The second day of this year’s IMEX has brought real and expected fair buzz. If the first day seemed pretty calm, the second day surprised with large number of visitors and many highlights of the event, which this year was attended by 9.000 visitors, buyers and exhibitors. Exhibitors were satisfied with business meetings. This year, there were 53.000 meetings concluded or 33% more than last year, according to the organisers exhibitors were especially satisfied with buyers from distant markets.

Organisers once again justified its position and reputation as the most important European and thus the world meetings event. For implementation and professionalism they deserve the highest rating. “Politicians Forum” traditionally raises the visibility of the industry. Accompanying programme was rich as never before, and it was impossible to fully monitor it.

A careful eye did not miss out an interesting renaissance of new small meetings destinations. All together a little reminiscent of the Eurosong. This slightly bizarre comparison is probably not quite in place, as the Evrosong is all about show business. However, it must be recognised that this was not missing either at IMEX. New and new countries are surprising and are trying for success with already seen formulas and also with a bit more innovative approaches. Nevertheless, the final each year earn large convention destinations, which deserve this historically and according to the ICCA rankings. While the attention of visitors was directed to the splendour and glamour of major destinations, the small ones made an effort for their five minutes of fame. As a colleague from Serbia says, it is reminiscent of the fable about the elephant and the mouse. The elephant is big and proud as the largest in the woods; the mouse is small, shy and smart. And at IMEX each year there are more and more smaller but very well organised meetings destinations.

Besides IMEX is the best market research that actually shows each year where in the international meetings world you belong. A special value gives it its cyclical and systematic nature. Organisers act as experienced traders who know how to make sure that the most important congress destinations are in a good and exposed line of sight of the major buyers. Think well which destinations you remember best from this year’s IMEX. The organisers of IMEX are top psychologists and for this part of the business they deserve all the praise.

The eternal dilemma of choice of sales environment exists and is of more personal nature. Do you prefer large get togethers of large communities, reminiscent of oriental bazaars, or you prefer smaller and more boutique spaces and events. I believe that we need both, as is typical for each community. In any case, times when size was important have passed. Times of so-called smart conference destinations and new hybrid trade shows and fairs are coming. For all the positive characteristics such trade shows are also impersonal, lack too much interactive and experiential, that they would easily satisfy the new generation of upcoming meetings buyers. Lifestyle is rarely in the centre, as they are focused on economies of scale. How will we, the providers from South East Europe position ourselves in this world, depends mostly on us. In the event of a decision for economies of scale only a joint large regional exhibition stand would help but that because of history seems sci-fi. In the case of smart tactics, interesting strategic alliances and clusters of smart cities, incentives, green providers …… could open up. Only this way we will in modern meetings supermarkets attract enough attention to be reflected in actual sales results and be on the way to the meetings Champions League.

Photo credits: IMEX

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