IBTM World 2015 continued to build on its success story built over 28 years as a premier Meetings and Events EXPO. The event has evolved since its inception in 1988 in Geneve, Switzerland. Formerly known as EIBTM, its rebranding and premier place under the IBTM Events portfolio has opened the doors to explore event formats that provide even greater exhibitor attendee interactions.
Reed Exhibitions and has signed an extension to its partnership with Barcelona and Fira de Barcelona reconfirmed that the event will remain in the city for the foreseeable future, meaning that IBTM World is able to plan for the events growth as it currently attracts over 15,000 meetings professionals to the city each year with an estimated economic impact of some €60million.
MICExchange spoke to numerous Exhibitors during the event and the consensus was that the event felt more intimate and kept a flow of attendees on the floor that increased its “buzz”. Exhibitors added to the excitement and sizzle over the Networking Happy Hours…. Live bands, dance, and competitions entertained attendees and created a loose informal time to “talk shop” and make contacts with people who would normally not have the opportunity to
IBTM World 2015 saw several innovations on the show floor that worked towards adding value and networking opportunities. MICExchange spoke to Mr Graeme Barnett, Senior Exhibition Director, ibtm world on the show floor – he was enthusiastic about how changes had impacted the event, “It would be the way we have transferred our education program from the upstairs conference center to down onto the exhibition floor – that has made a massive impact on the number of people that have attended the education sessions.” He continued – “ One of the by-products has been that it does’t take attendees and hosted buyers off the exhibition floor. Exhibitors have said that visitors can ‘pop in and out’ – so there is more of a flow of visitors and hosted buyers.”
Mr Barnett said that the objective every year for the event is to provide the stage for buyers and suppliers to meet, do business and connect through networking. This year the buzz was obvious from the moment we opened. . As a team, we focus on delivering a quality experience because at the end of the show there are only two things that matter – happy exhibitors and buyers who leave having achieved everything they set out to do here this week.” He continued by noting that ibtm world looks and feels very different from its early inception, constantly evolving and innovating to stay ahead of the market. 3,000 global exhibitors and 15,500 industry professionals gather to attend each year and the Hosted Buyer Program is still at the heart of the event, guaranteeing top level decision makers and high level business opportunities.
The sense of intensity was apparent at practically all exhibitor stands. Representatives were busy and in demand. As a general ‘rule of thumb” – if you can speak to a let executive, their diary is not full, it was apparent that most were in high demand and often did not have time for “cold calls” and some quick appointment balancing was often in order to speak to key representatives. Between Hosted Buyers, Media calls and attendees networking and looking to do business, it was apparent that the event floor and a feeling of engaged intensity.
The show floor design played a subtly but welcome change in that areas were set aside for a short snack, break or even ad-hoc meeting away from the intensity of exhibition stands. From the number of attendees engaged in brief meetings or busily checking mobile schedules or sending emails, it was obvious that people were intent on doing business. The Media Center was in constant flow as journalists attended Press Conferences, ducked out for interviews or hunched over computers to post live reports.
My Hosted Buyer colleagues were at first unsure about the bracketing of appointments and breaks, but they found that the time between appointments was about right and that the appointment blocks allowed time to be flexible and either catch your breath or squeeze in an extra meeting. The feeling was that the appoints scheduling seemed to work well.
Is there room for improvement, of course – even Graeme Barnett admits that if the event does not evolve it will become irrelevant and IBTM World has no intention of doing that. Mr Barnett comments, “There is a 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.” “As an organization, Reed Exhibitions global goes from strength to strength, 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 is clear that IBTM World is continually listening to the feedback from exhibitors and attendees and ensuring it provides an engaging event that provides the opportunity for business and keeping its strap-line firmly in mind –‘Connections means everything’ – ‘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.”
See you at IBTM World 2016 !