Adapting to the new world of events: burnout, sustainability and changing client needs - all addressed at IMEX Frankfurt’s pre-show learning

13 May 2024

Event professionals from associations and companies gathered for specialist education sessions earlier today before IMEX Frankfurt opens tomorrow. 

Planners arrived with the desire to take a fresh look at their meetings and events, and with the ever-changing needs of attendees front of mind.

Sonia Cuchillo from the European Central Bank who attended Exclusively Corporate, said: “Attendees want to make the most of their time at an event be it new contacts, new learnings or personal development. Our clients, very rightly, have high expectations and we want to do our best to meet them.

“However it can be a challenge to come up with new, creative solutions for clients when we have to work to defined parameters, with restrictions on resources and budget. It’ll be interesting to see how other planners are tackling this.”

Exclusively Corporate, held at Melia Frankfurt City, was designed to give corporate event planners the, often rare, opportunity to meet their counterparts from other sectors. Representing over 25 different countries, attendees brought with them a broad range of perspectives. A survey of the room showed that the planners had entered the industry via various routes, with official qualifications ranging from marketing, tourism and human resources. What they all had in common at present was resource and budget constraints along with a hefty workload.

One of the sessions at Exclusively Corporate tackled this head on: How to beat burnout was hosted by Grateful Lemon founder Mike Ford. He said: “The amount of rest we’re able to have outside of work has a direct bearing on our professional performance. There’s a clear correlation: physically, mentally and emotionally. We need to learn how to master the dance between stress and recovery.”

  • Photo (left) : Mike Ford at Exclusively Corporate - download image here
  • Photo (right) : 'The Power of Partnerships' session at Association Focus - download image here

‘Burnout is a very real issue’

Attendee Felipe Perez Henao from Digital Bank agreed: “Burnout is a very real issue – it’s tempting to say yes to everything, but it’s difficult to deliver with current resources. Developing close working relationships with our partners really helps to address this. Many of our network left the industry during the pandemic, so we’re now focusing on developing links with the new faces entering the industry.”

Sustainability is also one of the topics close to planners’ hearts as Farah Bhatti from PwC Middle East, explained: “I’m keen to learn more about sustainable events and how to foster a strong legacy – it’s important for the environment. It’s a core value for my country, especially having hosted COP 28 last year.”

Delivering a positive impact on the planet was also on the agenda at Association Focus, delivered in association with ICCA, AC Forum and ASAE.

Evelyn Mansutti from the European Association of Nuclear Medicine, explained: “Sustainability is a challenge. Each year we introduce new initiatives and have begun measuring CO2 emissions, but we now need new ideas on how to make our events more sustainable.”

Jose Luis Mira Mira, UPEI - The Voice of Europe’s Independent Fuel Suppliers, added: “We live in an era where we’re all connected around the world, but sometimes we can be overwhelmed by how much information we receive. Our biggest hurdle is getting across our key messages and raising awareness of the importance of sustainability and the transition to greener energy solutions.”

AI can help support planners in communicating key messages as Veemal Gungadin, CEO, Gevme explained in his session: AI: Artificial Intelligence meets Association impact. "Think of generative AI as your new brainstorming partner,” he said. “It can handle those pesky first drafts of emails, presentations and proposals, freeing up your time for truly strategic work. AI won't replace your creativity, but it’s an incredibly powerful tool to streamline the early stages of content creation”.

Attendee Jasenko Selimovic from the Vienna Medical Academy, said “We currently use AI for research, but we’re at the beginning of our journey. People still don’t know enough about AI and the benefits it can offer - there needs to be more education before we can start to use it properly.”

Association Focus was sponsored by Amsterdam Convention Bureau and took place at the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel. Exclusively Corporate was held at Melia Frankfurt City.

IMEX Frankfurt is currently taking place at Messe Frankfurt May 14 – 16. #IMEX24

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