Following her trip to IMEX in Frankfurt in mid-May, Masha Boh (pictured), business development manager at The Brewery, discusses the state of the global events market – offering tips, insights and trends.
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.
What business trends have you noticed?
There was a preference for much smaller, tailored events. Incentive travel organisers and clients are looking for a ‘one-stop shop’ venue – incorporating all required facilities with the charm of a boutique venue.
The flow of the event is also playing a big part in choosing the venue. Organisers want to be able to keep everything close together and enable seamless transitions between the main plenary spaces and breakouts. They want to feel a sense of journey, with purposeful spaces that enhance the overall event experience and story. For example, our recently launched virtual venue tour showcased the immersive spaces at The Brewery to IMEX Frankfurt attendees.
What is the international market’s view of London at the moment?
There has been a noticeable interest in other, slightly smaller European countries and cities. Some buyers were gravitating towards smaller European cities rather than megacities, due to similarity. Especially clients from Tokyo and New York. Those who are used to this kind of offering are looking for something slightly different when travelling, and have thus looked to destination cities in Spain, Italy and Germany.
Having said this, London is still widely considered one of the top preferred destinations in the world, offering a range of venue styles in heritage-rich locations. Venues will need to offer a more tailored approach if they want to attract those from other large cities and will need to ensure their offering is uniquely London-centric to create a real wow factor experience.
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13 Dec 2018