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AIBTM falls short on hosted buyers, but still impresses


AIBTM – Reed Travel Exhibition’s inaugural American meetings show in Baltimore – attracted more than 2,600 visitors, including approximately 740 hosted buyers.

AIBTM was hoping for 2,000 hosted buyers but in the end fell well short of that figure, although it did pre-register another 806 trade buyers it says were heavily vetted.

Nina Gardiner, in charge of communications for AIBTM, said the show was ‘not about the numbers’.

“We could have let anyone in, but Reed wanted to make sure there were no suppliers on the floor. The quality of the buyers is every bit as important as whether or not they were hosted,” she said.

Of the hosted buyers, 14 per cent were corporate, 24 per cent association, and 63 per cent agency.

Steve Knight, project director for AIBTM, said: “We are delighted with the feedback from this first event. We achieved a ratio in excess of 1:1 hosted buyer to supplier, the first Education Day was standing room only, and walking down the aisles you could see business being achieved. We already have 60 contracts signed, representing over one-third of the show for 2012.”

For the first time in the history of the US meetings industry AIBTM held an Education Day aimed at both buyers and suppliers. The programme was overbooked for every one of the 21 sessions, with some of the visitors clearly impressed.

Gary Musich of Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority said: “The format is excellent. For a first-time show it’s awesome. We have seen a lot of new faces, that’s the biggest deal. The industry needed a new format and this is it. We couldn’t be more pleased.”

Meanwhile buyer Richard Gregg of Revent said: “Being from Australia, the American market is opening up, so it’s good to see a show that has so many US destinations. This is the biggest American show I have seen.”

Alessandro Sansa from the Madrid Convention Bureau, Spain said: “We are trying to promote the city of Madrid and attract new meetings business - there are nine cities in the US directly linked to Madrid with flights so we are here to tell the US meetings industry that we are their home in Europe. We have had a great positive experience here.”

Pre-audited, end-of-show statistics show:

Exhibitors -789
Total number of booths - 183
Registered hosted buyers - 740
egistered trade buyers - 806
Total number of appointments - 11,200
CEO Summit - 55
Attending media - 66

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