The Professional Convention Management Association has announced that it will co-locate its 2011 Education Conference with AIBTM (The Americas Meetings and Events Exhibition) next June in Baltimore and it has struck a deal to have the Virtual Edge Summit, a meeting about virtual meetings, co-located at PCMA’s annual meeting in Las Vegas, January 9-12.
AIBTM, which debuts June 21-23, 2011, at the Baltimore Convention Center, is expected to draw 3,000 meeting professionals, including 500 hosted buyers who pre-schedule one-on-one appointments with exhibitors of their choice. Event organizer Reed Travel Exhibitions has announced that the Convention Industry Council’s Hall of Leaders Gala will also be held on Tuesday, June 21, during what it calls “America Meetings Week.”
PCMA announced the partnership with AIBTM at its 2010 Education Conference, which just wrapped up in Montréal (June 13-16). It is the first time PCMA had expanded its annual June Leadership Conference into a meeting for a broader audience. “Our members will not only benefit from our conference but from doing business with leading U.S. and international suppliers at AIBTM,” said Deborah Sexton, president and chief executive officer at PCMA. PCMA had about 400 attendees at its 2010 conference. Neither the January annual meeting or June education conference has ever had a or exhibit component. According to Steve Knight, project manager for AIBTM, PCMA will have “no revenue share involvement with AIBTM.” AIBTM will also offer its own education program, which will include input from other industry partners, he adds.
PCMA has been providing education for EIBTM programs for years, so it already had a relationship with RTE, says Brad Lewis, vice president, marketing and communications, at PCMA. The 2011 PCMA Education Conference will take place June 20-23, overlapping the dates of AIBTM. On June 23, PCMA attendees will have free time to visit the AIBTM trade show floor, said Lewis. The two groups will also share an evening event.
In addition, there will be some opportunities for PCMA attendees to participate in the AIBTM hosted-buyer program, but those details, and other crossover opportunities, have not yet been worked out. With the location of the event and access to AIBTM and the CIC Hall of Leaders Gala, PCMA believes the co-location will lead to continued growth of the conference.
AIBTM hopes to draw 3,000 “largely North American buyers” from associations, corporations, government, and third parties, as well as 300 North American and international exhibitors to Baltimore a year from now. Those 3,000 will include roughly 500 hosted buyers, 1,500 “partially hosted” buyers, and 1,000 buyers who will not be hosted, says Knight. Hosted-buyer registration opens on January 11, 2011, at AIBTM’s Web site.
In May, AIBTM announced the following exhibitors had signed up for the event: Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, Austrian National Tourist Office, Condor Travel, Essence of Bali, Government of Dubai, Mexico Tourism Board, Monaco Tourist Office, NYC & Company, Silversea Cruises, Skyteam Global Meetings, Eugene/Travel Lane County, and Wedgewood Travel. RTE also organizes global meetings and incentives events in Barcelona (EIBTM), Abu Dhabi (GIBTM), and Beijing (CIBTM).
At the PCMA Education Conference in Montréal, Sexton also announced that the Virtual Edge Summit will co-locate with PCMA’s Annual Meeting next year, which takes place January 9-12 in Las Vegas. The Virtual Edge Summit, a face-to-face event geared to meeting planners and marketers who plan, produce, and market virtual meetings, was held in Santa Clara, Calif., in 2009 and 2010. The 2011 conference will begin immediately after PCMA ends on Wednesday, January 12. PCMA members and attendees will have a chance to attend some Virtual Edge sessions for free on the afternoon of January 12, and PCMA has extended its discounted room rates for Wednesday night. There will also be opportunities to attend Virtual Edge sessions on Thursday, January 13. More details will be available in the coming weeks, said Lewis.