Imex hosted buyers cite importance of face-to-face in 2011

UK hosted buyers told C &IT that business growth and industry optimism have attracted them to Imex this year.

GDS International travel procurement director Lauren Heal is attending Imex for the first time after the events and media company has experienced growth in its business.

The 100 events the business organises this year is expected to double in 2012, said Heal, leading to a need to add new preferred suppliers.

"We didn’t see the need to attend Imex before but because we have grown so much I am looking for new partners," she said. "It is about building up contacts."

For Transatlantic Business Council chief executive John Baldwin, who attended Imex last year, the most important element is meeting face to face with destinations where he is planning events.

"It is a good meeting point as we are planning our Transatlantic Investment Conferences in Frankfurt, Vienna and China in 2011 and 2012," said Baldwin.

Meanwhile, Manchester-based Euroworld Sports chief executive David Shepherd said the industry seemed "more optimistic".

"Last year was the first time I came to Imex and this year seems like a brighter show," he added.

US-based Opus Solutions vice president of global accounts Kimberly Kopetz said her company is expanding globally, driving a need for new suppliers.

"We are seeing a lot more of our US-based clients asking to do global events. We want to make sure whoever we pick in terms of DMCs will represent us well so it is important we meet face to face," she said.

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