Megan Gell
Apr 29, 2019

IMEX 2019: Three reasons this year’s show is a must-attend

The meetings and events industry's biggest show, taking place May 21-23 in Frankfurt, will focus on transformation and collaboration, diversity and inclusion, and sustainability. Plus, robots.

IMEX 2019: Three reasons this year’s show is a must-attend

With just under four weeks until one of the most important industry shows on the calendar, IMEX Frankfurt is announcing a flurry of speakers, topics and tools tailored for meetings and events professionals. The show will take place at Messe Frankfurt from May 21-23 2019, with EduMonday, its pre-show day of learning and insights, on May 20.

1. A trade show that matters…for real

Themes have become an important part of IMEX shows and activities. While 2018 was centred around ‘legacy’, 2019 promises to be all about ‘imagination’. The three pillars of this year’s theme are: transformation and collaboration, diversity and inclusion, and sustainability.

For the former, IMEX is encouraging industry professionals to consider how they can collaborate—not compete—with other organisations and the benefits this can bring. On the diversity and inclusion front, IMEX is determined to eradicate bias by “prompting professionals to imagine a more inclusive event from the outset and keep diversity front of mind throughout the planning process”. Here, here.

Carina Bauer, IMEX Group CEO, says: “The meetings industry has both a desire and a need to understand and reflect human diversity more fully. Over the past few years, we have seen much greater interest in, and understanding of, these issues and opportunities. The next step is to start to more consciously and consistently factor in a more diverse range of people into meetings, events and conference programmes, with the goal that this becomes second-nature.”

Executive coach Melissa Lamson will pass on the best practice and communication models she has shared with clients including 3M, SAP and Siemens in her session: ‘Industry best practices on how to be an inclusive leader’.

The Events Industry Council will explore the role of events in supporting universal design, diversity and inclusion in ‘Redesigning inclusive events by overcoming unconscious bias’—where planners can uncover their unconscious bias and learn practical ways of designing events to be more welcoming for all.

As part of ‘She Means Business’ on EduMonday, Anne Kjær Richert will share the story of founding the ReDI School of Digital Integration and her work as mentor and ambassador for the Grace Female Accelerator, which supports female-led start-ups.

Anne Kjær Richert

When it comes to sustainability, IMEX is seeking a fresh approach to greener meetings and events, encouraging planners to also demand change. As they assert: “There really are no excuses anymore. Younger generations in particular will vote with their feet, their attention and their money to prove how much they want to protect the planet”.

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, says: “Our annual Talking Point shines a spotlight on an emerging or important trend—one that’s making waves around the world and in our industry. By exploring various facets of imagination, we hope to open up ways for everyone in the global meetings and events industry to become more creative and to make a more positive impact whenever they can.”

2. Tailored content

IMEX is offering all attendees free education sessions across 10 tracks, including business skills, creative learning, research and trends, sustainability, and health and wellbeing.

EduMonday includes Association Day and Evening (including facial recognition-powered registration), and the Agency Directors Forum for small to mid-size meetings and events agencies. There’s also Exclusively Corporate, a half-day event for corporate meeting, event or travel planners delivered via case studies, presentations and panel discussions. Attendees can then choose one of three streams to best fit their needs—Learning Labs focusing on ROI, engagement technologies or event design.

Speakers include the International Olympic Committee’s association director of events and hospitality, Panos Tzivanidis, who will focus on the ‘3Ts—time, technology and talent’, in his session ‘Managing operationally complex global events’.

“Learning and making the right connections are key to keeping up to date with rapid developments in our industry and for boosting confidence, personal brand and authority,” says Bauer. “EduMonday allows attendees to gain a head start, soaking up insider knowledge from leading experts and mixing and meeting with others.”

3. Discovery zone

Robots, VR, holograms and AI are among the technologies planners can explore for their use at IMEX Frankfurt this year. Aventri and Sciensio are offering AI chatbots, while Fielddrive and Zenus are demonstrating facial recognition technology, which attendees at Association Evening can experience for themselves when they check-in.

“Every attendee has different personal and emotional requirements and planners are seeing a greater need to offer a more individual and personalised experience at events,” says Bauer. “Technology is one of the tools planners can use to power a personalised experience for delegates.”

The new Discovery Zone will run throughout the show and includes both the education-driven Inspiration Hub, and the ZEUS Innovators Club for exploring future trends.

Future-focused session ‘Five macro-trends disrupting the meetings industry’ will cover developments in communication, the workplace and wellness to help planners adopt a proactive personalised experience. ‘The wow factor: using technology and trends to make your meetings pop’ will deliver live technology demos and creative tips.

Discovery Zone

The TECHKnowledge area of the show floor will offer bite-size tech tutorials on topics including how to boost personal and professional productivity, and how technology can drive sustainability.

“Our wide range of tech exhibitors and learning opportunities allows planners to see, touch and experience the latest technology and learn how it can support their work, spark their imaginations and ultimately create content that has a genuine and deep effect on the audience,” says Bauer.

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