Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Comparing IMEX and EIBTM

MICEpoint has been an exhibitor at both, IMEX and EIBTM. They are (as far as I know) Europe's most important MICE trade shows. There are some other (smaller) very interesting trade shows (see the MICE conference calendar on miceconferences.com for more details) but I want to focus on the two largest ones.

Some facts:
EIBTM 2007:
7'218 visitors whereby 3'326 were Hosted Buyers and 3'892 were Trade visitors.
IMEX 2007:
8'310 visitors whereby 3'592 were Hosted Buyers and 4'718 were Trade visitors

Looking back now at EIBTM 2007 and IMEX 2008 (sorry, no figures available yet), I must admit that EIBTM had more qualified hosted buyers and trade visitors then IMEX. While during EIBTM, MICEpoint had 3 diaries fully booked and some times up to 5 people waiting for an appointment at our booth, at IMEX we had one (almost) fully booked diary and very few additional visitors passing by.

At IMEX 2008, about 30% of pre-scheduled appointments did not show up, while at EIBTM only 10% did not show up.

Quantity is one thing but Quality is more important to me. And also there I have to admit that EIBTM is two steps ahead of IMEX!

And if I am talking about trade shows and hosted buyers:
Dear IMEX and EIBTM, please stop bringing organizers who will arrange a conference in 2018 (or similar). I have listened several of these "organizers" who commented something likd "I will enjoy with my wife a nice trip to Barcelona/Frankfurt free of charge". These are not the organizers we want. Quality is more important then Quantity!

Still, MICEpoint will keep exhibiting at both trade shows for the coming year.

What is your opinion?

Thanks to IMEX for the photo!


Warren Zahra said...

Good afternoon from Malta. I read your comments with interest, having just returned from IMEX and having exhibited at both fairs, I actually felt that the quality of visitor was better at IMEX, also all but one appointment turned up which was not the case at EIBTM. If you want any further input would be delighted to help.
Kind regards Warren Zahra - Malta warren.zahra@alpinemalta.com
DMC Alpine Sterling.

Bill Prosser said...

We are a London DMC and we exhibit on the Visit London stand at both shows.

The key thing is the amount of work you put in before the show.

We had a great EITM and an even better IMEX - though I will admit we are strong in the German market.

At IMEX we had 27 pre-booked appointments - which is a lot on a stand with 26 partners. But we did a lot of pre show marketing with personal and mass emails.

We were able to download 1700 namesof hosted buyers to mail from the IMEX website (comoard to 600 from EIBTM) which helped.

We only had one no-show - but we emailed everyone who had made an appointment before the show to see what their area of interest was and this made us well-prepared for the meetings and ensured they turned up!

Bill Prosser
The Competitive Edge

Frank Reichardt C-VARIO said...

Yes regarding appointments I see it the same way as you do. Most of Imex Appointments do not show up, if they come the are no buyers they try to sell. One difference I saw that we did during EIBTM for my company only one new contract. During IMEX we signed several on which we are working right now for End 2008 and several 2009. Yes on both faires we need more Buyers, no business request in 2018, less selling people and less "funtrip" visitors.

Frank Reichardt C-VARIO GmbH

Denise said...

I'm always interested in hearing perspective from the exhibitor side as well as the planner side. Being a hosted buyer at both, I actually had more success at IMEX and felt that the sales people manning the booths were more senior qualified representatives and they were very interested in forging relationships and doing business. I felt that at EIBTM the trade show representatives had some language challenges, were more interested in the aftershow parties and a lot of them were late or missed MY prescheduled morning appointments as they were out late the evening before. I'm sure I'm the exception rather than the rule but I'm there to further my education on destinations, I do attend ALL my appointments and I do visit booths in my free time that appear interesting.

MJHatch said...

I agree that QUALity is far more important to the bottomline than is QUANtity. However, in most cases when the sales manager reports back to the chief executive at home office it is 10x easier and more impressive to simply report the total booth/stand traffic and lead/contact counts to justify participation. The optimum word here is "easier". And in most instances it's still the QUANtity numbers that both the exec and manager will use to influence their decision to exhibit next year; the QUALity of the leads and the ACTUAL sales from those leads are still much harder to document.
What we have begun doing for the expo and fairs we exhibit in is to ID our top 50 or 100 prospects prior to the event. Then we only do our pre-show promotions to them (we really don't want the other "numbers" of visitors, because they will take away time from our QUALity prospects during the show.
Then after the show we can report on the percentage of actual top prospects that actually came to the stand and we talked with. We think a 50%+ success rate is good. And usually we can also document specific upcoming client projects and an estimated dollar value for them. Now, we have some solid (QUALity) numbers that make a great impression on the chief executive, versus a simple lead count that focuses primarily on QUANtity.
All exhibitors need to encourage show organizers to focus more on QUALity versus quantity. It's a win-win proposition for them and us/exhibitors. It will save both them and us money for promotion, travel, etc., and it will make us more money/sales in both the short and long-term as well. MJH

Vince Elias said...

As a buyer, I much prefer IMEX to EIBTM. It might be my perception, as it is not factually checked, but I find there are better flight times to Frankfurt, there are more of the exhibitors I need to see (almost all large chains seems represented and large number of destination stands), the organisation of the show seems much more efficient (I never get lost or have to queue for a cloakroom or a bus that never shows!), the layout at Imex flows much better with plenty or well positioned rest areas when I am sick of the sound of my own voice, the hosted buyer lounge does look and feel like a lounge (at EIBTM, it feel like a sheep pen), staff speaks english. For both shows though, I am still flummoxed about the compulsory destination meetings - in the past, these were never relevant to me, or the destination did not expect us at all (Belgium nil point), or a generic presentation to a group of 10 people from various type of organisations is pretty much a waste of time. I get invited to both shows by various organisation so I also tend to think that the hosted buyer mix is pretty much the same, and both have freeloaders that have no business purpose, but in this industry, the hours are long, the money not always great so you have to expect some people trying to live a bit of a champagne lifestyle on beer money. That is where the quality of the vendor shows when they can assess the quality of a buyer and offering the right freebies to the right people.

Anonymous said...

Promoting EIBTM? Not too subtle, but it’s a matter of opinion… I've attended dozens of shows run by the IMEX organizers and the EIBTM organizers, as an exhibitor, expensive is the first word that comes to mind. As exhibitors, we pay all of the bills in the end. We pay the costs of the exhibit hall, the cost of our stand preparations, our pre and post show marketing, as well as our own transportation and housing. We also pay for the hosted buyers transportation and housing. Does it make sense to do it twice a year in Europe???

My personal observation is that the EIBTM organizers stretch the term buyer further and more often than the IMEX management. I’m not a scientist, but I am however an extremely experienced observer. I realize that nonqualified buyers will slip through the cracks, if they try hard enough, but how much effort is expended on the screening process? How do you count “buyer attendance”? Is it based on the fact that they simply show up? Is it based on them keeping appointments? I met new buyers at IMEX this year. In the end that’s what’s the most important to me. It’s nice to see the traditional buyers and their staff people as well. But, I know several non-decision makers from the same company are different than two or three decision makers showing up with a shopping list of destinations and companies to visit; showing up with an open mind about using new suppliers.

I recall the switch in management at EIBTM and the immediate change in the treatment of the exposition’s true customers… the people who write the checks… the exhibitors. The EIBTM organizers have obviously learned some lessons along the way and to make a go of it, distanced themselves from IMEX geographically and on the calendar. I am surprised the two shows have lasted this long. In the end there will only be one dominant show and it will be the one that delivers added value to the exhibitors in ways that improve their results at the show and through out the rest of the year. Creativity in satisfying one's customers is after all how we all stay in business. Added value is what makes buying decisions happen… think about it.

No one ever seems to mention diluted value… Believe me when I say that the worst feeling in the show is when one of your competitors unethically accepts a hosted buyer invitation and stops by the stand your company paid a small fortune to produce and brags about their free trip to Europe, which you paid for, and all the customers they are meeting in the halls, at the other stands and hosted buyer events… Last week when I asked one of my most loyal customers what he thought the difference was in the two shows; his answer was “well in Barcelona it’s more about the social thing and parties, here it’s about business.”

My belief is that:

· Two European Corporate and Incentive Travel shows are too many.
· Spring dates are far superior to those later in the year that are nearer to Motivation Show in the United States.
· With a hosted buyer scenario, sexier destinations would seem to increase less serious buyer attendance and non-business decisions to attend and take along non-decision maker subordinates.
· That said, it would still be nice to see “The European Corporate and Incentive Travel Show” move around instead of staying put in one destination.
· Measure and motivate good behavior of exhibitors and buyers. This is the “incentive industry”, isn’t it?
· Spend some money on an Incentive plan to grow value and loyalty for your show…
· Keep the costs down and the best way is to settle on one show…
· To me it comes down to the quality of the organizers, based on the above, in my opinion, advantage IMEX. No offense EIBTM, but business is business.