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2016 trends to note highlighted by IMEX

2016 trends to note highlighted by IMEX ( IMEX team identified six ideas and trends in the meetings industry that are likely to be more evident and influential next year.

1. Personalization – is this just the start?

Coca-Cola and Starbucks are already using it, and McDonalds and British Airways are headed in that direction: personalization is hot. It was described in December 2015 by leading UK marketing title The Drum as “one of the hottest topics in the marketing industry today. Consumers today are living seamlessly across different devices and platforms and today expect a highly personalised experience from brands.”

In 2015, Gartner indicated that it will continue to grow and reach its plateau in two to five years. This suggests that this flurry of activity is just a prelude to what may develop next year and beyond.

People like to be treated as individuals and to tailor how they are treated, whether as an employee or a consumer. In sync with this, IMEX has extended the options and flexibility of its hosted buyer program to allow buyers more opportunities to tailor their experience at the show to their individual needs and interests.

2. Data and analytics – underpinning new marketing strategies

Data gathering and analytics that drill down into the behaviors of individuals and groups are essential to personalization strategies so, in turn, there will be an increased focus in this space. Digital marketing expert Mark Goddard said in Forbes magazine that in 2016, personalization “will rely heavily on data integration and customer segmentation.” Also in Forbes magazine’s marketing predictions for 2016, Fintech expert Kevin Brown says: “Marketing and Data Science will be the new Dynamic Duo.”

3. Being human with F2F

The continuing growth of the meetings and conference industry in an era when Skype and video conferencing are established reflects the essential importance and need for F2F contact.

Similarly, in contrast to the data driven approach, marketing expert Alan Hart, founder of marketing consultancy predicts that “Being Human will return to marketing” because ‘consumers want to be inspired and have meaningful and personal connections with brands to move them to buy products and services.’

4. Shared economy – from consumer travel to the meetings industry

PwC predicts that the shared economy globally will grow from a value of $15bn in 2013 to $335bn in 2025. Within the travel sector, from Airbnb to Uber, from Bookalokal to Vizeat, the concept has made enormous inroads among consumers. Next year we’ll see the meetings industry discussing more intensively and proactively how it can and should adapt to this trend and use it co-operatively, with first steps to put words into action being seen.

At IMEX in Frankfurt 2016 this topic will run throughout the show.

5. Community – giving back

Despite living in an age where spare time seems to be shrinking, the drive to contribute and give back through volunteering and programs continues to grow.

In fact in 2013, one in four adults in the US (25.4 percent) volunteered with an organization and 62.6 million Americans volunteered nearly 7.7 billion hours in 2014 (estimated at a worth of $173B)

So while there seems to be an emphasis in today’s society on ‘looking after yourself’, it’s good to see giving back is increasing as well with CSR also taking on increasing importance at meetings and events.

6. Asia – potentially the key growth area for new meetings destinations and venues

The importance of this region is endorsed by the latest annual American Express meetings and events industry report which says that ‘meetings spending is rising globally, led by the Asia Pacific region with 2.1 percent growth expected.’

In the 2012 IMEX Power of 10 study – looking at what the next decade holds for the meetings industry – 46 percent of respondents anticipated growing political and economic influence coming from Asia. This was evident at IMEX in Frankfurt 2015 where booth space taken by countries from the Asia Pacific region expanded by 16 percent. Hosted buyer participation from the region has also increased significantly over the past 3 years.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Emma Ward, ; Chris Lewis,

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