The IMEX Group had to cancel their spring Frankfurt event due to the global pandemic, and instead decided to give back to the industry by hosting a virtual free event
Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX group, and her team planned to host their IMEX Frankfurt event live in May. However, the growing pandemic upended their plans, as it did for most of the world. They needed to quickly assess their upcoming strategy to readjust for the changes ahead. By mid-March, they had to announce the cancellation of IMEX in Frankfurt. Carina notes, “Covid-19 had a devastating impact, not just on IMEX Frankfurt but also the whole ecosystem that supports a show like IMEX both in Frankfurt and around the world... it had an impact right across the industry.”
The IMEX team wanted to give back and do something for the industry in this time of need. They assessed the elements they would usually include at one of their shows, ultimately identifying which portions they could pivot to virtual in just six weeks. “We looked at everything that we do at IMEX; wellbeing, educational content, networking, 1:1 business appointment,” Carina explains. “We broke those apart and thought about how we can deliver these online in a way that was unique to IMEX and could bring a little joy to people while they sit in lockdown. Those were our guiding principles.”
In order to deliver on the event, the IMEX team needed a comprehensive strategy. “We broke the show apart, looked at all those individual elements, and we split the teams into groups to investigate the different elements of it, such as the tech platform, running the educational sessions, and things like the IMEX run and the networking elements.” The rapidity of the turnaround meant this strategic approach could best serve the needs of the internal teams as well as the attendees. She adds, “This was the best way to do it at the speed in which we needed to deliver it. From conception to delivery was about six weeks.’
They utilised an effective combination of Cvent’s registration tool, the CrowdCompass mobile app, and an integration to 6Connex for their virtual environment. This was all connected to their 3D virtual Planet IMEX island that they created as a central hub for information on all aspects of the wider event. Everything needed to be seamless, including the intricate branding details from the birds chirping in their 3D virtual island to the colour association of their rooms.