by Lisa A. Grimaldi | April 25, 2016

IMEX in Frankfurt, Germany, the meetings-industry trade show that took place April 19-21, welcomed nearly 9,000 buyers. The figure, a 9 percent increase over 2015 numbers, was released by Ray Bloom, IMEX Group chairman, on the final day of the show. The hosted buyers participated in 57,000 individual appointments and stand presentations. 

"We have invested substantially in bringing more senior hosted buyers into the show for longer periods of time, while giving them flexibility to make the most of the opportunities to meet their own needs," said Bloom, who noted that European hosted buyers at this year's show were invited for two nights instead of one. "At the same time, throughout the show, from education to hosted-buyer services, there have been many important innovations as we continually strive to help exhibitors, buyers and visitors achieve their objectives." 

The 2016 show had two themes: "The Sharing Economy" and "Business Is Personal." The sharing economy and the meetings industry were explored during a session that introduced the audience to three new services: Spacebase, a venue-sourcing firm; Showslice, a service that allows planners to share meeting elements; and Vizeat, a service that lets attendees eat home-cooked meals in private homes. The "business is personal" aspect was addressed in a number of sessions designed for attendees to develop new personal skills to enhance mind, body and spirit.

Watch Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, discuss the themes with M&C below.

Other features of the 2016 show included, a networking-matching system that uses demographic data to suggest meetings between like-minded peers before the show; a "play room," which featured interactive "quirkshops" that provided a fresh look at meeting planning by combining learning and play; and a Well Being Lounge, where show participants could relax and unwind or participate in guided meditation sessions.

This year's show included the Professional Convention Management Association's first PCMA Business School in Europe; Association Day and Evening, which hosted 300 association executives for education and networking; Exclusively Corporate @IMEX, which hosted nearly 90 corporate meetings buyers for education and networking; and the IMEX Politicians Forum, which hosted 40 politicians and political advisors to discuss meetings' contributions to economic development, employment and education.