The 10th annual IMEX Frankfurt and the 2nd annual IMEX America both are parlaying their 2011 momentum into bigger shows this year.

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IMEX Frankfurt is coming up May 22–24, with new education, more hosted buyers, and more exhibitors, including first-timers such as Hyatt Hotels and many U.S.–based third parties, who are checking out the Frankfurt show after a successful experience at the inaugural IMEX America in Las Vegas last October.

Here’s what’s on in Frankfurt:

  • What Women Want
    In preparation for the Women’s Leadership Forums at both IMEX Frankfurt and IMEX America, the IMEX Group conducted a survey on women’s opportunities, challenges, and learning interests in the global meetings industry today. More than 120 women and men, primarily from Europe and the United States, responded to the survey.

    According to female respondents, gaps exist between a woman’s experience, achievement, and knowledge and the level of respect, trust, and opportunity she feels she receives in business. The gap varies across cultures around the globe, and progress was reported by some respondents who serve as key decision-makers within their organizations.

    Hot topics for women respondents include: achieving work/life balance without fear of losing their jobs or taking a hit on professional recognition; avoiding taking on a “caretaker” role at work; keeping up with technology and in particular keeping pace with younger employees who have been raised on technology; and improving negotiation skills. Other educational topics of interest include financial management, economic forecasting, strategic planning, time management, social media best practices, corporate governance, team management, and employee motivation.

    The Women’s Leadership Forums at IMEX Frankfurt in May and IMEX America in October will touch on some of these topics as well as provide guidelines for navigating biases based on a person’s culture, gender, and age in order to leverage individual strengths. Attendees at the forums will hear from women CEOs or C-Level executives in the industry about their successes and challenges. Facilitators for both of the Women’s Leadership Forums will be: Liz Jackson, president of Jackson Consulting Inc. and Susan Sarfati, CEO, High Performance Strategies.

  • Association Day
    Taking place at Messe Frankfurt Congress Centre the day before the show opens, Association Day has a new format to allow for more choice in education and networking offerings. After the day of sessions, some 900 buyers and suppliers are expected at the association evening event, taking place at the Westin Hotel.
  • More Exhibitors
    Exhibitor participation from the United States, Asia, and the Caribbean is expected to be larger at IMEX 2012 than last year. And space increases have been confirmed from many hotel exhibitors, including Fairmont/Raffles/Swissôtel and Kempinksi.
  • Buyers in the Driver’s Seat
    IMEX Frankfurt 2012 is testing new ways of giving hosted buyers extra control over the e-mails and invitations they receive from exhibitors in the run-up to and during the show. The proposed system will allow hosted buyers to have a unique IMEX inbox, which will aggregate all exhibitor messages into a single, daily e-mail alert. The system will be tested among several buyer groups for the 2012 show, with the aim of rolling it out in 2013.
  • IMEX App for Android
    IMEX Frankfurt will see the launch of the IMEX App for Android users. And the app overall is being enhanced, according to Christopher Perrins, IMEX group director of online services.
  • IMEX Gives Back, with the IMEX Challenge
    The biennial IMEX Challenge takes place this year, in which, after considering a wide variety of CSR proposals, IMEX judges and staff voted to invite industry volunteers to join them to construct a bee colony in Ljubljana, Slovenia, July 2–4. In keeping with the IMEX Challenge goals of both helping children and leaving a sustainable legacy for their care, 15 volunteers will join staff and patients of the CUDV Training, Occupation and Care Centre in Draga, Slovenia, to construct a bee colony from scratch over three days. Once built, it will provide skills training opportunities and a valuable income for the care center.
  • Executive Meeting Forum
    C-level corporate meeting directors along with procurement managers will gather at the Frankfurt show to focus on European business issues. The Forum will be facilitated by Terri Breining, CMP, CMM, and Kimberly Meyer, two well-known industry experts, who led a similar Forum at the inaugural IMEX America, and will do so again in October.
  • Global Meetings Executive of the Year
    For the first time in 2012, the Global Meetings Executive of the Year Award, given by the Professional Convention Management Association, will be presented at the IMEX Gala Dinner on May 23.
  • New Education Tracks
    Two new tracks, which will clearly separate meetings from events education, will be introduced to make seminar selection easier. Small, informal “campfires,” lasting no more than 30 minutes, are also being introduced on the topics of sustainability and technology. Each campfire will be led by an industry expert and repeated regularly throughout the three-day trade show.
  • Going Green
    Through dedicated efforts, IMEX Frankfurt has reduced its overall waste output significantly over the past three years, from 167 tons in 2009 to 121 tons in 2011. IMEX organizers also pay careful attention to minimizing food waste. Unopened, leftover food is distributed to local homeless networks and hospitals, while any opened and packaged food is composted locally. “Our pledge is to be as sustainable as possible, and this doesn’t just apply to our trade show days but to our office infrastructure and consumption habits all year round,” says Ray Bloom, chairman, IMEX Group. “IMEX is committed to educating the meeting, incentive travel, and events industry about sustainability issues, so it is important that we live these principles ourselves. Our intention in Frankfurt and also now in Las Vegas is to develop relationships with suppliers, exhibitors, and visitors that support our sustainability efforts.”

    The Power of 10
    Findings from the Power of 10 research study, being conducted by Fast Future Research, will be released at IMEX Frankfurt. The Power of 10 refers to the show’s 10-year anniversary, and the project’s founding sponsors are four organizations that have worked with IMEX since the beginning: IMEX’s strategic partner, the German Convention Bureau; the show’s venue, Messe Frankfurt; its ground handlers, CPO Hanser; and the Frankfurt Tourist Office.

    The study’s findings will provide a focal point for a series of celebrations and activities, such as a Future Leaders Hall of Fame, 10 Years of Environmental Education, and a new location for the IMEX Politicians Forum to mark its 10th year.

    The study will seek opinions from individually selected thought leaders and business leaders both inside and outside the meetings industry, to explore what the next 10 years might look like. It will also review events of the past decade that have had the greatest impact on the meetings industry and on meeting professionals.

    Using “10” as an organizing principle, researchers will approach 10 leaders from 10 key sectors and ask them 10 questions about the next 10 years. A worldwide essay competition will be run with the 10 best submissions being awarded a Power of 10 prize plus public recognition. “It’s great to build on the successful research we’ve conducted [for] Convention 2020,” says Fast Future CEO Rohit Talwar. “That study ended in December 2011 and this new research enables us to keep the momentum going. Many of the respondents involved in the study will be big personalities with even bigger opinions, so we are expecting the insights to be as valuable and provocative as they are entertaining.”

IMEX America Expands into Two Halls at Sands Expo

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As IMEX Group looks ahead to its second IMEX America, October 9–11, demand for space already has exceeded last year’s. The show will fill both Halls C and D of the Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas.

The hosted-buyer program also is expected to increase this year, in line with the increase in the number of exhibitors. Last year 2,000 hosted buyers attended the show, with 80 percent from North America. Among the suppliers expected to invite more hosted buyers this year are IMEX’s strategic partner, Meeting Professionals International, and the show’s headquarters hotel, The Venetian/The Palazzo.

“We’ve been pleasantly surprised to see such a high demand for booth space with eight months still to go before the next show,” says IMEX Group Chairman Ray Bloom.

Over the coming months, IMEX America and MPI will be revealing the education program for “Smart Monday,” a day of education scheduled before the show opens. In addition to MPI, IMEX America has partnerships with the U.S. Travel Association and the Professional Convention Management Association; it is endorsed by Destination Marketing Association International and Site; and counts other supporting associations such as the Association for Corporate Travel Executives Global, ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership, Financial & Insurance Conference Planners, Convention Industry Council, and many others. Find a full list of partners at the IMEX America Web site.

Follow both shows on Twitter #imexfrankfurt12 #imexamerica12