IMEX Association Day, the annual event exclusively for association professionals, will feature a new, extensively researched and redesigned programme when it takes place the day before the IMEX in Frankfurt exhibition in May.
The IMEX team has collaborated with planners from across the globe to gather views and experiences before creating this new structure to meet audience requirements even more effectively.
Restructured Association Day
The restructured Association Day programme will feature a new Association Management Stream, covering topics such as understanding why members leave and how to persuade them to stay. There will also be two Meetings & Events Streams (A & B), addressing issues such as how to maximise member participation at events, and how to identify and approach new sponsors.
Each session is case study led with the emphasis on sharing best practice. Time for peer to peer discussion and networking is also factored into the day.
The Association Management Stream, hosted by ASAE, has been specifically designed for those in senior positions. Managing associations through turbulent times; developing an effective volunteer strategy and how to engage with future generations are among the topics to be discussed. Speakers include senior executives from the European Golf Course Owners Association and the Entomological Society of America are set to share their knowledge of ‘membership engagement and retention strategies’.
Annalisa Ponchia Baccara CMP CMM, CEO, European Society for Organ Transplantation (ESOT) is part of a discussion and round-table debate on ‘Small association management’. She shares some of her advice:
“Always start with strategy. Great events start with a strong, thoughtful and measurable strategy with clear objectives and goals. Have a clear business purpose for holding the event, then make sure that you proceed in line with reaching these goals.
“With limited resources and budget, a small events team must plan ahead to ensure key priorities are addressed and identify areas where additional support may be required.
“Close working relationships with other departments ensures the event team has a thorough knowledge of all areas of the organisation, their objectives and activities. This helps with knowledge sharing – crucial in a small events team where members often take on more than one role. A sound knowledge of the business will also lead to identifying areas where these departments can collaborate and support each other.
“In short, creativity and flexibility are the watch words here. Be flexible with changes in size, location and other details and don’t be afraid to get creative – often ‘relatively’ small events offer more possibility to experiment with new formats and developments than larger events.”
Trends in meeting and design formats
Davi Kaur, head of the congress unit at the European Cancer Association, will deliver a session in Meetings & Events Stream A on ‘how to create a world class event’, with a case study covering all aspects from event format to attendee experience and legacy. This new Meetings & Event Stream, chaired by the ICCA, will cover how to develop effective partnerships with convention bureaus and trends in meeting formats and designs. Speakers include Juliane Leyva Gonzalez, Congress Manager, European College of Sport Science and Roy Palmer, Executive Director, Association of International Seafood Professionals. It ends with a roundtable discussion on dealing with international cultural issues.
Managing events with a small team
Meetings & Event Stream B features a case study presentation on ‘how to attract and retain more sponsors’ with speakers from the British Bankers’ Association and the International Diabetes Federation. Roger Simmons, regional sustainability director of the MCI Group and Charlotte Balling, event manager at Danish Maritime Days, will both address ‘How can associations make their events more sustainable?’ Together they will cover the importance of embedding sustainability as a core value for the industry, how to encourage attendees and suppliers to make sustainable choices and how to measure success and value generated from sustainability efforts.
This stream will also cover: top tips for effective programme and content development, negotiating global hotel contracts and managing events with a small events team. Other speakers include Christine Gouillard, Head of Congress Account & Scientific Programmes at the European Society of Cardiology and Charlotte Balling, Event Manager at Danish Maritime Days.
Open to all levels of association professionals registered to attend IMEX as either hosted buyers or visitor buyers, Association Day offers a valuable opportunity for peer to peer education and networking, allowing participants to understand the successes and challenges faced by other associations.
Peter Reckling, from the Association of Social Work and Criminal Justice in Germany, who attended last year, says: “This is the one day each year when I can look outside of my job and at the world outside…..and the future.”
Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, explains: “We wanted to ensure that we offer content that is a real benefit to association professionals at all levels of seniority and experience so we consulted more extensively than ever. The resulting programme is really strong and, as always, we have some excellent and highly motivated partners to thank for their expertise and contributions.”
The free afternoon of education, co-delivered by ICCA and ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership will be followed by the highly regarded networking reception, Association Evening hosted by Marriott Frankfurt.
IMEX in Frankfurt takes place at Messe Frankfurt from 16 – 18 May 2017.