In Dana Travels, Design, Trade Shows

IMEX Frankfurt is a great tradeshow for the international meetings industry. A key element is that the show hosts meeting buyers (brings them in for free) and real business is done. Last year (2010), over $2.1 billion worth of meetings were booked. This year, the number will be even higher.

The show has terrific energy and is lots of fun. Everyone seems to understand that we are in the hospitality business and that it ought to be fun. Lots of great food and wine and smiles and laughs. But the backbone is that real business is being conducted.

I walked the floor nine different times and I decided to identify the five best messages (branding) put forth by Exhibitors. I chose them for their attention-grabbing quality and positive portrayal.

Here they are:

The Estonia booth: This Baltic State has created a stunning booth through the use of banners that float at seemingly random heights and make you feel like you are walking in a bucolic yet primeval forest. Some of the banners are high in the air and expand the sense of space in the booth significantly. Others are at ground level and thus create separate spaces – but not really. The whole thing works and, in comparison to some of the more complex structures, is affordable.


The Brazil booth: The backdrop of the booth is a very large – wide and tall – wooden matrix of square shelves. Within the shelves are displayed Brazilian artifacts – anthropological art, sculpture and traditional tools and utensils. Just beautiful in its simplicity. And then cocktail hour arrives and the booth turns into a celebration of the sensuality and sexuality that is inherent to Brazil. We all want to hang out there.


Congress Alliance’s “Orange Lady”: This one you have to see to believe. An attractive and stately woman is tinted orange from head to foot. It’s like a Day-Glo orange that seamlessly covers every inch of her – hat, face, dress, legs, shoes, etc. Weirdly appealing.


The Portugal booth: The combination of high tech and old-time artisanal makes for a perfect combination of modern messaging and cultural heritage. A large digital display that begins on the ground for five feet and then takes a vertical/right angle change of direction and goes six feet high shows graphic and photographic images and then announces the scheduling of various tastings of Portuguese products like olives, olive oil, bread and wine. The tastings are fun and informative.


The foie grois served at the Paris booth for lunch: Giant loaves of pate shaped exclusively from foie grois. The real thing. Absolutely delicious. With the right, minimalistic accompaniments. And Parisians hangin’ in the booth who acted like this is an everyday occurrence – no big deal.


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