IBTM China preview: focus on education and networking

With just under one week to go before IBTM China 2015 kicks off in Beijing, C&IT caught up with Cici Chen, senior project manager of the show, to find out what is on offer for buyers.

China National Convention Center, Beijing
China National Convention Center, Beijing

This year's IBTM China, organised by Reed Travel Exhibitions and taking place from the 5-6 August at the China National Convention Centre, marks the 10th anniversary of the event.

How are preparations going in the run up to the show?
IBTM China is all but done and we are very much looking forward to our 10th anniversary event. Hosted buyer diaries are being finalised, as are the final touches to the show app with all its information. This year the show daily will also be via the app, so there will be no paper waste. We are also putting the finishing touches to the floorplans.

How many hosted buyers and exhibitors are you expecting?
For ten years the event has shifted and changed and this year the quality is yet again a vital imperative to the success of everyone’s objectives at the show. We have focused very hard on delivering quality through not only the hosted buyer programme – with mutual matching so that both buyers and sellers get to meet with those suppliers and buyers they request – but also by filtering the trade visitors. This is to ensure we retain the quality of the event for meetings professionals. We currently have 352 exhibitors from 28 countries, but this will increase through the number of main standholders' sharing partners. More than 80% of the show is represented by those who returned following the success of last year’s event - proving the power of IBTM China. Some 400 buyers will also attend, of which 100 are international and currently we have some 5,925 pre-scheduled appointments.

What's different at this year's show compared to previous ones?
As part of the global education themes developed by the IBTM Knowledge programme, IBTM China will this year feature specific sessions that include trends, procurement, how to develop business connections, how to develop technical and production skills for your events and how to be a 'winner'.

New live feature areas have been created on the show floor, where attendees can network and get involved in cultural activities, including learning about different tea-brewing techniques while sampling local Chinese teas. Artists will be on hand to give leassons on Chinese calligraphy writing and characters and there will be complimentary Tai Chi sessions, as well as a daily lucky draw with prizes donated by exhibitors.   

This year there will also be a dedicated event innovation zone showcasing products that can be applied to meeting and event design, as well as a community hub where you will be able to attend destination presentations and seminars and meet up with colleagues and friends.

What can hosted buyers look forward to?
We will be providing opportunities for both downtime and social activity, as well as the chance to develop more business contacts, but in a more leisurely environment. Some of this year’s networking events include the hosted buyer ice-beaker reception the day before the show opens and the welcome reception on the first day of the show.

There will also be a number of education opportunities, with one of the sessions – led by Danielle Puceta, global channel lead at DoubleDutch and Belinda Doery, regional director APAC at American Express Meetings & Events – discussing the great expectations around the evolving landscape of social media and virtual technology in meetings. Another session entitled "A/V Stands For Added Value" will give the attendees a better understanding of the role of added value and technical production in meeting and event design, as well as tips on how to engage A/V partners to create a better event experience, manage content and improve ROI. 

Any other new features buyers can expect?
There are lots of new and exciting features, including a Community Hub in the middle of the show floor with seminars and destination presentations, which will allow further networking opportunities for both exhibitors and hosted buyers. A big screen above the Community Hub will broadcast industry news, live announcements and videos about the show and attendees can also download the IBTM China mobile app. 

We're also running a VIP tour open to top-level buyers, which will provide exhibitors with an added-value service and an extra opportunity for them to enhance their connections with buyers.


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