This year’s show demonstrated how much more we all know about designing experiences with sustainability and purpose in mind, ensuring accessibility, inclusivity, higher standards of psychological safety and wellbeing….in fact all our human needs,” she said.
Bauer noted that, although IMEX pioneered elements such as the Be Well Lounge many years ago, this year many more people had used it and appreciated its calming atmosphere. A choice of high-quality, locally sourced, low carbon food, plenty of comfortable and innovative places to rest and work together with low-level lighting in Hall 9 made the whole event experience more enjoyable and ultimately extended its value as a business and learning platform for everyone attending.
Also adding to engagement and positivity at the show was the IMEX brand refresh. Giant letters in the Galleria became the Instagram hit of the week, while attendees responded positively to the IMEX logo’s ‘handshake’ motif and contemporary colour palette.
Looking ahead, a strong relationship with the Google Experience Institute (XI) is set to expand at IMEX America this October. The launch of Google Co-Labs – mini design-thinking sprints – was well received by large numbers of attendees, who also enjoyed fresh, interactive learning concepts delivered by DRPG, Maritz and Encore. The show also marked the launch of the Valuegraphics Belonging Index, which was gifted to planners who attended a session run by company founder, David Allison, and Google’s Megan Henshall.
Looking ahead, Bauer declared that IMEX is on target to publish its Net Zero Strategy later in the summer and has already established a dedicated project team who are working closely with MeetGreen and isla.
“We’ve always known that strong personal relationships and connections are the bedrock of business, especially in a global market based on hospitality and freedom to travel. Since the pandemic, we appreciate other aspects of our humanity too – shared values, a shared purpose, and the power of collective action. This is why the IMEX mission is to bring the global events community together to do business, learn and drive positive change. This week’s show has exemplified positive change. It bodes well for the future,” concluded Bauer.
Next year’s IMEX Frankfurt will take place May 14-16, 2024.