This was the best IMEX Frankfurt trade show I have participated in. This remarkable experience, shaped by numerous factors, holds a distinct place in my heart. Delving into its intricacies, I invite you to join me in exploring these exceptional trade fair memories, which have etched a profound mark on both my professional and personal perspectives.
New IMEX online platform
Even before the IMEX Frankfurt trade show began, we were getting to know it from a technical perspective because this year IMEX introduced a new system to support exhibitors at the trade fair. Partner registrations at the booth, building a convention bureau profile, and a personal profile. I encountered many opinions and indeed the system also caused me many difficulties. It took me some time to understand its functionality and to assist the Poland Convention Bureau partners in creating their profiles and registrations. This year, a record number of partners appeared at the Polish booth – as many as 18 convention bureaus, PCOs, DMCs, congress and exhibition facilities, a hotel network, and an airline.
The IMEX website interface is somewhat reminiscent of Facebook, as you can easily switch between private and business modes. From a content creator’s point of view, the new profile, both private and business, offers many possibilities for sharing additional content – press releases, blog posts with photos. It’s an engaging new experience.
On Monday, after arriving in Frankfurt straight from the airport, we went to Messe Frankfurt. Our main goal was to check the Polish National Stand, oversee the details, and finalize the last details with the constructors and all the individuals involved in stand management.
I love that moment when you can enter the trade hall a day before the fair officially opens when the fair is literally under construction. You can see the immense effort put into preparing this multi-day event. Some stands are already ready, while others are still being constructed by the building teams. Forklifts and cranes zip around the trade hall, the red carpets are not yet laid. The next day, everything will be ready for opening at 9:00 for exhibitors and 10:00 for visitors.
- The next step – joining Poland Convention Bureau at the Polish Tourism Organisation
- Destination marketing campaigns of convention bureaux
- The top LinkedIn influencers in the meetings industry
- What is ChatGPT and how it can be used in the tourism industry
Before leaving the Messe Frankfurt grounds, I went to Hall 8 (where the stands are) to the press centre, and then to Hall 9, where this year’s Hosted Buyer Lounge was located, along with the Central Park – a food truck area, and spaces for educational sessions – Canyon, Forest, Ocean.
Everything is beautifully designed, looking attractive and inviting. It captures your attention. I couldn’t resist and just had to publish the first photos on Twitter right away, praising the IMEX team for their new, fresh ideas. I was certain that on the opening day of the fair, participants would be equally thrilled.
New IMEX Logo and Visual Identity
Leaving the fair, it was impossible not to notice the installation of four large IMEX letters in the Gallery. They kept it a secret until the end. On Monday, it turned out that the premiere of the new visual identity was happening in Frankfurt. By the end of Monday, individual elements with the new logo started to be unveiled in various spaces. The mentioned huge letters, posters, prints, and other brochures. People began to post photos with the massive IMEX letters on social media, and Warsaw, Łódź, and Polish stairs had so many.
The Fairs are Back
The fairs have returned to their pre-pandemic state, with all the significant destinations and other players in the meeting industry present. People were not only happy to meet again as they were a year ago (returning after a 2-year break) but the fairs also returned to their normal tracks – business meetings, community, and education.
This year, the IMEX Digital Team went all out. I salute the quality of the content they create and the creativity of the team, as well as Carina Bauer and Suzanne Medcalf Mulligan’s sense of humour. If you haven’t seen it, take a look at the videos on the IMEX Group’s Instagram. The official hashtag for this edition of the fair is #IMEX23. This sets IMEX apart from similar events – a special atmosphere and a sense of community. Events like #IMEXrun and specific hashtags like #IMEXperience #IMEXcited also contribute to this. I must add that on the last day, I experienced firsthand what the hashtag #IMEXhausted means.
Meetings and Networking
From experience, I am a salesperson, so for me, the trade fairs have a sales aspect, and I had many meetings scheduled with buyers and other potential partners. Meetings with representatives from the USA deserve special attention, as they were exploring Poland’s potential due to large investments by American IT companies in our country. This is a great opportunity for Polish events and incentive travel organizers.
A New Perspective
Lastly, a more personal observation. For the first time at IMEX, my badge displayed “Exhibitor Poland Convention Bureau” and a green ICCA Member ribbon. Participating in the trade fair as an exhibitor offers a completely different perspective compared to my previous experiences as a B2B influencer, journalist, or simply a visitor. Eyes all around at the stand, teamwork of the entire Polish team, numerous business meetings at the booth and in various other parts of Messe Frankfurt, the press center, other duties and goals.
The work didn’t end after the fair, as I continued to manage social media in my room and collaborate with photographers to quickly deliver a gallery of selected photos from each day to our partners. Starting at 8 o’clock at the booth, beginning the Musical Mornings in the Gallery, and then quickly to the press center and then to scheduled meetings at the booth. It has its advantages. The best start of the day, Musical Mornings, featuring music and singing by Basi Giewont, and the sight of fair visitors who stopped to listen, record videos, or take photos.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend many educational sessions, only two, and being at the fair has always been a source of inspiration and knowledge for me. Did everything go according to plan? YES, and as with events, the final outcome and participant satisfaction are what matters, and what happens behind the scenes is our sweet secret 😉
Certainly, one of the achievements was the international inauguration of our educational project “Laboratorium Twórców #eventprofsLAB”. I had the opportunity to lead mobile photography workshops for MICE industry representatives. Truly, the new visual identity of IMEX, Polish accents, and the fair space, Messe Frankfurt, was the perfect place for this unique workshop with phones in hand.
Thank you, IMEX – these were the best fairs ever!