IBTM World (formerly EIBTM), has re-branded its image to hallmark its global flagship Meetings and Events Expo based in Barcelona Spain for Reeds Exhibitions and is taking on the challenge of providing a meaningful business arena for the Meetings and Events industry. “In an evolving business environment, IBTM World is vital strategic component to our stakeholder’s business plans for the following 12 months and beyond” states Mr Graeme Barnett, Senior Exhibition Director of Reed Travel Exhibitions. In an exclusive interview with Mr Barnett, he discusses how IBTM World plans for the future as it provides a vital business forum for global Planners and Suppliers.
MICExchange.com discussed with Mr Barnett why IBTM World re-branded itself from the familiar EIBTM Barcelona, and how it is meeting the demands of meeting planners and suppliers in a world driven by modern global business communications and new technologies. Just to emphasize how much technology is changing business communications, the interview was conducted internationally via Skype and ranged across a wide range of aspects of IBTM World, which Mr Barnett answered with ease.
When asked whether the IBTM World theme of “connections mean business” remained a central thread to the IBTM World business model, Mr Barnett answered, “The phrase ‘Connections means everything’ is our strap-line and that’s not just for IBTM World it applies for all our events. Without connections, you can’t create face-to-face engagement and you can’t create business meetings …. ‘Profitable business connections’, ” he emphasizes. “It’s about delivering the right Buyers to the right Exhibitors for relevant meetings…. Everything we do is about connecting people together who have a mutual interest in meeting each other.”
When asked how IBTM World intends to stay relevant in a world of digital business marketing Mr Barnett spoke of how the IBTM Brand was meeting the challenge by evolving the format of the event to meet the needs of Exhibitors and Planners as well as providing ongoing resources, Mr Barnett explains, “We have just launched IBTM Inspire which aggregates all of the great content not just from IBTM World but from all the events around the world to provide a resource for the global events community to dip in and out of…we are trying to bring all that great rich content together into one place.” “IBTM Inspire hopes to pull all that rich content that we deliver from China, Arabia, America, India and Mexico – under one easy to access web portal - We are aiming to provide a global hub of rich insight, intelligence and content that meetings professionals can access 365”
Mr Barnett spoke about the educational role of IBTM World, Mr Barnett explained, “… the way that we are formulating and creating the environment for education is changing … peoples needs are changing in terms of how they learn and what they want to achieve.” “The event [IBTM World] is very much being changed by drivers externally, not just technology, but how we as human beings want to interact. The time people have to spend is getting shorter and that is reflected in the program.” Mr Barnett was enthusiastic as he explored the way IBTM World was adapting the floor concept of the event to the needs of Exhibitors and attendees.
When asked how IBTM World is working to support Exhibitors and if this is bringing a change to the way floor-space and exhibition formats, Mr Barnett reveals, “The one thing that I have seen is that Exhibitors are looking for different ways/platforms to get their marketing communication messages across – More and more we find that Exhibitors are coming to us saying ‘we would like to get in-front of a specific segment of the market, how can you help us achieve that’ – either before during or after the show – there is far more going on around the exhibition than there has been before.” “The demand for us to be able to deliver those crucially relevant business appointments is absolutely increasing and it’s up to us as organizers to find unique and innovative ways to bring those groups together.”
When asked if he saw evidence of an “industry disrupter” on the horizon, Mr Barnett had the following comments – “A difficult question – but 10-15 years ago, when the Internet all of a sudden hit, [it was assumed] as individuals the face-to-face exhibition was going to be a dying bread – but as an organization, Reed Exhibitions global goes from strength to strength … that was a major disrupter . and we are still doing a great job of connecting people from around the world.”
The challenge will be ‘How do we ensure that our events whether it’s a trade exhibition or an experiential event are relevant and provide a unique platform and opportunity – How do we ensure that live events .. capture the imagination and deliver for a new generation of people that maybe don’t look events the way we used to.”
It was clear during the interview that the IBTM brand and specifically IBTM World is looking to the future of how it as a global Meetings and Events exhibition provider continues to provide Planners and Suppliers of the meetings and event industry with a forum and event to do business.