IMEX in Frankfurt will finally open its 20th anniversary edition to the meetings industry on May 31st. In a multi-video preview of the Iceberg partner show, Natasha Richards of IMEX looks at the high-level IMEX Policy Forum 2022, plus Martin Sirk of Sirk Serendipity discusses multiple issues facing associations after the COVID-19 pandemic.

IMEX Policy Forum 2022

Hosted at the Frankfurt Marriott Hotel on May 31st, the IMEX Policy Forum 2022 will bring policymakers, destination representatives, business events association executives and other thought leaders together for a half-day of intensive, perspective-challenging discussion. Drawing on innovative case studies and some of the industry’s most thought-provoking recent research studies and white papers, the meeting aims to identify and build consensus on critical advocacy issues for destinations and policymakers in a dramatically changed economic and societal landscape. It also seeks to influence the priorities of future research projects, and to align high-level discussions around the world about the value, relevance and impact of business events. IMEX’s supporting partners for the Forum include AIPC, Destinations International, City Destinations Alliance, EIC, ICCA, JMIC and UNWTO along with The Iceberg.

The IMEX Group’s Head of Advocacy and Industry Relations, Natasha Richards, explains…

Natasha Richards previews the IMEX Policy Forum 2022.

Research mentioned and further reading / viewing on the IMEX Policy Forum:

DestinationNEXT 2021 Futures Study (Destinations International)

The Future Role and Purpose of Convention Bureaux (Strategic Alliance of the National Convention Bureaux of Europe)

Business Events are the Fast Track to Recovery (G3 Partners – AIPC, ICCA and UFI)

IMEX 2017: A View of the City (Iceberg video)

A Report from the IMEX Policy Forum 2018 (IMEX Group)


Association Focus

Association Focus is an exclusive day of networking and learning for professionals at all levels, taking place at the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel and Conference Center on Monday May 30th, the day before IMEX in Frankfurt.

Iceberg Ambassador Martin Sirk, Founder and Owner of Sirk Serendipity, and International Advisor for Iceberg partner Global Association Hubs, is a moderator for Association Focus (as he is for the IMEX Policy Forum as well, alongside the legendary Professor Greg Clark, Global Advisor on Cities).

Martin has also prepared the IMEX-previewing associations “State of the Union” video series below.


The Rise of Intellectual Capitalism and the Role of Associations.

In recent years, our understanding of the value of business events has evolved from seeing them in terms of tourism and the visitor economy, to the rise of intellectual capitalism and the knowledge economy.

Martin asks if the COVID-19 pandemic has regressed us backwards, propping up our economic recovery by thinking simply about tourism and bed nights. What does this mean for associations? Meanwhile, how can destinations still leverage their intellectual capital?

Martin also considers how vulnerable the meetings sector is under the imperative of carbon neutrality, and he considers the work of Iceberg partner the Copenhagen Legacy Lab.

The Rise of Intellectual Capitalism and the Role of Associations.

Corporate Community Building and New Meeting Design.

Culture and community are at the heart of every association and organisation. As we increasingly work apart, we still need to gather together every so often to build these shared values, and this requirement offers new opportunities for the meetings industry.

Corporate Community Building and New Meeting Design.

Associations: The Future of Risk Management, Membership Attraction, and Competition.

During the pandemic, associations have had to reexamine their reason for existing. Part of this is entirely new thinking about risk management.

Associations: The Future of Risk Management, Membership Attraction, and Competition.

Advocacy: Did the Sector Fail in the Pandemic?

Martin also casts a critical eye over the industry’s attempts at advocacy during the pandemic. He praises Iceberg partners UFI, #MEET4IMPACT and BestCities Global Alliance, plus Sydney in New South Wales, but notes that the different wings of the industry have different needs and priorities. Perhaps the sector would be more able to speak with one voice, if there were better metrics for the below-the-waterline value of business events? Martin namechecks associations he feels best measure meeting legacies.

Advocacy: Did the Sector Fail in the Pandemic?

Video by Toby Miller.

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