Graeme Barnett: “Connections Mean Everything”

Monday, 09.11.2015

Interview with Graeme Barnett, senior exhibition director of ibtm world (Reed Travel Exhibitions), about the next edition scheduled to be held at Fira Barcelona from 17-19 November.

EIBTM has undergone a rebrand to become ibtm world. What were some of the reasons behind this change?

Our new name ‘ibtm world’ (formerly EIBTM) was launched at EIBTM 2014 as part of the overall ibtm events rebrand. It became crucial that each event in the portfolio had a clear position in the industry – locally, regionally and internationally – and the new name ensures that our flagship event is positioned and branded as the ‘world event’.

The underline of the show is “Connections Mean Everything”. Can you please explain?

Connections really do mean everything and each year we strive to deliver as many as we can for each of the participants attending our show. ibtm world sees some 3,000 international exhibitors and a community of some 15,500 industry professionals gather in Barcelona.  Its evolution has seen many new initiatives from the development of the Hosted Buyer Programme to the launch of the ibtm knowledge programme, many social and networking events that run every evening and literally hundreds of co-located industry meetings and conferences that take place alongside what is considered to be the world’s leading annual industry event.

In order to connect all the industry professionals at our show, we have evolved the way we match appointments between Hosted Buyers and exhibitors with what is now called a mutual match appointment system. This provides both parties with the opportunity to select their appointment preferences that the system then matches based on relevance and availability. It means that exhibitors have an increasing say in who they want to meet with which further influences their business diary with a stronger focus on relevance to both parties, providing more control over who they meet with. Already rolled out at ibtm china, the mutual match appointment system is working well.

Lastly, ibtm world is, of course, as much about business as it is about networking. The official ibtm world Welcome Reception takes place onsite on Tuesday 17 November with the theme of SPORT this year.  Then on Wednesday we start with the and the popular world Networking Hour which gives exhibitors the opportunity to organize their own receptions and social activity on their stands and that is followed by the main event – ibtm world Club Night, once again hosted at Opium Mar – probably considered one of the annual industry social events so we urge our attendees to prepare themselves

What are some of the benefits offered to trade visitors this year?

This year we have made it easier for our trade visitors to register and connect before the show by inviting them to register on social media. Pre-registered trade visitors will be able to see who else in their network has registered using the same social media channel to connect, see who else outside of their network has registered using the same social media channel, invite their social network to attend the event and share their attendance with their social networks.

Some additional benefits of pre-registering include: free fast-track entry, flexibility to arrange personal schedules, discounted travel and accommodation, and opportunities to attend a range of networking events and education sessions. Lufthansa Group Airlines, SkyTeam and Emirates will be offering special prices and conditions to all ibtm world attendees, and Iberia Airlines will also offer discounts of up to 50% off National European flights. Renfe will offer 30% off specified routes in Barcelona and Acciona Trasmediterránea will offer 50% off selected ferry journeys. Registered Trade Visitors will also benefit from special discounts when they book with ibtm world’s official DMC, Pacific World. Preferential rates will be available for ibtm world’s Official and non-Official hotel partners.

Will you also focus on the association sector?

Following the huge success of the introduction last year of the dedicated My Association | My Club Hosted Buyer programme and after evolving it further for this year, we will once again provide Association meeting planners with the flexibility of choice that they need to plan their busy schedule over the course of ibtm world.
Association planners can create their own “self-select” and pre-scheduled appointment diaries effectively arranging their own time in their own way and each Hosted Buyer will also receive complimentary flights, or rail travel and transfers, and accommodation in some of Barcelona’s finest 4/5* hotels.

With access to Hosted Buyer lounges for refreshments and lunch every day and a whole range of networking events, ibtm world provides focused and dedicated opportunities that give real business advantage to their events for the coming years.
Last year’s Association | My Club Hosted Buyer programme garnered support from the industry across the world and attracted a truly global representation of buyers; we saw the highest number of independent Association planners from individual associations and societies, up 12% from ibtm world 2013.
What can we expect from the Technology and Innovation Watch Award?

The award showcases innovations set to transform the global meetings and events industry. This year we had more than sixty international applicants for our Technology and Innovation Watch Award, and our independent panel of judges shortlisted ten companies for their innovation, completeness of concept, and the value of their product to the meetings industry.

The Innovation Zone is a unique opportunity for attendees to experience, interact with and learn about these exciting innovations. This year the winner of our Technology and Innovation Watch Award was InitLive for their mobile app, and EventPilot BY ATIV Software, Loopd Inc, Interactio, EventCollab, CDEP by Slidebox ,The Mash Machine by The Mo’Joes, Path Event Learning Platform by Blue Sky Broadcast, SocialPoint Audience Engagement Platform by Interactive Meeting Technology, and app AroundThen were selected as the Top Ten Innovations to showcase the latest technology products, innovative and revolutionary solutions for the global meetings and events industry.
The ibtm knowledge programme looks at the latest industry trends. What happens this year?

This year’s ibtm world Knowledge Programme is set to motivate the industry with a series of sessions that have been lined up to challenge existing thought models and raise the bar when it comes to organizing and planning events and conferences around the globe. Several topical themes run throughout and leading global experts will present on: Connections Mean Everything, Putting Meeting Design into Practice, Tools for Planner Productivity, Industry Engagement, Inspiration from Outside, and Innovative Events and Leading Lights for Leading Events.

The knowledge programme will also include Dr. Rob Davidson’s annual Trends Watch report, which is a real barometer for the industry identifying the key indicators of the sector’s health, including attendance, budgets, exhibitors and revenues.  Early indications of his presentation are that the growth trend is set to continue!