Interview – Jaime McAuley IBTM America Event Director – Business Networking

IBTM America-Jaime McAuley

IBTM America-Jaime McAuleyibtm america 2016 which will take place in Nashville, June 15-17, 2016 and will be the first event of its kind in the US to create a unique business networking event where professional meeting planners will meet with suppliers for appointments selected in a mutual match process.  Professional buyers will be pre-qualified to attend from the US, and around the world.  Ms Jaime McAuley, Event Director, ibtm america states, “This is a unique method of ensuring that both parties at ibtm america have control of their time and investment at the event, knowing they have back to back appointments that are totally at their own request, matching their business objectives” 

ibtm america, part of ibtm events, has confirmed that the 2016 event will take place from June 15-17, 2016 at the award winning Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, ranked in the top meeting destinations in the United States.  The show format will now allow for 2 days of intense business with up to 30 appointments and a third day dedicated to discovery of Nashville and industry education.  The ibtm America Chicago event saw some 5,200 pre-scheduled appointments take place in a new style, closed door event where both exhibitors and Hosted Buyers took part in a pre-show mutual match system where each selected who they wanted to meet and do business with.  Professional buyers will be pre-qualified to attend from the US, and around the world.

MICExchange spoke to Event Director of ibtm america, Ms Jaime McAuley on how the show format has developed and what are the main drivers that focus the value for exhibitors and planners.

Video Interview with Jaime McAuley, ibtm America Event Director

Ms McAuley points out, “ibtm America is strictly for the US market and our focus is inbound and outbound business – 50% of our floor show are international suppliers and the other 50% are US suppliers.  To this, we have 80% US Planners and 20% are international.  The criteria for them to be accepted is that they are required to place US business to attend as a hosted buyer.”

“The goal of our show is to build a community for all of the buyer and the suppliers can network with each other,build relationships and connect and build an experience together.  For the first time, IBTM America will be doing a discovery day – that means we are bringing all our buyers, suppliers into Nashville so they can experience Nashville as a destination.”

Ms McAuley was enthusiastic when presenting the destination, “Because Nashville is is such a “hot destination” in the US, it is in high demand –  there is a lot of new MICE business happening and they are building many new hotels to meet that demand. The fist day is really an “ice breaker” with country music and the Nashville CVB will be involved – then day 2 and 3 are when all the appointment will take place.”

When asked how strict the selection criteria were for exhibitors and planners to ensure that attendees were provided the best business opportunities, she responded, “The selection criteria is very strict and are met with in person to ensure that the recruitment is totally relevant. Buyers include  corporate and incentive planners and association buyers such as IBTM America welcomes those from the bigger associations from within the US such as the American Buyers Association – if they have business to place and its current and relevant and meet our selection criteria they are a good fit for our show.”

She continued – “IBTM America is a one-to-one event where we have an equal number of suppliers and planners – and we are expecting over 200 suppliers and planners to come to our show this year. We are engaging in a mutual match process where Exhibitors will select the buyers they want to meet with through a sophisticated software system and planers will pick who the want to meet with and they are matched up.  When the diary is open, they can send requests should they have gaps in their appointment list to each other – we want to make sure that their appointments are truly relevant and meets their business needs.”

When asked about how the feedback from previous event in Chicago has shaped future event formats, Ms McCauley answered, “We have received really good feedback from the show  – we always like to receive feedback in order to make improvements the the show.  One of the things that came forward was the need for a ‘pure mutual match’ – and this is why we have made this change  – there are no ‘filler appointments’ or appointments that are not relevant, so now attendees have total control over who they want to meet with.”

“The reason why any exhibitor will exhibit at our show is strictly because they are interested in the American market.  We don’t want international planners meeting with international buyers – they come to IBTM World for that – our show is strictly for the US market.”

When commenting on how IBTM America fits in a global arena from a US perspective, Ms McCauley answered, “If a US Planner is looking to do international meetings – we know that there are key regions so we try to target those specifically.  A lot of the incentive houses in the US do do a lot of international business because they have such a wide client base – each client has different needs depending needs of the client from large Fortune 100 company to mid-sized corporations.  We are really trying to ensure that the majority of our US planners have international business to place.”

ibtm america, will take place from June 15-17, 2016 at the award winning Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville.  The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center is a luxury resort showcasing some of the best meetings facilities that Nashville has to offer.
“As part of our strategy to experience the most dynamic business destinations, we are delighted to be not only taking ibtm to Nashville, but to be using the spectacular facilities of this world class resort” said Ms McAuley.

ibtm America Chicago 2015 showcased 181 main stand holders, with an average of 29 average number of appointments per exhibitor.  The Hosted Buyer programme brought professional planners from 19 countries as well as the US with qualified Hosted Buyers from : agency/incentive (57%), Association (15%), Corporate (27%) and Government Research (10%) sectors.  Exhibitors representing destinations (36%), hotels/resorts (37%), technology and event services (10%) and other areas (17%)  with attendees from North America (75%) and overseas (25%).  ibtm america is the only industry event in the region to bring international and regional Hosted Buyers and exhibitors together in a mutual matched one-to-one ratio format.

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