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October 27, 2014

Sub-Saharan Africa: More Innovation in Store at EIBTM 2014

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EIBTM, the leading international event for the meetings, incentives, conferences and business travel industry, is back in November this year with some exciting things on the line-up. Reed Travel Exhibitions’ flagship gathering for IBTM events expects to welcome international visitors from over 150 countries to Barcelona, Spain, for three days of exhibiting, conferencing and doing business. Taking place from 18-20 November, the event will see over 4,000 high-level, industry decision makers, planners and buyers from associations, major corporates and MICE agencies make more than 65,000 pre-scheduled appointments during this whirlwind of a show. 

But the sheer size of EIBTM and the leverage that it wields is not its most exciting of features this year. Neither is its business and social environment with over 15,000 industry professionals, nor its cutting edge Knowledge Programme with expert-led sessions. For the first time in 2014, through the new Hosted Buyer platform, exhibitors have been given the option to self-select appointments with buyers of their choice. This means that even more opportunities are in store for attendees, while exhibitors also have the option of blocking appointment slots to facilitate private meetings that are arranged outside the EIBTM appointment system. 

“EIBTM is a classic example of where big is great, but we need to remember that we’re delivering specific propositions to specific audiences and segmenting those audiences, all the time trying to get down to exactly what they need,” says Graeme Barnett, Senior Exhibition Director at EIBTM.

Buyers can now also provide more detail of the business they want to place, while the dedicated Spanish Hosted Buyer Programmer has been amended to facilitate business with international and regional suppliers. 2014 also sees the launch of EIBTM’s My Association, My Club initiative – a new, flexible itinerary for association meeting planners, while the 2nd Meetings Leadership Summit will be taking place at a new venue on 17 November: the beautifully restored, 19th century Modernista Hospital de Sant Pau complex. The Innovation Zone will also be redesigned with a new look and feel, including a digital showcase of leading industry innovations in action, as they are applied to real situations. 

“Whether one-to-one discussions, informal chat over coffee, product demonstration, educational sessions or EIBTM social events, the Innovation Zone facilitates connections that matter across Technology and Innovation and offers an educational, entertaining and inspirational experience. Exhibitors can show the meetings and events industry what they have to offer, spread the word on their innovative products and services, meet future partners and be seen as a key player by an influential global audience,” says Barnett.

Eric Francois, COO of TOPI, attended EIBTM last year and was overwhelmed by the Innovation Zone. “This was our first participation at EIBTM and I would recommend it as a ‘must’ for event professionals and technology companies. EIBTM offered the ideal combination of learning and networking and our presence in the Innovation Zone provided a wonderful international exposure with event planners, potential partners and media outlets. As a young U.S. technology company, we would not have achieved this level of visibility and connections without the incredible support of EIBTM's Innovation Zone. We forged relationships with a diverse group of talented professionals and I know these dialogues will continue for a long time.”

Exhibitors are also in for a treat this year with the addition of Knowledge Sessions specifically designed to appeal to them. These include ‘Neuromarketing for the Event Industry’ with Wenda Kielstra, CEO of Consumatics, and ‘It’s Not All about Size: Passion Wins!’ featuring speakers from European Cities Marketing (ECM) and the International Association of PCOs

The South Africa National Convention Bureau will also be attending the event as part of a delegation from the country. They will have a dedicated South African Pavilion at the show, allowing local businesses to showcase their wares under the national banner. 

But what exactly can Africans expect at EIBTM? And is the international industry turning an eye to the continent yet? David Sand, CEO and Founder of Uwin Iwin and a recognised MICE industry consultant, says that the tradeshow is key for African business travel solution providers. “Today there is more potential for growth for Africa that any continent on earth,” he explains, “DBS Africa will be one of those new African destination business solution providers that will use this platform to tell the emerging story of Africa. Showcasing North, East, West and South African competencies. EIBTM is also a key place to grow personally with great education, experiences and networking. I have always found this accelerated learning within one of the global professional associations, particularly ICCA and SITE. For Africa to truly reach its potential, I encourage all professional or want to be professionals to invest the time and attend.”

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