AIBTM, The Americas Meetings & Events Exhibition, is increasing the number of hosted buyers it will accommodate to 2,000 for its inaugural event in Baltimore in June 2011, a substantial bump up from the 500 hosted buyers AIBTM organizers had originally announced.
AIBTM’s project manager Steve Knight said in an interview this week that co-locating the Professional Convention Management Association’s annual education conference and the Convention Industry Council’s prestigious Hall of Leaders Gala boosted interest in the hosted-buyer program, on both the buyer and supplier side. The PCMA and CIC events will be part of the America Meetings Week educational forum that will be held concurrently with AIBTM June 21–23 next year. Knight added that other industry organizations, including the Green Meeting Industry Council and the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, have expressed interest in partnering in education associated with AIBTM as well.with the
The increased supplier interest also means AIBTM is looking to up the size of the trade show, Knight said, though AIBTM is not yet ready to release the anticipated square-footage increase. “We originally were planning for 300 suppliers,” he says. “Now we have more than 500 suppliers who want to participate.” He stressed that the trade show will consist of more, larger booths in which several suppliers share space, rather than each supplier having its own smaller booth.
AIBTM also anticipates an additional 1,000 planners and other meetings professionals will participate in the event outside of the formal hosted-buyer program, bringing the total number of buyers to 3,000. Of those, he expects 80 percent to 85 percent to be U.S.–based planners. The hosted-buyer format is designed to ensure that qualified buyers meet suppliers during scheduled appointments at the show. The buyers receive complimentary travel, hotel accommodations, and transfers in exchange for their commitment to participate in the program. Registration for the AIBTM hosted-buyers program goes live January 11, 2011.
AIBTM Adds to Value of Meetings Initiative
Meeting Professionals International also announced at its World Education Conference on July 26 that AIBTM has invested in new research that will be part of MPI’s ongoing Value of Meetings Initiative. Consulting firm Association Insights is launching a study on meeting and business events performance. The results will be presented by MPI during the America Meetings Week in Baltimore in June. This study will add to the initiative’s body of knowledge, which so far includes a Meetings Deliver white paper and user guide that can be downloaded from MPI’s Web site.
IMEX America Also to Host Planners
AIBTM is one of two hosted-buyer programs being launched for meeting professionals in 2011. The other is IMEX America, scheduled for October in Las Vegas. Educational programming before, during, and after the show is being planned by Meeting Professionals International, ASAE (American Society of Association Executives) & The Center for Association Leadership, and Site (formerly the Society of Incentive & Travel Executives). MPI will eliminate the marketplace trade show from its World Education Congress in 2011 and is encouraging members to participate in IMEX America’s hosted-buyer program. IMEX America organizers anticipate 2,000 to participate in its hosted-buyer program, and several thousand more to attend on their own.
“There’s room for both shows,” said Knight. “The hosted-buyer model gives everyone more value.”