IMEX gathered meeting professionals from around the globe last week in Frankfurt for a key industry conference that showcased the future of meetings and events and provided numerous educational opportunities for event marketers around meetings and incentive travel.
The event opened with an impassioned call from David DuBois, president and CEO of IAEE, who acknowledged the importance of events in acting as an agent of change in pushing toward knowledge and creativity.
DuBois challenged the assembled group to help preserve and pass along the knowledge from his generation to the upcoming generation, who will be at the helm of the future of the business event industry, which perfectly set up the focus on learning that was seen throughout the event.
Going back to business school basics
PCMA brought business school to Europe, with 80 corporate meeting planners leading business strategy sessions throughout the event. IMEX Frankfurt, in conjunction with MPI and MCI, also featured the largest Future Leaders forum of any IMEX event where students participated in a packed two days of sessions, meetings, roundtable discussions, and networking with meeting professionals. An academic faculty engagement, in partnership with IAEE, discussed event management topics and provided additional networking opportunities with students.
The big takeaway was the fact that business is personal, with people skills and strong leadership being the key to business success. To that end, there were multiple sessions on leadership skills and developing confidence in the business world, a good primer for up-and-coming industry leaders as well as a refresher for those already in the trenches.
Ushering in the sharing economy
Several seminars focused on the sharing economy and the implications of this new business model on the meetings and event industry. According to Martin Sirk, CEO of the International Congress and Convention Association, the sharing economy will shape the new meetings experience in ways we haven’t yet started to think about. As new generations of attendees comfortable with using sharing services such as Airbnb begin to increase their share of attendance, the impact of the sharing economy cannot be denied.
Rajeev Kohli, president of the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE), talked about how incorporating these services and technologies into meetings and events could allow meeting planners to share the burden of costs over a large audience base and reduce their per-attendee investment. He did warn that sharing services need to be vetted for safety and other concerns in order to continue to provide attendees the best possible experience.
Creating room to learn and play
IMEX took a playful approach with its “quirk shop,” sponsored by Play With a Purpose. This inspirational hub provided a creative, interactive, hands-on play space designed to provide a fresh look at meeting planning.
A TED-style approach in the educational hub focused on trending topics and future-focused thinking to get attendees more fully engaged. A trends session with case studies and best practices from around the globe via data culled from MPI’s quarterly Meetings Outlook Survey gave a look at how the meeting industry is growing and changing.
What was your favorite knowledge drop or trend focus from IMEX Frankfurt? Share with us on Twitter @FreemanCo.
Image courtesy of IMEX.