Global News Updates

Business booms at IBTM World 2019

More than 2,700 hosted buyers from 77 countries attended this year’s event in Barcelona.

IBTM World 2019 took place this week (19-21 November 2019) in Barcelona, with more than 74,000 pre-scheduled business meetings taking place and a three per cent increase in the number of visitors.

More than 60 per cent of hosted buyers participated in IBTM World for the first time this year, 51 per cent of whom were completely new to the entire IBTM portfolio. More than 2,600 exhibitors from 150 countries attended, with a notable showing from China (with a 450 per cent increase in net space compared to 2018). 

Sabina Linke, executive director, acquisition & marketing, Nürnberg Convention, said: “For us, IBTM World is always the highlight in our annual trade show calendar; it is the perfect end to our busy year.

“The potential for doing business on the show floor is very strong and we have had very good appointments and talks with great quality leads as a result. Somehow the unique, open-minded and relaxed spirit in Barcelona is different to that at other trade shows. Maybe it is the destination, maybe it is the team, maybe it is both.”

Max Simpkins, MICE Sales Manager, Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard London, commented: “We’ve had a fantastic show and have picked up £600,000 (US$800,000) worth of enquiries as a result of attending IBTM World, as well as some really strong leads.”

He added: “There’s been a very international vibe this year, with lots of buyers from Asia Pacific and America, and we’ve also met with numerous incentive buyers.”

Birte Buchwald, Managing Director, B Italian commented: “Absolutely this show has been successful; this is the place where we meet our most important clients. It is a very professional and well organised show, and this is one of the main reasons we come here. 20% of my meetings have been with new clients and already on the show floor we have signed a contract for an event with 150 people.”

Corporate buyers bring business

More than 2,700 hosted buyers from 77 countries attended this year’s event, with delegates from globally-renowned brands such as Google, Adobe, ICBC Bank, La Caja Seguras, BBVA France, Dell, Whirlpool and BMW. 

The number of association buyers was up up nine per cent on 2018, with corporate buyer numbers up three per cent. The newly introduced Elite Corporate Programme was well received and provided an opportunity for senior event planners from the likes of Hewlett Packard, Salesforce, MetLife Insurance and lululemon to share ideas and connect with peers.  

Hosted buyer, Fong Ling Loh, Manager from AIA Malaysia’s incentive travel unit, said: “This is my first time attending IBTM World. I have really enjoyed it; it has been very informative, and I am looking forward to returning next year. As a result of attending this show, I have arranged to make exploratory visits to Sweden, Thailand, Amsterdam, and Korea next year.”

Nurturing new talent

This year’s event saw the introduction of IBTM Accelerate, a new zone on the show floor designed to attract and nurture entrepreneurial talent. The zone incorporated exhibitors and education sessions that gave delegates the opportunity to learn from other successful MICE entrepreneurs and share ideas.

IBTM Accelerate also hosted the culmination of IBTM’s new event incubator, Event Business Accelerator (EBA), designed to nurture and inspire entrepreneurial talent.

EBA’s nine finalists participated in two days of live pitching in the zone, with the hope of securing funding and on-going mentoring. Nanna Ulsøe and Jane Houlind Ulsøe, founders of Canvas Planner – an online task and collaboration tool – were crowned overall winner of the scheme, taking home a cheque for €5,000.

IBTM’s inaugural Global Policy & Practice Forum (GPPF) took place on the eve of IBTM World.

Developed with the support of Barcelona Turisme Bureau, JMIC and PCMA, the Forum brought together a group of 30 of the industry’s leading destinations, meeting planners and associations to discuss how business events can both influence and impact wider policy, particularly in the field of healthcare, and drive economic development and social change. 

The discussions that took place during the forum will be used to deliver a research paper that will be shared across the industry.

Commenting at the close of IBTM World 2019, David Thompson, Exhibition Director, IBTM World, said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the feedback we received during this year’s event, especially when it comes to the quality of meetings and the business opportunities generated.”

He added: “This year we delivered a total of nine new features at the event – including the Elite Corporate Programme, our IBTM Accelerate Zone and IBTM’s inaugural Global Planning and Policy Forum – all of which were very well received.

“One of my personal highlights was seeing and feeling the buzz at our new Accelerate zone. Most of the education sessions in the zone were standing room only and it was a truly inspiring experience to learn from the finalists in our EBA mentoring programme.”

During the event, IBTM announced that it has signed a new three-year contract with Barcelona Convention Bureau and Fira de Barcelona that will see IBTM World take place in the city up to and including 2022.

The new contract builds on the existing 15-year relationship between the three organisations, with the next edition confirmed at Fira Gran Via for 1– 3 December 2020.