Conversations…

This year, EIBTM is celebrating its 25th birthday and on this occasion, we at the World Luxury Travel Magazine (WLTM) had a heart to heart conversation with Mr. Graeme Barnett, Exhibition Director of EIBTM. Here’s an excerpt of the conversation…

WLTM: Twenty-five Years of successful EIBTM! What is new this year?

Mr. Graeme Barnett: EIBTM will see a number of new initiatives integrated into the show programmes as part of its 25th birthday celebrations. Firstly, we have developed a new logo reflecting the official “silver” associated with a 25th anniversary and to mark the first of many new initiatives which we plan to announce throughout the year, on the run up to the show in November.

Another exciting show development that will be offered this year is ‘The EIBTM Forum’, our newly launched education and networking-led event taking place the day before EIBTM opens, on the afternoon of Monday, November 26. The EIBTM Forum will provide inspirational and provocative content to set the scene for the three days of business that follows on the show floor as well as providing a new opportunity for the global meetings industry to connect and network.

We are also delighted to announce the venue for our official EIBTM Welcome Party, which will take place on Tuesday November 27 from 7 pm. Everyone attending the show will be invited to The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) where they can celebrate EIBTM’s 25th birthday and network with industry peers from across the globe. The MNAC is situated on the mountain of Montjuic provide stunning views of the city of Barcelona.

EIBTM 2012 will also deliver new advancements in the Hosted Buyer programme. These advancements will see the expansion of opportunities for Buyers who are attending the show. These will include a wider choice of destination airports for key countries such as Germany and the UK as well as flexibility in the duration of their stay.  EIBTM will also be inviting carefully selected ‘C’ level executives who are key influencers in the buying process as ‘Premier buyers’ to the show.

EIBTM is also improving the Association programme at this year’s show, after the post show research from EIBTM 2011 revealed that 53 per cent of exhibitors wanted to meet with more Association buyers on site. EIBTM will be providing a 2 day programme, which will cover topics such as the power of partnerships, the importance of certification, implementing strategies to retain membership as well as how to strategically use content, technology and social networking to extend the reach of annual meetings. The Great Association Debate will be returning to EIBTM this year due to popular demand and will see a panel of industry experts discussing topics, which have emerged from core sessions at the show.

WLTM: Please tell us a little about EIBTM Technology Watch. Please name the past three awardees in this technology recognition scheme for innovation in the global meetings and events sector.

Mr. Graeme Barnett: EIBTM Technology Watch is the most high profile and longest running recognition scheme for innovation in the sector worldwide. Chaired by Corbin Ball (recently named one of the 25 most influential people in the meetings industry) the expert judging panel will be looking for companies to demonstrate new and innovative technology solutions that can make a significant difference to the industry.

This year’s Technology Watch has welcomed over 50 applications from companies and individuals who are seeking to be recognized as the innovators of the industry. The winners of previous years were:

2011: ITN International for its Citywide Attendee Credential System. This creative, yet inexpensive use of NFC (near field communication) allows the attendee name badge to be used as a transit and city tourist attraction pass as well. In addition, it enables attendee tracking, access control and exhibitor lead retrieval. ITN has been a pioneer in the use of NFC for events, and the judging panel deemed this entry as highly original and beneficial to event planners, meeting destinations and to event attendees. www.itn-international.com

2010: Sherpa Solutions for ActivTouch, which provided the ability for show managers and exhibitors to access agenda planning tools, conference alerts, exhibit guides, social networking tools, matchmaking programmes, appointment scheduling, and peer-to-peer messaging using mobile phones at events. www.sherpa-solutions.com/newsite/activtouch

2009: Pathable, the on-line community and social network for conference and events. Pathable’s network technology and private meeting scheduling tools help your attendees meet before, during and after your event thorough a number of technology platforms. www.pathable.com

WLTM: This year EIBTM will extend the show profile beyond the meetings and events industry to incorporate the World of Business Travel. What are the major objectives of this step?

Mr. Graeme Barnett: One of our key objectives with the show is to continually review our offering and ensure we evolve the show to meet the growing demand we receive from all of our stakeholders. The decision to incorporate business travel into the show was made as a direct result of post-show research, which was conducted following EIBTM 2011.

The findings confirmed that 57 per cent of international Hosted Buyers who attended the show indicated that they organise Business Travel and were interested in placing business within that sector. To accommodate this demand, EIBTM will provide an area where exhibitors and buyers from this sector can meet for face-to-face meetings and keep up to date with the latest products and services. We are also offering a stream of dedicated education sessions at EIBTM, which will be provided, through our strategic partnership with the Association for Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE)

WLTM: Please give us some numbers/statistics of participants, networking, registered exhibitors and buyers this year.

Mr. Graeme Barnett: We do not predict figures at EIBTM; we focus on the overall quality of the audience we attract to the event and the return on investment we offer for everyone attending.  We are continuously looking at the quality of the Hosted Buyers we recruit and the value they can add to our exhibitors by supporting them expand into international markets. Every year, the team at EIBTM strives to make the show even more valuable than ever for our exhibitors and buyers and this year we have high hopes for EIBTM’s 25th Birthday, which will also see a range of new initiatives introduced. All said and done, we do independently audit our attendance numbers and EIBTM is the largest international event of its kind to do this, giving our exhibitors complete faith in the attendance numbers that we quote.

WLTM: What is the major objective of EIBTM Education? What are the courses on offer this year?

Mr. Graeme Barnett: EIBTM is renowned for providing one of the industry’s most comprehensive professional education programmes with the key objective of driving the industry forward and developing the knowledge and skills of meetings industry professionals across the globe.  Last year there were over 60 education sessions including dedicated streams for Associations, Agency and Corporates, all of which were very well attended and this year we expect even more attendees.

Programme content and topics will be driven by the industry and we want to make sure that everyone’s time at the show is maximised by providing education content, which is new, up to date and relevant.  There are always topics, which remain pertinent to the industry such as return on investment and procurement. Technology changes so quickly that this is always hot topic and either practically or socially is a thread, which runs through the entire education programme.

We have also introduced a story telling element to the education programme this year, which will deliver energising and motivational experiences for the audience.  There will also be more of a focus within the education programme on creativity in event production through technology such as Hybrid or logistically through creative event design. More updates will follow in the coming weeks so keep an eye on our website (www.eibtm.com) to make sure you are the first to hear about them.

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