This year we attended our first IMEX. The international trade show that specialises in the MICE sector takes place twice a year, in May in Frankfurt and in October in Las Vegas. We attended the one in Frankfurt from 15-17 May. Let us share with you our experience.
EduMonday at IMEX
Our first day, the 15th May was all about education because we attended the EduMonday. It’s a new initiative and took place this year for the first time. We believe that the aim of it is to allow attendees to make the most out of their time at the show and fully concentrate on education before the show opens. Attending education sessions and juggling between appointments can be tricky at times, so it was good to separate the two. Attendees could choose between education sessions delivered by industry professionals. Session topics ranged from networking skills, event security, event technology, presentation formats to SEO for event business.
We found this format of separating our time between the show and education very good. Juggling between meetings and trying to observe important information can be challenging at times to fully assimilate. Thanks to EduMonday we believe that we managed our time at the show very well.
So what sessions did we attend?
Presentation skills: The rise of conversational presenting
The session was delivered by Juraj Holub from Slido, a Q & A platform that facilitates attendee interaction. The aim of this session was to demonstrate how organisers can go away from the traditional (and often boring) event format and deliver more engaging and interactive presentations. We used the Slido platform to share our experiences and the takeaways appeared on the main screen in the form of a tag cloud. Slido has fantastic features, especially the fact that you don’t need to download anything to use the platform. You can also ask the questions anonymously. This helps the delegates to avoid the fear of public speaking and still taking part in the discussion. When someone writes their question, others immediately see it and can vote which question they want to be answered first.
All attendees agreed that in order to keep the audience engaged we have to think outside the box and facilitate more interaction between the presenter and the audience. When asked how the ideal presentation should look like, attendees said short, engaging and interactive, and that there should be an element of storytelling in it.
When asked which techniques planners use to bring more engagement, the audience said unexpected energisers during the presentation, games, physical activity, storytelling with relatable examples and icebreakers.
Lastly, Juraj also suggested recognising the best format for the speakers and making their life easier. For example, if speakers are good at Q & A, then don’t ask them to prepare a power point presentation. Or maybe they’ll be most comfortable being interviewed on stage. When you recognise these aspects, you’ll be able to brief you speaker accordingly and increase attendee and speaker satisfaction.
Hacks to become number one on Google for meeting rooms
Secondly, we attended a great session about SEO for meeting rooms. But the good news is that these hacks also work for any company that operates in the event space. The excellent session was delivered by Jan Hoffmann-Keining from Spacebase GmbH, a meeting room booking platform. What might look like a “dry” topic for many, we actually find it very important. Companies with small marketing budgets can achieve great results if they put the time into it.
Google rewards website that provide good quality content. Additionally, if there are other trust worthy websites linking to your website, google will recognise this and place you on top. Other elements to watch include inbound and outbound links, right key words and focus keyword in your subheading (these include H1 and H2) in your text. Furthermore, if you want to incorporate images, make sure they also have alt attributes.
Business tourism as a driver of sustainability
On the first day of IMEX, we attended the session business tourism as a driver of sustainability, delivered by Guy Bigwood from MCI. The session gave an overview on what global cities are doing around sustainable MICE tourism, understanding the tools available to make the destination more sustainable and how to design a road map for environmental, social and economic success.
We believe that our role as an Italian DMC is to showcase how sustainable practices can be implemented throughout the event and support the organisations we organise events for as well as the local businesses in Italy. This presentation perfectly demonstrated that with our innovative model we are implementing sustainability to support the destination both economically and socially.
Sustainable event planning
Let’s look how you can incorporate sustainability into your events.
Traffic can be a challenge when you want to transport your delegates from A – B in the most efficient way. At Italian Special Occasions DMC we have a solution for this by offering the best region and season combination. This way you can avoid busy areas, offer a better experience to your delegates and reduce the carbon footprint.
Overcrowding is another challenge groups will face when attending events at major locations and this can negatively impact their experience. Therefore, we recommend spreading the business during the year to places where it’s most needed. It’s a wonderful thing to do, to organise events in destinations off the beaten path, because your delegates will have a more authentic experience and at the same time will give back to local communities.
Food waste should be avoided by all means. It cannot be overviewed and event planners should be more conscious and advise clients how to avoid it. Some of the ways to reduce food waste is to offer smaller plates, smaller portions and avoid over-catering. For example, you should consider whether your delegates need seated lunch and dinner, or maybe you can offer buffet instead and let them choose what and how much they want to eat.
Technology instead of print
Reduce printed material by using technology instead. For example, create an app, digital surveys, digital signage or event digital badges. When printing needs to be done, try and use reusable materials.
Another great example for reducing print waste is Projection Mapping. This means, instead of using paper you can “map” the atmosphere, and the result will be more impactful and beautiful. Furthermore, it allows you to make a visual storytelling out of it. You can create a duplicate of the real environment in two or three dimensions, with optical illusions, movement and sound.
Last but not least, you can use sensorial approach towards your events when incorporating sustainability. Such as yoga, daily exercise, short energisers to offer your delegates the opportunity to wind down between the sessions and take care of their well-being.
These are just few of the sessions we attended, and we hope that we could share with you enough information that you can take back to your daily businesses and incorporate strait away. Even though we are more than 15 years in the tourism business, we believe that it’s very important to stay on top of latest industry trends, expand our business network and never stop learning. Thanks again to IMEX for providing such an extensive platform to connect with the global industry. If we haven’t had the chance to meet during IMEX, please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!