THE world we live in is being re-shaped every day by emerging technologies that connect and engage individuals all over the world, allowing people to contribute, share, express and debate information in real-time. New technology also affects the way businesses are run today, and that consequentially impacts all aspects of the meetings industry.
Social media now plays an increasingly important role in today’s communication, originally seen by some as a personal means for communicating; businesses have now realized the important role social media can play in creating a dialogue with potential and existing customers. Social media is changing the way people interact and overall people are connecting more than ever. At the Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM) we are using a variety of social media channels to engage with exhibitors, buyers, visitors and those in the meetings industry and beyond. We are active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube and believe in the importance of social media and its significance for the future of the meetings industry. For example, meeting planners can engage in real time with their industry peers for recommendations and advice and social media forums allow buyers and sellers to interact on a much more personal level. Companies not using social media as a strategic instrument are missing out on being part of the ongoing conversations.
Results of a recent survey by INCON, a partnership of the world’s leading conference organisers and event management companies, show that the importance of technology in the meetings industry has almost quadrupled in 2011 compared to 2010. Social media is becoming increasingly crucial to the Mice industry; reducing lead time, encouraging discussion and facilitating relationship building and allowing professionals to connect over business prospects. There is a growing need for information about destinations, hotels, airlines etc., and via social media, business travel professionals can access information as and when they need. An online presence gives meeting planners the chance to increase audience engagement, provide sponsorship opportunities, share ideas and offers and receive feedback in real time. Although social media is not a replacement for face-to-face meetings, it is another means for facilitating meetings and business travel.
At this year’s GIBTM our education programme will highlight the importance of technology and social media in the meetings industry. Numerous educational sessions will address how industry professionals are integrating the voice of the traveller and leveraging emerging technologies to enhance the management of business travel and corporate meetings. Topics such as the use of technology and social media in events will be discussed to provide key insights into current and future trends.
GIBTM 2012 is introducing a Technology Zone, a separate section of GIBTM dedicated to technology, and a mobile app, which is designed to meet the individual needs of all show attendees by providing access all the latest information at the touch of a button. The app will contain all exhibitor and show information, venue maps and floor plan and direct links to all social media portals. It is available to download free of charge and will be a tool that all attendees can use to make the most from GIBTM, pre-show, onsite at the show and post-show.
To download the show app please visit www.gibtm.com.You can connect with GIBTM on Linked in, Twitter and Facebook to find out the latest news and updates.
GIBTM 2012 will take place from March 26 – 28, 2012 at ADNEC in Abu Dhabi. For registrations, visit www.gibtm.com.
By Lois Hall