AIBTM Attendee Feedback Confirms Value of Face-to-face Meetings

July 9, 2013

At this year’s AIBTM, Americas Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition, held in June at Chicago’s McCormick Place, event organizers stood by their theme “Define the Future of Meetings Together” and collected feedback during the “Education Day” sessions from attendees about the value of face-to-face meetings.

Eighty-five percent of those surveyed reported that F2F meetings with suppliers were important prior to doing business, furthering the keynote address’ message (given by J. Walker Smith) that in-person connections still are ruling, even in a digital age.

In addition, 84 percent of respondents said that exhibitions and trade shows have the same or more value to C-suite executives, compared with last year, and 85 percent expressed that large internal meetings provided the same or more value.  

The survey also showed that 52 percent of participants prefer external classroom sessions for workforce education and training ROI vs. internal sessions, e-Learning or self-help.

“Feedback from our attendees suggests that in a ‘kinship economy’, face-to face meetings that facilitate familiarity, comfort and trust continue to be one of the most important factors in business success and growth,” said Michael Lyons, Exhibition Director of AIBTM. 

AIBTM attendees also found said they value with being onsite at the event.

Cathy Somerville, executive services administrator with Parata, said, “I … just met someone I've been working with for two years, but have never met her face to face.”

Exhibitors indicated that they, too, made the right connections at this year’s event.

Daniel Schwartz, Dubai Tourism Office, North America, said, “We’ve been with AIBTM from the beginning.  It has been a positive experience and the appointments have been valuable.  We’ve had a range of people with a new interest in Dubai to people who have visited 50 times.”

This year, AIBTM attracted close to 1,000 regional and international Hosted Buyers (subject to an independent ABC audit), with a high percentage of first-time attendees, a 31-percent increase, compared with 2012.

In its third year, the show continues to grow, with the recent one being its largest to date – 707 booths and exhibition partners, 50 of whom were first timers.

The pre-scheduled appointment system also hit new highs, and it is anticipated that approximately 15,000 business meetings took place with Hosted Buyers who had budgets of more than $10.7 billion.

AIBTM is a part of Reed Travel Exhibitions, which also organizers similar hosted buyer events in Spain, the United Arab Emirates and China.

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