With just two weeks until the launch of the inaugural Americas Meetings & Events Exhibition, or AIBTM, which takes over Baltimore June 21–23, organizer Reed Travel Exhibitions reports that more than 1,000 hosted buyers have been qualified and registered so far. “They are applying daily so it is expected that this number will increase significantly in the last two to three weeks leading up to the show,” says Steve Knight, project manager, AIBTM. “AIBTM has never been a show looking for large volume, and we are applying a qualification to our trade buyers as well as those we are hosting,” says Knight. “RTE is focused on quality and we are therefore prepared to say ‘no’ if the visitor doesn't match the criteria, and that includes suppliers.”

There will be no shortage of exhibitors as RTE announced in mid-April that 97 percent of booth space had been sold, with more than 700 exhibiting companies scheduled to attend. At the time, AIBTM management predicted the meetings industry’s first-ever large-scale exhibition incorporating a hosted-buyer program would draw more than 3,000 meeting professionals, 2,000 of whom would be qualified corporate, agency, incentive, and association hosted buyers. Knight adds that they are "heading for the best ratio of hosted buyers to exhibitors of any show they know of."

The Professional Convention Management Association is co-locating its annual Education Conference with AIBTM, which will kick off America Meetings Week on Monday, June 20. The PCMA conference continues through Thursday morning at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel.

Tuesday is AIBTM Education Day, where meeting professionals can earn continuing education units toward their Certified Meeting Professional designation. Sessions taking place at the Baltimore Convention Center will include Women in Business, led by Joan Eisenstodt, chief strategist, Eisenstodt Associates, LLC, Washington, D.C.; as well as Focus on Technology sessions, including Exploring the Benefits of Virtual Events, Mobilizing your Events, and Behind the Scene of a Successful Event.

At a Tuesday evening gala, the Convention Industry Council will induct four industry icons into its Hall of Leaders: Fay Beauchine, president, engagement and events, Carlson Marketing; Sandy Angus, chairman, Montgomery Worldwide, a holding company with multiple interests in exhibition and business event production; Christian Mutschlechner, director, Vienna Convention Bureau; and Cliff Wallace, managing director, Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre. Tickets are still available.

The trade show is open on Wednesday and Thursday, when hosted buyers meet by pre-set appointment with exhibitors at their booths. On Wednesday, AIBTM and Meeting Professionals International will announce the MPI Business Value of Meetings research. The international study, conducted over an 18-month period, has found that despite the need for event professionals to prove results for meetings and events, planners are not measuring the fiscal and educational impact of meetings because they perceive it to be a complex process.

Presented by Bill Voegeli, chief researcher and president of Association Insights, the session will enable delegates to learn practical ways to measure and report the business value of meetings, which Voegeli terms “BVOM,” recognize BVOM opportunities within their organizations, and avoid mistakes when establishing BVOM measures and reports.

“What we found was that certain companies and organizations, be they larger or in certain industries like pharmaceutical, were more likely to have begun a measurement program,” said Voegeli. “However, less than 5 percent of meetings were measured for business value, and the assumption of complexity was a main barrier to implementation.”

MPI is developing a toolkit to help professionals build skills that can move them toward a measurement program.

The AIBTM CEO Summit meeting will take place from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 22, in the Baltimore Convention Center alongside the exhibition. The invitation-only event will include 40 CEOs and executive vice presidents representing all sectors of the meetings and events industry to consider current and future issues that impact the industry.

On Wednesday evening, up to 500 AIBTM delegates will have the opportunity to see U2 perform live at the M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, as part of the band’s global 360° Tour. Exhibitors and hosted-buyer group coordinators earned tickets through a sweepstakes drawing.

To qualify as a hosted buyer, visit AIBTM’s Web site.