Exhibition manager, ibtm Arabia, Shinu Pillai

In the run up to the highly anticipated 10th edition of the show, exhibition manager, IBTM Arabia, Shinu Pillai shares all with Panayiotis Markides about what the prestigious event has to offer.

TTG: Now in its 10th edition, what is new with the 2016 edition of the show?

This year we are delighted to confirm a number of exciting new developments with regards to the show. Firstly, there will be an increase in the total number of buyers attending. Further to this, we have witnessed a substantial increase in the number of Hosted Buyers from the Middle East who has applied to attend.

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We’ve also seen an increase in the number of corporate buyers applying. That’s not all. We will be hosting Buyers who will be attending the show for the first time, with 80 per cent of those buyers coming to the show with a budget of five million dollars or more. There will be an exciting new Discovery Day packed with great sightseeing, education and networking.

With regards to location, for 2016 we are delighted to confirm that we will be hosting our event at The Jumeirah at Etihad Towers on the famous promenade of Abu Dhabi with views of the Arabian Gulf and Cityscape. The Jumeirah is an iconic development showcasing some of the best meetings facilities that Abu Dhabi has to offer. The luxurious five-star hotel offers prestigious features such as exquisite hotel rooms, fine dining, a health club and Talise Spa and two levels of boutique shopping at the podium. The property will create the perfect setting for bringing together meetings industry professionals from across the globe.

TTG: How will IBTM Arabia stand out among other regional exhibitions?

One of the aspects of ibtm arabia that really make it stand apart is the fact that it’s part of a global portfolio of events. This opens up so many opportunities for exhibitors participating in the event. Our ibtm events portfolio unites global and regional communities of suppliers and buyers on five continents around the world. It is also the catalyst for over 120,000 face-to-face meetings every year.

The value of our event is evident in the impressive and global line up of companies represented by buyers attending the show this year, including those from Coca-Cola (Poland), AW Europe (Belgium), Peugeot Citroen (Russia), Korea Railroad Research Institute, Provident Global Capital Group (Hong Kong), Abbott (the UAE), Cognizant (the UK), Tata Capital Financial Services (India) and Kuoni MICE & Special Groups (Switzerland) as well as buyers from other countries in the Middle East and beyond including France, Germany, Portugal, the US, Latin America, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Hosted Buyers confirmed to attend ibtm arabia this year organise a variety of events; 90 per cent organise conferences and meetings, 80 per cent incentive travel, 71 per cent business travel, and 59 per cent luxury travel. Confirmed Hosted Buyers this year have also indicated a variety of product interests: 88 per cent indicated an interest in hotels, 80 per cent in Destination Management Services, 66 per cent in conferences/meeting venues, and 63 per cent in attractions and entertainment.

TTG: What are the successes of the 2015 show that you are keen to build upon, and how?

Post show research confirmed last year’s event to be a huge success with 95 per cent of both exhibitors and Hosted Buyers saying they were satisfied with the event and the business they did. ibtm arabia 2015 delivered more than 3,000 mutually matched and pre-selected appointments over the two days of business meetings.

Returning as a result of the success at ibtm arabia this year, suppliers include:  Arsenal Football Club, Etihad Airways, Matrix Audio Visual & Entertainment, Melia Hotels International, Rotana Hotel Management Corporation PJSC, Rovos Rail Tours, San Francisco Travel Association, Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau and United Nations Conference Centre – UNECA to name a few.

This year our key objective is to replicate the success of our 2015 event and deliver an event that is truly tailored to meeting the business objectives of all of its attendees.

TTG: What can attendees expect from this edition?

Each year ibtm arabia creates a true industry community, where participants stay in the same hotel and attend the same activities, from meetings to lunch, drinks to dinner. It’s about working hard and playing hard too to develop genuine relationships and real business. ibtm events are not about the size of an event, it is about making that event 100 per cent valuable to all attendees.

All of our exhibitors will have access to the pre-scheduled appointment system, which means they can choose from the world-class corporate, association, agency and incentive buyers at the show who is relevant to their business needs and schedule appointments with those Hosted Buyers. This year there is expected to be an increase in the number of appointments between Hosted Buyers and exhibitors at ibtm arabia, with each exhibitor predicted to have a schedule of up to thirty appointments.

This year we will again be incorporating the format of “meeting pods” to in the show, which last year’s exhibitors found to be simple and time-efficient:  there is no stand building, exhibitors just supply a graphic to illustrate their product and to brand their pod, then they are ready for business.

The ibtm arabia 2016 experience will also include a ‘Discovery Day’, combining a dedicated Knowledge Forum with networking and activities around Abu Dhabi which will invite buyers and exhibitors to discover the Middle East and specifically the region’s leading MICE products and services while enjoying exclusive networking events.

TTG: In terms of speakers, is anyone interesting lined up? How will these benefit attendees?

This year, we’ve got a really great keynote speaker lined up for the Knowledge Forum.  Carol Talbot, a world-class motivational speaker sets out to empower people and help them think differently about their approach to work. Her objective is to support people towards creating and delivering a vision for themselves, which will ultimately accelerate them towards succeeding in this industry.

Carol will highlight the difference between those who attract success and those that don’t. She will also share some of her top leadership tactics, which will provide attendees with useful tips around how to influence people.

Our education content has been fully tailored to the audiences’ needs, ensuring that it is relevant to exhibitors and buyers alike.