More than 300 association executives from 30 countries gathered at the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel to discuss this key issue with experts and their peers.

This important subject was chosen as this year’s theme after delegates at Association Day 2015 were asked “what is the biggest challenge that associations face?” Relevancy was overwhelmingly the issue that delegates most wanted to discuss.

This year, at this unique exclusive annual event, Charles Leadbeater was the keynote speaker. Charles is a leading authority on innovation and creativity who advises major internationally known organisations such as the BBC, Vodafone, Microsoft and Ericsson.

After a networking lunch and the keynote speech, delegates had a choice of four topics in each of the two afternoon sessions. Many of these topics had been designed and were co-delivered by leading industry associations including ICCA and ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership while the programme had been developed in conjunction with the International Association of Facilitators.

The options in this comprehensive, highly collaborative programme included sessions on engagement strategies for new audiences; achieving enduring relevance; participant driven events – how to keep the program relevant; and reinventing relevance.

Tjeerd Bokhout from ChemCon in the Netherlands, commented: “IMEX is always a great opportunity to broaden my horizons and look ahead. I’ve been inspired by many valuable ideas today – some from the speakers, others from my fellow delegates.”

Kelly Schild from the International Society of Managing & Technical Editors in the USA, added: “Today has been amazing! It is my first time and I’ve loved the opportunity to speak to other people with similar issues. The theme of today – relevancy – was truly appropriate to what I need. The keynote speaker was really motivating – he kept us engaged and passed on some really valuable advice.”

After a busy and engaging day, there was an opportunity to network over drinks and dinner with colleagues and invited industry guests at the popular Association Evening at the Marriott Hotel, Frankfurt.

A further new addition this year was a co-located educational programme, ‘Association Management Companies – A Focused Look at Challenges & Solutions!’ on the morning of Association Day. This was the result of a new partnership between the Association Management Companies Institute (AMCI) and IMEX.

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group commented: “This new partnership with AMCI is an exciting initiative for IMEX and we are very happy that AMCI and many of its international members have joined us in Frankfurt.

“We’re delighted with the positive feedback from Association Day delegates, in particular that the theme of ‘relevancy’ was so important.

“Sharing knowledge with industry colleagues is always valuable and I’m sure that all the delegates are finding their time as hosted buyers at the IMEX trade show similarly rewarding.”

A long-time meetings industry addict, Gorazd is the Founder and owner of marketing and event agency Toleranca Marketing. He has many years of experience in planning, preparing and carrying out large international meetings and exhibitions. As the founder of the "Power to the Meetings" methodology, he still firmly believes in the power of live events and human to human communication. He is also the author of numerous articles and editor-in-chief of the meetings industry magazine Kongres Magazine.