This week, as Bill and Kirsty take IMEX by storm (!) I thought I'd share with you Bill's interview for the My IMEX feature of The Show Daily...

What are you doing at IMEX?

"I’m here to meet with incentive buyers, to strengthen old relationships, forge new ones, to keep everyone up to date on what’s hot in Scotland for corporate incentives and of course to share Hello Scotland’s news, concepts and creative ideas."

How important is the show to your business?

"Very! IMEX provides a fantastic platform to meet a large number of buyers in a relatively short period of time. The quality of the buyers is also high – people come here to do business. IMEX has been fundamental in the growth of Hello Scotland, that’s why we’ve been attending since the beginning!"

IMEX is 10 years old this year. What do you think have been the biggest changes to MICE over that time?

"I think the industry has seen 3 big changes in recent years:

1. Participants expectations – incentive winners are now more world traveled than ever. They have high expectations and the creative boundaries for ‘wow factor’ and ‘money can’t buy experiences’ have been pushed further and further – great for our team as that’s what we thrive on!

2. Unpredictability – the past 3-4 years in particular has been very unpredictable in terms of the number of groups traveling, the group size, budgets and lead times. No doubt this is a reflection of the instability in the world’s economy as a whole and something that we’ll have to content with for the short to medium term future at least.

3. Technology – I mean this in terms of the way we now communicate with our clients. 10 years ago when we were still using fax and phone as our main points of contact, the thought of sharing our incentive program ideas and travel advice with the world was unheard of. Now, there is simply so much information available online that I can hardly keep up with the different ways we can, and are, communicating and sharing with our clients, suppliers and industry partners as a whole."

What is 2012 looking like for business?

"2011 was Hello Scotland’s best year in our 15-year history, so it seemed that topping it, or coming anywhere near it, would have been a real challenge. Yet in saying that, short lead business - with good budgets - has really boomed for us in the past few months and 2012 is turning out to be another busy and successful year."

Any tips on where to relax after the show?

"For me there is only one place I go to truly relax – Arisaig on the West Coast of Scotland. Its vast rugged landscapes, Scottish wildlife and the opportunities for all kinds of outdoor activities means it’s a place of great inspiration for me. Just me, my family and the dogs – bliss!"