Asia Pacific Australia News

Q&A with Get Global co-founders

As regional competition heats ups, these event organisers say ‘it takes balls’ to stand out in a crowded market.

Following news that Reed Travel Exhibitions will introduce ibtm APAC in 2020, we sit down with co-founders of Sydney-based show Get Global, Gary Bender and Donna Kessler, to talk competitive advantage and what it takes to secure industry backing.

Does the business events industry in APAC really need another regional event?

Bender: If we were only talking about the Pacific nations, probably not. However, everyone is talking about Asia as the biggest growth area in the APAC region, not only in terms of hotels and venues but delegates to fill them, so yes, there is probably room for another regional event.

What does this mean for Get Global?

Bender: It means we have to raise the bar and continue to improve each year. I think because both Donna and I are in the industry as buyers and sellers, we know what works. This is part of what makes Get Global unique, but we are up against the big boys.

Kessler: What it means is a dilution of budgets across the market. The industry will determine whether an event is a success or a failure with their attendance – there is not an endless pot of money to attend these shows. We’re lucky we can engage and discuss the event with our stakeholders, tailoring the show to ensure we provide tangible ROI for exhibitors and buyers.

What do people want to see/achieve at a trade show?

Bender: We have espoused this since day one – it’s about delivering ROI. For exhibitors, we filter out the time-wasters, only allowing senior buyers focused on international products. When cash is coming out of a local budget and the hosted buyers are coming from other parts of the world, the local office will never see that return. Get Global is for the Australian and New Zealand senior players looking at international business. 

ROI for the buyer is similar, you need to get the right people and connect them with the products they want to see, not just herded around from appointment to appointment like sheep.

What does it take to create a good trade show?

Bender: Putting your money where your mouth is… or as I like to say, balls! Listening and learning from past events and working smart, are also key. 

Kessler: Do your homework. Talk, listen and deliver on expectations.

Do you believe the industry behind you?

Kessler: It has taken time, but yes. In the beginning we had a swell of support, then people got nervous and moved back to a show because it was comfortable, even though it wasn’t delivering the ROI for them. They wanted to sit back and see what we delivered. Based on feedback they are moving over and embracing a new way of doing business, which is great news for us.

Where do you see Get Global in five years?

Bender: There’s no question that we are up against it; both AIME & Get Global are being swamped by the other APAC shows. There is enough business to go around from the Australian/NZ market, so it will come down to what show will deliver the product, the attendees, the most effective use of time and the ROI. We think Get Global will be that show. 

Kessler: Continuing to grow in both exhibitor and buyer numbers. More product. Always evolving for the market and looking for innovative and new ideas.

Get Global 2019 takes place on Friday 26 July at ICC Sydney.