Chicago. AIBTM 2013 took place in Chicago from 11 to 13 June as part of Americas Meetings Week with the theme this year of “defining the future of meetings together”. It kicked off with a record attendance at Education Day with a keynote from J. Walker Smith one of the leading U.S. analysts on consumer trends, addressing nearly 1,000 attendees in a packed auditorium on the value of face-to-face meetings in the kinship economy.
Just one of 35 sessions, and workshops over the day on trends and topics for industry education that ranged from the art of social networking for your career to the role that colorful nutrient-dense food plays in helping the body and brain thrive and from technology to ways to set up successful partnerships. Over 3,700 attended the Education Day with sessions supported by the industry’s leading global associations and offered attendees over 30 CEU accreditation hours.
This year AIBTM attracted close to 1,000 regional and international Hosted Buyers (subject to an independent ABC audit) with a high percentage who had applied to attend for the first time, a 31% increase over 2012.
With over 50 new exhibitors included in a total of 707 main stand holders and exhibiting partners, the show was the largest to date. With a pre-scheduled appointment system that also hit new highs, it is anticipated that some 15,000 business meetings took place with Hosted Buyers who had proven budgets of more than $10.7 billion.
At this year’s Market Focus on Europe session, Robert Hatfield of Origin Event Planning said; “At AIBTM I have got an idea of what’s going on in Europe without travelling there. I am seeking new locations and opportunities”.
Hosted Buyers came from not only the local Chicago area but from across the Americas and beyond representing Agencies, Corporates, Association, Government and Business Travel.
This year saw an exponential 165% increase in Corporate Buyers over 2012, and a 15% increase in Incentive Buyers. At the same time, trade visitors also increased (subject to audit) by close to 40% adding to the business opportunities on the trade show floor. In total more than 3000 industry professionals took part in the first AIBTM Chicago.
Michael Lyons AIBTM Exhibition Director reflected on this year’s show. “AIBTM has combined business with a whole range of new industry talking points that affect us, from brain food to neuro-marketing, future events experiences to meeting design, social engagement and content marketing, to the collision of the generation gap. The interaction of our debates, education sessions and crowd sourcing has given us insight into how we will build on the theme of defining the future of meetings together when we take AIBTM to Orlando next year. We have some solid blocks from which to start this process in a few week’s time!”
Lyons added: “We also want Americas Meetings Week to provide content for everyone in the industry not just here in the US but globally, that is not just available for a few days but creates a valuable knowledge base that the industry can tap into at anytime, anywhere. So we have brought the show to the world online. Almost every aspect of AIBTM from education to interviews with key industry figureheads, exhibitor views, buyer opinions, and the thoughts of the experts, is now all on www.aibtm.com”.