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Record-breaking ibtm world is a Wrap

ibtm wrapup blog 12_1_17
The 30th anniversary edition of ibtm world had barely ended when Kerry Prince, ibtm’s portfolio director, was already planning enhancements for the 2018 show. Prince referred several times during the week to ibtm’s efforts in analytics and the crunching of 60,000 data points to define the nine most prominent customer personas to deliver a more compelling and relevant three-day conference at Fira Gran Via in Barcelona.

The result was a show record of more than 74,000 appointments—an increase of 23 percent from 2016—and about 3,000 exhibiting companies from more than 150 countries who were joined by just over 3,400 buyers for meetings, networking and education.

There were more than 40 new exhibitors, a 43 percent increase in new buyers and a 22 percent increase in initial appointment match. Organizers extended the stay of more than 100 hosted buyers to enable more time for business while also creating lunch hours to help ease the hectic schedule.

“In the 12 months preceding this year’s event, we spent a huge amount of time analyzing and sourcing data and speaking to our customers to truly understand how we can best service their needs,” Prince said.

In addition to the enhanced Hosted Buyer program, ibtm world introduced a Start-Up Pavilion for new and emerging tech companies and presented keynote speakers—Dame Stella Rimington, author and former director general of the MI5 security service in Britain, and Yancey Strickler, CEO of Kickstarter, the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects—both of whom drew standing room audiences. In all, there were about 40 education session during the week.

“It has been fantastic to see first-hand the positive impact of the changes we’ve made,” Prince said. “Ahead of the event we broke our record for the number of appointments made and not only have we received very positive feedback on the quality of those meetings, and seen deals done on the show floor, but also, we’ve been able to manage and reduce the number of ‘no-show’ appointments, all of which makes a real difference to our attendees.

“Of course, we’re always looking to the future and we’re committed to remaining on the cutting edge of the industry. There will be more innovations to come next year, including the introduction of a third keynote speaker session, following the success of this year’s program. We’re already looking forward to coming back to Barcelona for ibtm world 2018.”

MPI had a strong presence at the three-day show in both education and networking.

Volunteer leaders from MPI’s European chapters gathered to engage and hear updates from MPI leadership on new initiatives, education, certification and best practices.

“We want to continue to support Europe and our chapters,” Darren Temple, chief operations officer at MPI, told the group.

He announced a four-point plan of new initiatives for the European chapter including the addition of Miguel Neves, CMP, to a one-year term beginning in January on MPI’s International Board of Directors (IBOD). In his role, Neves will be tasked with working with the European Council, which serves to help the chapters funnel new ideas and best practices, and to be the liaison between the European leaders and the IBOD and MPI executive team. The growth of the MPI brand, an event strategy in Europe and eventual business development and sponsorship plans were other strategic areas cited by Temple.

MPI conducted a dozen booth education sessions during the show on such topics as “Meetings Outlook, A Deep Dive into the Latest Industry Trends;” “#EventCanvas: Your Map to Extraordinary Events;” “How Meeting Planners Can Change the World;” “Measuring the ROI of Learning;” and a Supplier Meet-up with Ciara Feeley.

MPI and the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) held a joint booth reception designed to raise awareness about the SITE + MPI Global Forum, Jan. 12-14, in Rome.

The MP Foundation hosted Rendezvous, its fundraising and networking event aimed at supporting scholarships, grants and research for Europe’s meeting and event industry. The event was challenged by a taxi strike in Barcelona, but that may have been the only glitch during the week.

“ibtm this year has been really good for us,” said Steen Jakobsen, director of Dubai Business Events & City Operations. “We’ve had an amazing number of appointments, close to 1,000 have taken place over the three days … the engagement that we’ve experienced this week has really been tremendous.”

The annual ibtm Trends Watch report was released and predicted a bright year ahead for the meeting and event industry, thanks to a renewed resilience and confidence driven by the past few years of economic and geopolitical instability.

“Instability is becoming the new normal,” said Alistair Turner, one of the co-writers of the study. Along with Rob Davidson, the two gave insight into trends in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa.

“There’s no getting away from the fact that there is still a period of uncertainty ahead, with several evolving and new economic and geopolitical developments continuing to play out across the globe,” Davidson said. “However, our industry is approaching this proactively, continuing to ‘take care of business,’ both literally and figuratively, which points to a very positive year ahead.”

Prince announced that ibtm, part of Reed Travel Exhibitions, will expand shows in China and Africa in 2018 along with a reconfigured show in Mexico City, ibtm americas, that will include the North American market.

She also reiterated ibtm’s commitment to Barcelona, a city that has been forced to cope with terrorism and political upheaval. In August, a terrorist drove a van into pedestrians on the famed La Rambla in the heart of Barcelona, killing 13 people and injuring at least 130, one of whom later died. Last month, protests erupted in Barcelona over the Catalan parliament’s approval of a unilateral declaration of independence from Spain.

“Barcelona has been a superb host and it has not been an easy year [for Barcelona],” Prince said. “As long as the city loves us coming here, we’ll be here.”

About the Author

Rich Luna

Rich Luna is director of publishing for MPI and editor in chief of The Meeting Professional.