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September 17, 2013

On Location: Caribbean Suppliers Talk One-to-One Meetings at CMITE

On Sunday night, Caribbean Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchange kicked off at The Cove Atlantis on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. And much like Incentive Travel Exchange back in June, the show is bringing together buyers and sellers for two intense days of one-on-one meetings and networking.

CMITE and the other GMITE (Global Meetings and Incentives Travel Exchange) shows began when Questex Executive Vice President John McMahon was attending a trade show in a convention center and could not hear his own conversation due to the noise. One-to-one meetings, he figured, would maximize the return on investment for both buyer and seller—not just in terms of money, but of time and energy.

As the GMITE events took shape, they have consistently been held in private suites to minimize distraction—but, several attendees noted once the individual meetings kicked off on Monday, there are other benefits as well. 

Atlantis, for example, has been represented at four CMITEs so far, and Executive Director of Global Incentive Sales Chris Wheeler has attended twice. For this show, Wheeler was able to simply gesture out the Sapphire Suite’s windows to demonstrate his product to buyers, explaining the layout of the resort and the specifications of the different spaces just outside.  

One buyer arrived in Wheeler’s suite from the above floor and commented that while she had to hurry to the elevator to get to the room on time, it was an easier trek than in a large convention center, and the hotel rooms were easier to find than a booth on a trade show floor. “It’s more intimate,” she said as she sank down into an L-shaped sofa to watch a video presentation on the resort. “And you learn more.” 

The suites are as quiet as each buyer and supplier want them to be, and the 15-minute meetings mean that plenty of details can be hashed out.  As buyers came and went over an hour, Wheeler answered specific questions about upcoming events planners were looking to organize. Yes, the resort has a shipping partner that can bring supplies in and have a booth or room set up before the delegates arrive. Yes, there’s an on-site A/V team—would you like their number? 

Several suppliers set up hospitality suites for more casual networking. Buyers (and other suppliers) could wander in and discuss a product or industry trends—again, without the hubbub of a bustling convention center in the background. “People here are serious about business,” said Karen Farquharson, marketing manager for Miami Air International, which sponsored one such suite, “and they’re coming in with lots of questions.” Farquharson hosted Miami Air’s suite at ITE back in June, and plans to return to both shows next year as well. “I get to see different people at each event,” she explained, noting that the buyers rarely overlap at the two shows. “I always look forward to seeing new people and making new connections.” Farquharson also praised the small scale of CMITE and ITE: “It’s a lot better for the suppliers to interact with the buyers.”

Maui Jim Sunglasses hosted one such suite, and offered personalized sunglass fittings and suggestions to attendees—along with a complimentary pair of shades. Hannah Winek, a Corporate Gifts Event Specialist, said that offering the sunglasses to event attendees promoted the brand to a wider audience, and that the company could set up similar stations for larger-scale trade shows or incentives. 

Stay tuned for more from CMITE as the show continues, including more about Atlantis and about Paradise Island as a business destination. CMITE is part of Questex Media, the parent company of International Meetings Review.

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About the Author: Jena Tesse Fox

Jena Tesse Fox





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