THE regional and global meetings industry is confident about Mice business in the region, an element that is evident from the pre-show bookings reported from the upcoming Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM), which takes place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from March 25-27, 2013.
Lois Hall, exhibition manager for GIBTM speaks to TTN about the various highlights at this year’s event.
What can visitors and exhibitors expect to see at GIBTM 2013?
There are a number of initiatives for GIBTM 2013 starting with the launch of The European Market Focus Hour. It provides a full hour of networking between European exhibitors and buyers who have, or will, be placing business in Europe. This will give suppliers in that region a highly targeted platform from which to do business.
Also on the agenda is a series of interactive sessions focused on business travel management, hosted by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE). Sessions will include discussions with Chris Pouney, Director at Severnside Consulting, on his recently released white paper entitled ‘Optimising Business Travel in the Middle East’.
An interactive panel discussion with Daniel Barranger, vice president of Global Sales at Etihad Airways and Thomas Grundner, vice president of Sales at the Jumeirah Group on ‘How to Maximise your Middle East Travel Management Programme’ is also part of the line-up along with an in-depth presentation on how business travel and meetings managers can collaborate to leverage consolidated spend in order to create significant time/process efficiencies and cost savings.
The standalone conference programme will include presentations on Research and Trends, presented by world-leading associations ACTE, SITE, ICCA & MPI; Best Practice and Case Studies; Event Management; Personal and Professional Development; Search Engine Optimisation (SEO); plus the highly-anticipated release of the 2013 Industry Research Report and Social Media. Speakers include David Sand, president of Site Global, Trevor McCartney, director of business development, Qatar National Convention Centre and Gaby Seikaly, managing director of Gulf Circle Tours to name but a few.
For the second consecutive year GIBTM will host an Arabic session where Cultural and Tourism Consultant Ali Al Saloom and founder of AskAli.com will take participants on a Mice101 journey and help them to unleash their creative minds to understand and appreciate how Mice can add value to them and their cities and how someone can create a unique product for the Business tourism industry.
And finally, one of our more unusual and dynamic conference programme additions is PechaKucha 20x20, a completely new style of presentation where you have 20 slides to communicate your topic or idea with just 20 seconds per slide. An innovative and thought-provoking way to engage your audience and keep presentations focused and to the point.
What kind of hosted buyer participation are you expecting and from what markets?
GIBTM 2013 will host the largest number of buyers in the shows seven year history. We have 300 senior level regional and international buyers from leading associations, corporates, destination management companies, agencies and conference organisers, with a total combined budget potential of more than $287 million and decision makers from lucrative vertical sectors including oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, IT, finance and automotive are on the increase.
We have delegations flying in from all over the world from Asia, Europe, North America, The Middle East and The Levant.
What exhibitors will make its debut this year?
GIBTM 2013 will welcome an influx of many new exhibitors this year such as the Madrid Visitors & Convention Bureau, the Serbia Convention Bureau, Cnidus, Georgian National Tourism Agency, Athens Convention Bureau, the Marmara Convention Bureau, Ascari Race Car, Adile Sultan Sarayi and San Francisco Travel, along with the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism – which is making a welcome return to the show after a one-year absence. Technology companies are also making a beeline for GIBTM with exhibitors such as Matrix, Psideo, Show Gizmo and Quick Mobile returning to the show once again.
Repeat participants from the region and key overseas markets include the Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Cyprus Tourism Authority, Hungarian National Tourism, Oman Ministry of Tourism, Sharjah Commerce & Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), TCA Abu Dhabi and the Turkish Culture & Information Office. Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts, Rotana Hotels & Resorts and the Kuwait Hotel Owners Association are among the major hotel groups also returning to the event, with the Bahrain Ministry of Tourism, Etihad Airways and Jordan Tourism Board also all doubling the size of their exhibition stands this year.
Tell us more about the Event Camp initiative? How will the programme add value for visitors and buyers?
The Event Camp is a new feature area on the show floor, which will allow visitors and buyers to experience, learn and interact with like-minded professionals.
The Event Camp programme will deliver real life case studies, strategies for leveraging social media, and new technologies designed to inspire meetings industry professionals and provide them with an opportunity to share their own perspective and review examples of what’s working and what’s new in the meetings and events industry.
The conference programme will also be streamed across the globe, yet another first for GIBTM. This is set to create a social storm with global professionals watching sessions online, being encouraged to comment and ask questions via social channels.
What is new on the Social Media front at GIBTM2013?
Last year GIBTM doubled its twitter following and used twitter as the main line of social contact. Following post show research from GIBTM 2012 it was clear that regionally, LinkedIn has great influence so we have now introduced a new LinkedIn group exclusively for exhibitors. It provides valuable topics and information on the getting the most out of exhibiting at GIBTM.
We also use LinkedIn to spread the word about GIBTM, posting invitations on many large social groups around the meetings and events industry both globally and regionally. This has allowed us to reach out to vertical markets such as marketing and advertising and corporate industries such as oil and gas and finance, who otherwise would not be familiar to the show.
For the first time we have a team member onsite who will be dedicated to social media and making sure GIBTM is being reported across LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter live and throughout the duration of the show.