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Show PreviewISSUE 67 / ConfErEnCE & MEEtIngS World / 67association meeting planners. Three new education tracks: 'Executive', 'Operations' and 'Meetings', plus crowd-sourced discussion topics and 'Ask the Expert' clinics have all been introduced to give participants more choice and extra time to take part in more sessions. The IMEX in Frankfurt education programme is also set to provide over 100 seminars, workshops and learning opportunities on marketing, apps, health, sustainability and social media, plus a new 'visionary events' series. Among the speaker line-up for 2012 are Martin Suiter, Business Consultant who will talk about 'Using sport and tourism to push your brand'; Michael What's in store for IMEX 2012? Sarah o'donnEll aSkS thE organISEr of MEEtIngS and InCEntIvE IndUStry tradEShoW IMEX What IS In StorE for vISItorS to thIS yEar'S frankfUrt ShoWhe 10th anniversary edition of the meetings industry tradeshow IMEX will take place 22-24 May at Messe Frankfurt, Germany. The organiser, IMEX Group, expects hosted buyer numbers to match or exceed last year's, 3,900, with a larger proportion than ever before from long-haul markets such as Brazil, India and China 2011. Association meeting buyers are also on target to account for 11 per cent of all buyers on the hosted programme, with more from the US than in previous years. Increased profile and understanding about the IMEX model following the launch of IMEX America in Las Vegas, organisers say, has helped boost this figure. As a result of a "positive knock-on effect" from IMEX America, IMEX Group Chairman Ray Bloom has confirmed that several new US intermediaries will be bringing their key clients to the Frankfurt trade show for the first time. With over 20 new hosted buyer groups being added, the hosted buyer programme, Bloom says, is on target to beat all previous records.Plans are also in place to attract more corporate buyers to the show through a new Executive Meeting Forum for C-level buyers; many of whom, although influential in buying and budgetary decisions, do not usually attend industry exhibitions and events. Over 3,500 companies are also set to exhibit at the show. Fifty hotel groups are expected to exhibit this year, boosted by larger stands from many of the major groups including Fairmont Hotels, Starwood and Kempinski. ATA Hotels will be taking a stand for the first time, while Best Western are returning to the show with their own stand.Destinations include Boston, Brazil, Costa Rica, Croatia, Moscow, Paris, Slovakia, Sri Lanka and Turkey. Meanwhile, Visit Pittsburgh makes a return to the show.Association Day This year will also see a reworking of IMEX's hallmark Association Day for above: IMEX group expects the 2012 show will match or exceed last year's 3,900 hosted buyersT

Show Preview68 / ConferenCe & Meetings World / issUe 67The launch of IMEX America helped add to the visibility of the Frankfurt showChairman of the imeX Group, ray bloomLuehrs, Sustainability Services Manager at MCI who will present on 'Engaging stakeholders for change'; and Johanna Fischer, and David Bancroft-Turner, MD of The Academy for Political Intelligence will run a session on 'Political intelligence - How to use positive organisational politics to get results'.The main learning centre on the show floor, formerly known as the Professional Development and Innovation Centre, has been renamed the Inspiration Centre and is sponsored by the Convention Industry Council. This recognises the council's role as a source of information about courses and professional education and also as a source of inspiration on other issues of personal development. The show will also be repeating its Campfires initiative, launched last year, which is a set of small, fast, informal sessions designed to allow an expert to give an overview on their given subject. These act as taster sessions for up to 12 people, on subjects such as social media, CSR and personality typing. The Sustainability Hub has also been renamed to reflect its function as both a learning centre and a place to talk to experts and to hear 'live' case studies from IMEX Green Award winners.A number of associations will be running seminars, open to members and non-members alike such as the International Association of Professional Conference Organisers (IAPCO), International Association of Congress Centres (AIPC) and Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). The IMEX Group will also be running its series of industry-change initiatives, recently rebranded as IMEX Vision. These include the Tech Tap, in partnership with the Meeting Support Institute, which promotes companies offering the latest in technology innovation and design for the meetings industry; the Women's Leadership Forum; cross-cultural skills training and Wild Card Pavilion. Tenth anniversaryAs this will be the 10th anniversary show, the organiser is planning a variety of fun elements such as competitions, souvenir issues of the Show Daily and opportunities to look back over the years, such as remembering all of the IMEX Academy Award winners and Wild Card winners since its launch. There will also be some surprises revealed at the show. The IMEX Group is to undertake a new research study, The Power of 10, on the future of the meetings industry to commemorate the 10th anniversary. The study will be conducted by Fast Future Research and its findings are set to provide a focal point for celebrations and activities including a Future Leaders Hall of Fame, 10 Years of Environmental Education, the new programme for Association Day, plus a new location for the IMEX Politicians Forum.Other events around the showHelmsBriscoe will hold its global associate training meeting on the day prior to the show; MCI will use the show for its mid-year Directors and Sales and Account Manager meeting and the AC Forum will hold its Board Meeting at the show for the first time since 2004.Some associations also use the IMEX Gala Dinner to present their annual awards including the JMIC Unity Award, MPI Foundation Student Scholarship Award, Site Master Motivator Award, plus the new PCMA Global Meetings Executive of the Year. Ray Bloom, Chairman of the IMEX Group Has the launch of the US show helped with IMEX's overall brand experience? The launch of IMEX America helped both to enhance the IMEX brand and add to the visibility of IMEX in Frankfurt. We certainly have a higher profile in the US now than this time last year but, all that aside, it really is business as usual and both shows, although sharing common elements, are designed to meet the needs of different markets.Did the US show change who will attend the European show? We're seeing higher levels of interest from US intermediaries such as hotel groups, agencies, who now want to bring bigger or additional groups of buyers to Frankfurt.US exhibitors also appear more bullish about their ability to secure buyers from European and long-haul buyers by coming to Frankfurt. It's still a worldwide show for a worldwide market. Why change a formula that works?Why attend this year's IMEX? To make sure you're in the best place possible to win, or do, business. We always measure business secured at the show in our post-show surveys and last year was the best year yet for business volumes, despite a challenging economic backdrop. As an exhibitor you can let the world's buyers come to you. As a buyer, you can find all the supplier choice you could want over just three days of your working year. What do you think will be key issues affecting the industry this year?We issued some industry predictions in January, based on feedback from partners around the world, various research initiatives we are involved with and what we witness as we travel the globe. For instance, it was apparent at IMEX America that the definition of a 'new' or 'emerging' destination is broadening and increasingly dependent on a buyer's own location and experience. One person's emerging market will be another's 'long-time favourite' and, as globalisation increases, so does buyer awareness of the size and scope of the world market, especially outside of the US.InterviewAbove: Business with destinations pleasures: all part of the iMeX receipe