Kerry has been working in the corporate event industry in conferences, summits and tradeshows for the past 20 years designing, executing and managing events across the globe. She started producing conferences in the Public Sector and transitioned into IT and telecommunications events before moving into general management positions responsible for managing a wide variety of events and teams.
Q: What are the vital statistics of the 2017 ibtm world?
The ibtm portfolio’s flagship show, ibtm world, is now in its 30th year and is the leading global event for the meetings, events and incentives industry. Taking place in Barcelona from 28 – 30 November 2017, some 3,000 exhibiting companies representing over 150 countries will attend and over 70,000 pre-scheduled meetings are set to take place over the three-day event.
ibtm world delivers three inspirational days of business, networking and education to a community of international suppliers and buyers, helping drive their business into the future. The show attracts over 15,000 elite international and domestic MICE delegates each year.
This year we are celebrating our 30th birthday with a spectacular 80s themed birthday party, plus lots of other exciting birthday celebrations.
Q: What have been the keys to ibtm’s success?
ibtm has a strong and successful history gained over 30 years in the industry. Because of this knowledge and experience, we have been able to refine our offering over the years, ensuring that we always deliver tangible value for attendees. The MICE industry is constantly evolving and we pride ourselves on listening and adapting to the ever-changing needs of the market.
We always look to innovate through every aspect of our business to ensure that we remain ahead of the curve in terms of our offer and that we continue to deliver the very best service for our customers, who are at the very heart of everything we do.
This year for example, in response to feedback from our exhibitors and Hosted Buyers, we are rolling out an invitation-led Hosted Buyer process. This allows us to be even more targeted in ensuring the very highest calibre Hosted Buyers attend, and enables us to be more responsive to our exhibitors’ needs, meaning that we continue to offer the very best opportunities for doing business successfully and efficiently.
Q: What makes your trade show different?
One of ibtm world’s key differentiators is its market-leading Knowledge Programme. We continually develop this programme to ensure the most up to date content for attendees, giving them tangible learnings to take back to the workplace on the latest industry talking points and developments. At ibtm world, we regularly attract world-class speakers and this year we are hugely privileged to be welcoming Dame Stella Rimington, author and the first female director general of MI5, the UK Security Service. Given the current climate, safety and security is a much discussed topic, and we know from our customer research that it is a subject about which there is huge appetite from our attendees to learn more.
At ibtm, we are also proud to be playing a leading role in supporting and inspiring the industry to take a sustainable approach to business and events. As such, this year we are a Platinum sponsor of Positive Impact’s campaign to tell the story of the power of events in support of the UNWTO International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
Positive Impact will be unveiling their latest research at ibtm world 2017 and we will be hosting a panel session during the show, attended by the UNWTO. The panel will discuss the findings of the research and further the debate on the global role the events industry plays in bringing people together to create solutions for the future.
Another area in which ibtm world stands out is its market-leading Innovation Zone and Technology and Services Zone. Footfall to these zones increases year on year as they provide a much-anticipated opportunity to discover and interact with the latest new and emerging technologies and solutions.
Q: Where is the greatest competition and how do you face this?
There is plenty of space for more than one event to operate effectively in the market. Competition is a healthy thing and we continue to run very successful events which are growing year-on-year.
Q: What trends are you seeing in the global meetings industry?
Over the last few years, we’ve seen the impact of Millennials on the MICE industry. Millennials value being constantly connected – to their phones and to apps – often live streaming events for their social media feeds and recording their show experiences in real time on social media. This is an exciting new development for our industry and one to be embraced.
Another trend we have noticed is the trend for experiential marketing, with many of our exhibitors meaningfully involving event planners in what they have to offer and in doing so, creating a lasting impression of their brand.
Q: What do you see as crucial marketing elements to lure meeting planners?
Our enhanced Hosted Buyer programme, which sees ibtm events pre-selecting and qualifying Hosted Buyers, is a fantastic benefit to Hosted Buyers as it allows them to be fast-tracked through the process. As a result of the move to predominantly invitation-led, the registration process for Hosted Buyers has been reduced by approximately two thirds.
A select group of elite invited Hosted Buyers will benefit from a new VIP experience which will include limousine transfers to and from the airport, access to an exclusive VIP lounge for the three days of the event, 5-star accommodation and a more flexible diary of appointments.
Hosted Buyers attending the event benefit from multiple networking opportunities as well as ibtm world’s market-leading Knowledge Programme which provides attendees with innovative and inspirational educational content; a major draw for attendees, with numbers at the sessions increasing by 15% year-on-year in 2016.
The ability to pre-select over 30 one to one appointments in advance of attending allows Hosted Buyers to make maximum use of their time at the event.
Q: What is the value of tradeshows and exhibitions?
Despite the growth in remote access technology over the years, people still place a high value on face to face contact; the maxim that people do business with people remains as true as ever. Whilst at ibtm we embrace new technology and the important role that it plays in our industry, trade shows and exhibitions provide a unique environment for making meaningful in-person business connections and help bind an industry together as a community. Not only that, but they also provide a platform for customers to interact personally with businesses, through the use of immersive and experiential marketing.
When exhibitions are highly tailored, by matching exhibitors with Hosted Buyers for example, they provide an unrivalled opportunity to connect a business with its target audience in a focused and targeted way.
Q: What’s your top tip for meeting planners?
Plan your time; ibtm world is a huge event with over 3,000 suppliers and over 50 different knowledge sessions, as well as lots of on-floor feature areas and networking opportunities, so it can be a bit daunting. Decide what you want to achieve and what you want to experience in advance in order to get the best from the event.
Event planners can apply to become hosted buyers and make the most of our matchmaking technology. The event’s sophisticated matchmaking system pairs Hosted Buyers and exhibitors based on their profiles and preferences, creating mutual matches which then allows Hosted Buyers to pre-select appointments with those they are interested in, in advance of the event.
Make the most of the fantastic networking and educational opportunities on offer. Invite-only networking events create further opportunities for those all-important face-to-face meetings, and knowledge sessions cover valuable industry insights and the latest trends in meetings and events. Learn from the experts, share best practice and enhance your professional skills whilst building your network.
Finally, enjoy it!