IMEX is an annual global event for the Business and Leisure Tourism sectors. Held in the Messe Convention and Exhibition Centre in Frankfurt, IMEX fills the huge hall 8 and a good chunk of the adjoining space too.
With more than 3500 representatives from destinations around the world exhibiting, Evolution CEO Andi Swain’s first mammoth task was deciding who to meet. IMEX works brilliantly if you know what you are looking for, the online diary system enabled Andi to arrange over 30 official meetings to fill his three days at the event, not to mention countless opportunities to meet people in the coffee bar and the after-show events taking place each night.
So why visit IMEX in the first place? Andi responds: “Evolution has a reputation for delivering the unusual, the unexpected and the very different in the events that we run here in the UK and internationally. Our customers are increasingly looking for new ways to motivate and engage their internal and external audiences, and we can now offer them a tailor-made, bespoke service for overseas meetings and incentive travel.”
So how do you go about choosing who to meet with? “That was straight forward, or so I thought!” says Andi. “I wanted to meet with representatives from destinations that I’d not been to, that potentially our customers wouldn’t have been to either, in order to give their audiences that extra ‘wow factor’. There’s nothing quite like telling your team or customers, ‘here’s where we’re taking you…’ and them looking blankly back and asking ‘where on Earth is that?’! The trouble I found, though, is that with over 3500 people to choose from, 3 days just wasn’t long enough!”
Andi carefully selected some very specific destinations for short, medium and long haul trips. Staying closer to the UK, Andi met with venues and tourism bureaux from Slovenia, Iceland, the Nordics, Malta and many others. Andi was especially intrigued by the meeting with representatives from the Faroe Islands – a place he’d heard about in European and World Cup football draws but not much more. “I can see some brilliant team building / bonding events there [the Faroes] with a massive ‘outdoors’ experience close to the Arctic Circle”. Andi sees the ex-Eastern Bloc belt as the next region to be discovered, with countries like Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia and (Andi’s latest favourite) Hungary opening up to the world and keen to show off their heritage, history and culture. Western Portugal is another target destination for Andi, though with trips coming up to Malta, Tarragona and the Costa Daurada that could change quickly!
Further afield, Andi spent a morning with the South African Tourist board and various convention centres. With relatively short flight times, an all year round warm climate and a similar time zone to the UK and Central Europe, South Africa has so much to offer. From the wonders of Cape Town, Durban and the western coast line, to the vineyards and of course the safari parks. Andi has a wealth of awesome ideas and experiences to ensure your guests have an amazing time.
And for long haul, well there’s the perennial favourite Las Vegas – and yes, it can work for larger groups for a conference / seminar and some evening fun. There’s the standard options like a helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon, or for something different why not try hiking into the Canyon, driving luxury sports cars (Maclarens, Ferraris) at the race track and treks out into the dessert.
We asked Andi about his surprise discovery? “Definitely Argentina. It’s a long flight but having met with their tourist board and representatives from hotels and resorts across the country, it feels like an amazing place to visit, with everything to offer. The experiences and culture is very different to Europe – one for our truly adventurous customers”.
Evolution is constantly seeking out amazing new destinations, venues and experiences for our customers. Drop an email to Andi at firstname.lastname@example.org to pick his brains! There’s no charge for our ideas and suggestions, we’d love to tempt you for your next overseas event or incentive destinations, or show you why you should consider taking your event out of the UK – and show how competitively priced that could be.
As we say at Evolution, every event must be an experience.