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IMC Convention – Bangkok: not your average kind of convention

Apr 22, 2013
Steve Jordan, Editor, reports on the IMC Convention, held in Bangkok, Thailand.

A report by Steve Jordan

It was a treat to travel to Bangkok, partly because I had never been to Thailand and also because I had been led to believe that the IMC Convention was nothing like any I had been to before.  I was not disappointed on either count.

At first sight, as I swept down in the car from the airport, Bangkok looks like any other big city: high rise buildings, McDonalds posters, and wall-to-wall cars.  You could be almost anywhere.  But step out of the car and the average westerner realises that this is no ordinary place: 37°C and sights and sounds distinctly Asian see to that.

But I was here for a convention, one that was only in its second year, and with a participation list that was largely unfamiliar to me.  This was already setting itself up for something different.

The first IMC convention last year had attracted only 50-plus people.  This time there were more than twice that number so it was clear that good things had been said by those who had attended previously. As I was to discover, there was no wonder they were impressed.

The event was organised by Andrew Rosemeyer of Global Corporate Relocations in Madrid and Patrick O’Donnell from Links Moving in Hong Kong.  Right from the outset the guys and their organising team made sure everyone was welcome.  At the opening reception at the stunning Plaza Athénée, Royal Meridién Hotel, nobody was left out, everyone was included and Dermot Whelan from Links Moving made a point of welcoming everyone formally.  No awkward cocktail party conversations here, just very relaxed, friendly and superbly efficient.  The food was pretty good too but, in Thailand, what would you expect.

But it was not until the following day that the real difference between IMC and the other conferences showed.  After the briefest of roll calls, and similarly concise introductions from Andrew and Patrick, the plenary room was unset and replaced with around 70 numbered tables for one-to-one meetings scheduled over the forthcoming three days.  This sounds like a recipe for organisational disaster but, thanks to some fancy software and diligent attention from the girls at the conference desk, it went like clockwork.  People booked upwards of 30 individual meetings over the three days.  There was no rush, no panic, very little noise, no searching for people in foyers or looking over shoulders for potentially more interesting victims and, amazingly, very few no shows.

The one-to-one sessions were each for 30 minutes at a time during which everyone had the undivided attention of their partners.  People really had the chance to find out what people did, what they needed and whether there was any common ground.  It really worked. I defy anyone to go through three days of that and not find someone to do business with.  Even seasoned conference networkers said they made valuable contacts that they would not have believed possible.

However there was still plenty of time at the social events, coffee breaks and free evening for more traditional networking. Nobody felt short changed.

Speaking to people on day three, everyone was delighted with the convention, impressed by the faultless organisation, and already planning their return visits.  If you didn’t make it this year, scratch out 19-20 February 2014 in your diary, the dates are not confirmed yet so don’t book a flight, but you really don’t want to miss it.  It’s unlike anything you have ever done before and Bangkok is unlike anywhere else you have ever been before.  I guarantee.

Welcome to IMC 2013
Andrew Rosenmeyer, who opened the IMC Convention, introduced what he called ‘The Pioneers’, the people who had attended the first IMC convention last year.  All had returned to Bangkok because they had secured significant business from the previous convention.  What better reason?

Andrew gave particular thanks to Amito Li and Véronigue Bonnet who has been vital members of the organising team.

Patrick O’Donnell introduced the delegates to some of the organisational tools available through IMC’s website and the business partners with whom IMC is currently working.  He said that IMC had around 1300 members which made it one of the largest networks of movers on the planet.  Membership fees would be kept to zero for the forthcoming years with members being required to pay only for the tools they used.  Patrick explained that the intention was to continue to increase the membership base. 

Photos: (top) Andrew Rosenmeyer; (bottom) Patrick O'Donnell

Getting to know people
The first night at IMC was all about getting to know people.  The Royal Méridian Hotel prepared a classic Thai buffet dinner on the terrace overlooking the characteristically ethnic swimming pool and the cityscape.  It was the perfect venue to allow everyone to relax in an informal way, get to know each other, and take in the feel of, what for many was, an unfamiliar city.

Dining Thai st
The main social event of the IMC conference was a dinner held
at the heritage home of  M.R. Kukrit Pramoj, the son of a Thai prince, the founder of the country’s first political party and the country’s Prime Minister fro 1975-76.

Kukrit Pramoj lived a diverse and interesting life.  He was educated at Trent College, Oxford and read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Queen’s College, Cambridge. He fought in the East Asia War, founded the Progress Party in 1945, worked as a journalist and banker, was an accomplished master of Thai Classical Dancing, a writer of over twenty books,  and became a Hollywood actor starring opposite Marlon Brando in the 1963 film, ‘The Ugly American’.

In 1975, Kukrit Pramoj formed the Social Action Party and became Prime Minister on 14 March, 1975.

His heritage home is a collection of traditional Thai houses that has been brought from elsewhere in Thailand over 20 years.  It features traditional Thai miniature trees, similar to Japanese bonsai; a large collection of fine art and valuable items collected over many years of public life.

The IMC party was treated to free access to the home and gardens, a traditional Thai dinner, and a beautify display of Thai dancing that added ambiance, colour, glamour and culture to what became a perfect evening.

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