With Day Two in the books at IMEX 2017 in Frankfurt, Germany, our team has been busy with appointments, registration, education sessions and more.
We were able to get a little insight from the first few days at IMEX from Experient’s Cory Fransway and Char Shada, Directors of Strategic Accounts, and Gary Schirmacher, Senior Vice President of Industry Presence and Strategic Development.
To start off, how were your first days in Frankfurt getting ready for the show? What kind of feelings do you get during an event like this? Were there any cool things that they had there or that you experienced?
Cory Fransway (CF): I arrived by train to Hamburg with the Marriott hosted buyer group. My pre-trip to Berlin was an enlightening experience. I had been before for personal travel, but the customized experience gave us access to unique opportunities that would be of interest for conference attendees and even more reason for that destination to be chosen by our clients. It was also an amazing opportunity to bond with industry colleagues and potential new industry partners.
Gary Schirmacher (GS): The first day was outstanding! There are so many great education sessions for us to understand the newest trends and facets of our industry and the networking opportunities you have there can open so many new doors for global business.
Did you attend any EduMonday sessions today? If so, which ones and what takeaways do you have?
CF: Sadly, we arrived to Hamburg too late to participate in those sessions, however did attend the Association reception, which was a good opportunity for networking.
GS: Yes! I had the privilege of attending the Experience Design Certification course and had a great day. After I completed an hour on Tuesday, I officially became certified for the level 1 EDC.
What was your main goal coming into this week and why?
CF: My main goal was to familiarize myself with new destinations that are under consideration by my clients currently and for the future.
GS: I always look forward to meeting new people who want to learn more about Maritz Global Events and also seeking out current and new clients, as well as our supplier partners.
What kind of conversations are you having with clients and prospects?
CF: I have talked to a number of people about beacon technology and the strategic use of data for event organizers. There needs to be more education on the topic of customization and real-world examples and strategies for using it to enhance audience experiences (both planners and suppliers).
Char Shada (CS): A lot of people we’ve talked with are facing tough situations like shorter lead times, doing more with less and dealing with the challenges of not being able to book very far in advance.
GS: Our clients and prospects are wanting to find ways to drive more revenue, create loyalty and ensure each of their members put their annual meeting first on their calendar. Safety and security in our industry continues to be a big concern and the meetings business is working hard to collaborate about this issue. This is proof that the work our industry organizations are doing matters.
What is one thing that has really stood out or impressed you today and why?
CF: IMEX Pitch was cool. Maritz Global Events was represented by Greg Bogue, [Vice President, Experience Design] who was a judge, selecting standout new technology offerings, after each of the five groups gave their short Shark Tank style “pitch.” All five were very interesting. One that especially stood out was an online platform that helps planners avoid any date conflicts in a particular city, such as holidays, citywide groups, sporting events, etc., which might negatively impact an event held over a particular time frame. It provides a summary ranking of multiple destinations with rationale for each destination score. It was a pretty deep analysis that could be a very cool added layer to our own Spectrum tool if integrated for a future iteration.
CS: The booths here are just so upscale and a majority of them are just incredible! I always appreciate it when I talk to sales people that actually DO their homework in advance of our appointments. Sadly, you don’t always see that.
GS: The Opening Ceremonies are always a special time and Greg Clark’s speech was a great motivator and something that I believe can drive change with cities. It really resonated with me.