What is the state of the global events market?
IMEX18 felt busier than usual, with buyers from all over the world congregating in the German financial capital. The most common clients I met were from the EU, China, Japan and the US.
There was more focus on large-scale international conferences, but also smaller, more tailored events.
Incentive groups have also been travelling further than just their neighbouring country, as they look to create a more unique experience for guests. The most popular EU cities mentioned at the show were London, Paris, Munich and Barcelona.
I was surprised to see the sheer number of international DMCs at the show. You expect to see corporate event planners, but it seemed to be mainly agents and DMCs looking to strengthen their knowledge of the international venues on offer.
The demand for international travel for events looks set to continue along its path of strong growth.
What differences are there by country/region?
The types and style of events that are preferred change according to country, and even region. Chinese clients, for example, are mainly looking for concrete facts as they are often required to present the ideas to their team; while US clients are interested in a venue’s story, as they look toward heritage to add value to meetings.
European clients are familiar with the event scene in London, but would like to expand their knowledge of independent London venues. While they often opt for the more traditional collection venues or hotels, there is still a hunger for bespoke and boutique locations.