Day 1 IMEX Frankfurt sums with belonging, bleisure and desire

 Wednesday, May 24, 2023 


Three related themes came through strongly in today’s education programme and in conversations with buyers on the show floor on the opening day of IMEX Frankfurt 2023.

In ‘How to measure and manifest belonging for events’, David Allison of Valuegraphics, Naomi Crellin of Storycraft LAB and Megan Henshall of the Google Experience Institute gifted a new diagnostic tool to session participants. The Belonging Index Map, available only to IMEX attendees, distils 912 different expressions of belonging to reveal what they mean in the nine different regions of the world.

As Allison explained, “Everyone wants to feel as though they belong. Your job as event designers is to understand how this one value – belonging – might play out among your attendees and then bake that into your approach. It applies to everything from how you communicate and message your audience to their lived experience of your brand at the event. Try this tool for yourself. It has the potential to be transformative.”

Goodbye 9 to 5

According to preliminary findings from MMGY Travel Intelligence’s Portrait of European Meeting and Convention Travel 2023 report, nearly 60 percent of attendees are likely to extend a business trip for leisure purposes in the next 12 months. Two thirds of them also indicated they’d invite their spouse or partner along.

In a seamless transition, over on the show’s education-focused Inspiration Hub, Daniel Scheffler and Alexis Steinman sparked ideas on how to create business travel experiences with a difference. The pair of travel writers encouraged the audience to remember why they love travel and to focus on local, authentic experiences with meaningful connections, a hint of belonging and interactions at the core. Scheffler said: “Create small moments that touch the heart. We should also encourage people to let go of their expectations and prejudices. When we let these go, adventure follows. Isn’t that what many of us are seeking?”

The desire to blend and balance both professional and personal lives was also raised by planners – Tatiana Tudela, a hosted buyer from Brazil explained: “I organise incentives and increasingly find that people want to set aside time to keep on top of work as well as enjoy the incentive activities. There’s been a distinct shift in the way people approach their working lives and we want to be able to support them in this.”

Taking a practical look at modern working culture, a hands-on learning session – ‘Building resilience in remote team’s – saw attendees work as a group to build a picture of the challenges faced by remote teams. Buyers put pen to paper to identify ways to unite disparate groups of people, with many agreeing that building trust is a fundamental part of the process.

The drive to meet the full diversity of human needs through intentional event design is being addressed in education sessions across all three days of the show, reflecting IMEX’s Talking Point for 2023 – ‘Human Nature’.

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