Oct 31

Q & A with Graeme Barnett, EIBTM Exhibition Director (2nd part)

Graeme Barnett is a voice with so much to say on MICE industry. The Exhibition Director of EIBTM, the most important fair on meetings, incentive and events industry, accepted to answer our questions just a month before the 2012 edition kicks-off. On this interview’s second part, Barnett answers our questions about Barcelona’s potential as a venue, the economical crisis and much more.

In your opinion why is Barcelona one of the most attractive MICE destinations in Europe?

As one of the world’s leading tourist centres with influences in commerce, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science, the arts and sport, Barcelona is the ideal city for meetings, events, conferences and in our case, EIBTM.

Barcelona boasts excellent transportation links with the rest of Europe and the world, as well as high quality accommodation and meetings facilities. Further to this, Barcelona was ranked in ICCA’s 2011 rankings as the third most popular destination for international congresses (based on the number of meetings held) and we continually receive positive feedback from all attendees of EIBTM regarding how much they love the city and everything it has to offer.

In a world were entrepreneurs can arrive to an agreement with just a click on its computer’s mouse, why do meetings, annual conventions and incentive trips still exist? Is the evolution on communications a threat for the MICE industry?

The growth in virtual exhibitions and communications is a very exciting development within the meetings industry. The use of online has become highly complimentary and supportive of face-to-face meetings, which are still vastly important for doing business. EIBTM is integrating technology into the show programme to open the event to other participants, outside of the live audience through the first Hybrid event this year. The event will enable delegates to retrieve education content online after the show.

EIBTM 2011

Did the global economical crisis also affected EIBTM?

The MPI Business Baromometer report, which was issued in April this year, confirms that “as a whole, the meetings industry continues to evaluate and imagine the myriad ways it can approach the slowly growing, yet violate, global economy”. The report goes on to explain that “solutions to finding better value while lowering risk and spending vary by region” are at the forefront of all meeting planners minds and as a result, EIBTM has remained a strong support platform for the meetings industry during these harder times.

Companies have also changed their marketing behaviour in light of the economic crisis and the MPI Report goes on to explain that “meetings professionals and their stakeholders understand the value of what they do, and continue to face their challenges with conviction. The proof lies in their on-going flexibility and determination as they embrace the recent change with successful solutions.”

Finally, E&TB Group has been attending EIBTM for the past 10 years. What can we do to differentiate ourselves from the competition in order to attract more attention from the hosted buyers?

One of the biggest trends that we have seen at EIBTM is the way in which exhibitors are being more innovative in how they are marketing themselves to their audience onsite. In the current climate, it is clear that people are seeking to gain maximum ROI from their participation. Through participating at EIBTM, exhibitors are encouraged to take advantage of the year round global marketing campaign which exists around the show. We have seen a great increase in the number of exhibitors and attendees who use EIBTM’s social media channels in the run up to, during and after to connect with other attendees as well as publicise their activity onsite.

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Related posts:

  1. Q & A with Graeme Barnett, EIBTM Exhibition Director (1st part)
  2. Next edition of EIBTM coming soon!
  3. EIBTM Technology watch awards 2012
  4. EIBTM Association Program to celebrate 10th anniversary
  5. Interview with Johanna Fischer – Managing Director tmf dialogmarketing GmbH

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