INTERVIEW: Event manger, IBTM China, Nicole Ci

IBTM China

Event manger, IBTM China, Nicole Ci exclusively speaks to Tatiana Tsierkezou about the highly anticipated 2019 edition of China’s leading meetings, incentives and business travel exhibition, which takes place at the China National Convention Centre in Beijing on August 28 and 29.

TTG: What can attendees and exhibitors look forward to at IBTM China this year? What’s new?
This year, we are introducing a brand-new Technology Zone at IBTM China 2019. The Zone is an interactive, educational experience and showcase area for technology and event design, in partnership with DAHLIA+ Agency. It will be a go-to area for delegates to find answers to questions about professional branding, social media usage, digital marketing and tech solutions, to help attendees understand the opportunities around technology within the industry so they can use these learnings to advance their businesses and help them keep up with cutting-edge industry trends and technological developments.

There will also be guided event tech tours specifically tailored towards the needs of hosted buyers, to help them plan and execute outstanding events and establish strong business modules. Also new this year will be two exclusive VIP networking events, a Happy Hour and the Business Travel Digital Innovation Summit. The latter will consider how technological innovation is changing the face of travel management, bringing together around 100 leaders, cost control experts, travel managers, financial directors and purchasing managers to exchange views on business travel compliance, the digital transformation of business travel, best practice, cost control and future trends and changes in business travel.

All Time Aviation

TTG: Tell our readers about IBTM China’s growth over the years and its aim for 2019.
IBTM China continues to reflect the robust pace of growth seen in the region’s MICE industry. The event is going from strength to strength, with over 8,000 pre-planned meetings expected to take place this year (up 20 per cent compared to last year) between over 350 exhibitors and 335 hosted buyers. The number of exhibitors set to attend this year is up 40 per cent compared to 2018 and the number of confirmed hosted buyers for the event is up 18 per cent compared to 2018.

Our aim for this year’s event is to provide as many targeted opportunities for learning and connection among delegates as possible, and we have introduced a raft of exciting new initiatives, such as the Business Travel Digital Innovation Summit and Technology Zone, to help do this.

TTG: What’s in store for year’s Knowledge Programme?
We’ve put together a packed programme of inspiring educational content for IBTM China this year. As ever, it includes a high calibre mix of speakers drawn from a diverse range of backgrounds, with topics specifically tailored to the Chinese meetings and events industry. We’re looking forward to some lively discussions and to continuing to further knowledge and discussion around the Chinese MICE industry.

Influential thought-leader, disruptor and marketer, Kevin Jackson, will be the first in the line-up of exciting speakers for our 2019 event. Kevin will present a thought-provoking session on day one of IBTM China’s Knowledge Programme, titled ‘Growing your business: work less, win more’. As Director of Ideas and Innovation at ‘The Experience is the Marketing’, Kevin takes a creative approach to driving business growth. His innovative methods focus on driving engagement, participation and action, and ensuring that every communications solution involves a memorable and meaningful brand experience.

Kevin will join other speakers including senior director, Mafengwo Travel, Jin Peng, who will discuss product innovation for destination bureaus and future tourism trends; CEO, Mioji, Zhang Fan, who will explore how to create ‘must visit’ destinations; and managing director, VOBE, Steff Berger, who will discuss the importance of effective communication in crisis management.

 TTG: Who will be attending this year? Are there any new additions?
Over 350 exhibitors and 335 hosted buyers are due to attend the event this year, and over 3,500 trade visitors have registered to attend.

International exhibitors will make up around 50 per cent of total exhibitors, an increase of 18 per cent compared to last year. An estimated 38 per cent of exhibitors are first-time attending organisations, including Air Canada, Okinawa Japan, Fiji Tourism, Mariana Islands, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Sydney Conference and Training Centre, Salam Management Services, Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events, Kaluah Tours, Shanghai New International Expo Centre and Tourism Administration of Guangzhou Municipality.

Hosted buyers at the event this year include BMW, Daimler, Danone, MSD, HSBC, Geely, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, Meituan, Lenovo, Boehringer-Ingelheim and Osram.

Over 20 per cent of buyers will be international, with 80 per cent from the Asia Pacific region – including second and third tier mainland China cities. In terms of buyer make-up, 60 per cent will be agency buyers, 30 per cent will be corporate buyers and 10 per cent will be from associations.

TTG: How does the event stand out from other travel exhibitions? What is so unique about it?
Given the increased appeal of China as a destination for business events, IBTM China is an indispensable event for the region, as we bring together around 3,000 high-profile international and domestic MICE delegates each year, uniting global suppliers with highly qualified Chinese and international events and meeting planners for two inspirational days of business, networking and education. IBTM China’s role is to deliver a platform for professional and personal development, tangible event solutions and educational content that inspires and advances the industry.

We are committed to ensuring that our event programme provides the best platform to foster formal and informal connections, and we work hard to ensure we attract the highest calibre hosted buyers and match them with our exhibitors using our matchmaking tool.