60 seconds with... EIBTM's Graeme Barnett

With just two weeks to go until EIBTM kicks off in Barcelona, C&IT caught up with the show's senior exhibition director Graeme Barnett on what's new for 2014.

EIBTM Senior exhibition director Graeme Barnett
EIBTM Senior exhibition director Graeme Barnett
What’s new for EIBTM in 2014?

The short answer is lots – from exhibitors on the show floor to topics in the Knowledge Programme. But there are two key major changes that we think will influence the appeal of EIBTM this year.  The first is the introduction of a new flexible option for the association planner with the creation of ‘My Association, My Club’. They choose the planning of their diary, they stay together in their own Hub hotel and have their own Club Lounge on the show floor. As a result, we already have more individual association planners than association management companies, a good sign that our initiative is working. 

We have also opened the online diaries between exhibitors and hosted buyers. For the first time, exhibitors will now be able to request additional appointments with hosted buyers following the initial appointment match. This should deliver another major business opportunity for exhibitors. There is also the Innovation Zone that will give entrepreneurs and technology talent an area to showcase their ideas – interactive, and hands-on, live demonstrations – and will interest everyone who wants to see what their events could look like in the future.

How are numbers looking for this year compared to 2013?

We don’t focus on numbers, but we do independently audit EIBTM every year, so before this year’s show opens we believe we will be welcoming some 15,000 meetings industry professionals, which includes more than 3,000 exhibitors from 150 countries, representing destinations, hotels, venues, technology and event services.

On the exhibitor side, we have many first-time suppliers this year, including: Visit Faroe Islands, Royal Hotels & Spa Resorts, Prestige Hotels & Resorts, Eurostars Hotels and D Design Communication Systems.

Returning exhibitors also include: Visit Portugal, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Kempinski, Marriott Hotels, Shangri-La, Japan National Tourism Organisation, Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau, Finland Convention Bureau,  Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions, German Convention Bureau, Paris Convention Bureau, Barcelona Convention Bureau, Moscow Exhibition and Convention Agency, Argentina Tourism and many more.

We are also expecting more than 4,000 hosted buyers from associations, major corporates and MICE agencies, all from various industries and economies ranking in the top 10 of the world’s highest current GDP and also those ranked to be in the top ten by 2050. Finally, we also expect to welcome several thousand visitors from Europe and across the globe.

What are you most excited about?

Introducing our new initiatives, meeting with our buyers, suppliers and visitors and listening to their feedback, and meeting
up with industry colleagues over the week at the networking events. Also, I love Barcelona, so delivering EIBTM with my team is the biggest high of the year.

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