Global Updates

What to look out for at IMEX Frankfurt

Largest-ever show will include new experiential labs, Tech Café, and networking spaces.

As the meetings and events industry gears up for the annual migration to Frankfurt, here’s what you need to know about next week’s IMEX tradeshow (May 15-17).

This year’s IMEX Frankfurt is the largest in the show’s 15-year history in terms of the space taken by exhibitors and in total floor area. The hotels area has expanded by almost 11 per cent, while the technology section has more exhibitors than ever, including a new Tech Café offering product demos and presentations.

Among the new exhibitors this year are the Russian Convention Bureau, the Uganda Ministry of Tourism, Caribbean Tours, the Lebanon Ministry of Tourism, Luxe Worldwide Hotels and Standard Hotels. Technology companies exhibiting for the first time include Bravura Technologies, Event Tech Tribe and Etud Bilsim.

IMEX CEO, Carina Bauer, says the show’s expansion reflects solid market growth. “While the political climate has been unsteady, the meetings and incentive travel industry has been resilient and has progressed steadily worldwide. The continuing growth of the show is clear evidence of that.”

Following a recent partnership with C2 International, this year’s show will also include a series of new ‘Learning Labs’ that replicate C2 favourites like SkyLab, where delegates hold a meeting in mid-air, in seats suspended from the ceiling; and Dark Room, an educational session in pitch black total darkness. The labs will feature as part of a Live Zone in Hall 9 (opposite the main exhibition in Hall 8) alongside a number of experiential suppliers including Uber Spheres and Thought Bubbles that provide brand opportunities that float and are completely wireless.


The Inspiration Hub, home to more than 250 education sessions, will also be moved to Hall 9, along with a multimedia encased two-storey stack of meeting rooms called G-Tainer.  This casual space will feature a new ground floor ‘Chat Bar’ and has been designed for people to make new connections by holding ‘curiosity conversations’.

In addition, a new ZEUS Coworking Campus will provide opportunities to check emails, try gadgets and games, and to take part in pop-up events including Speed Networking.

After a successful launch in 2017, EduMonday returns this year, with more events for specific interest groups. Set to take place on Monday 14 May at Kap Europa Congress Centre, the event will include free education sessions such as Agency Directors Forum, an invitation-only forum; Rising Talent, an afternoon of actionable learning and career development for meeting professionals under 35; She Means Business, which celebrates and debates the role of women in the meetings industry; as well as new programmes for Exclusively Corporate and Association Day.

This year’s IMEX Talking Point is ‘legacy’, so there are a number of education sessions that explore this topic, as well as a ‘Legacy Wall’ in Hall 9. Sustainably crafted from reused pallets, the wall will display exhibitors’ own legacy stories together with short stories about IMEX CSR and Sustainability projects, including a spotlight on future leaders.

“I’m excited about what IMEX 2018 has to offer for the industry,” Bauer adds. “Buyers have the opportunity to do business with the largest ever range of exhibitors from across the world and from all sectors of the industry; to experience the most exciting and creative

innovations ever showcased at IMEX; as well as benefit from more sector specific education and social events to suit everyone’s specific needs.”