While the Americas Meetings and Events Exhibition, which debuts June 21-23, 2011, at the Baltimore Convention Center, announced last spring that it will co-locate with the Professional Convention Management Association’s 2011 Education Conference, the specifics of that arrangement are just emerging.
According to Reed Travel Exhibition’s AIBTM Project Manager Steve Knight, PCMA’s meeting will begin on Monday, June 20, rather than its traditional Sunday. On Tuesday, while the PCMA meeting is in full swing, AIBTM will open with an education day, with sessions presented in conjunction with partner groups such as the Convention Industry Council and the International Association of Exhibitions and Events. These sessions will not be connected with PCMA’s educational events. However, Knight says “we are looking at ways to intermingle.”
Tuesday is also expected to be the day Meeting Professionals International presents the findings of new AIBTM-sponsored research for its Value of Meetings Initiative. And on Tuesday evening, CIC holds its Hall of Leaders gala, a black-tie event honoring innovators and leaders in the meetings and conventions industry.
On Wednesday, AIBTM’s exposition opens. PCMA’s meeting continues all day, but its attendees will be served lunch on the show floor and given time to walk the aisles. Wednesday evening, the AIBTM welcome party will be a joint venture between AIBTM, PCMA, and Visit Baltimore.
PCMA’s conference wraps up on Thursday at 11 a.m., and buyers from that event will be welcome to attend the AIBTM expo’s final afternoon.
Knight says AIBTM’s Baltimore location is likely to draw a strong showing from the association market. “Is our biggest audience sector going to be the association market? Yes,” said Knight, “but the hosted-buyer program will bring in corporate buyers as well.” Knight is expecting to draw 2,000 hosted buyers, about 35 percent of whom will be U.S. planners who do international meetings, 60 percent U.S. planners who do domestic meetings, and about 5 percent international planners who bring groups to the U.S. AIBTM registration opens in January.