This year’s AIBTM, the Americas Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings exhibition, scheduled for June 11-13 in Chicago, is planning a considerably higher level of networking platforms to enhance the attendee experience.
“We asked attendees, suppliers and industry stakeholders to provide their reactions to their past AIBTM experience and current needs,” said Michael Lyons, Exhibition Director, AIBTM. “Several common themes emerged from their input. They told us they wanted additional opportunities to meet, share ideas and solve problems with colleagues.”
As a result, AIBTM’s theme this year, “Defining the Future of Meetings … Together,” has had significant influence on the program planning and scheduled events for the show.
On June 10th, the evening prior to education day, AIBTM will take early-arrival hosted buyers, media and exhibitors “out to the ball game,” where the Chicago Cubs are scheduled to host the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field.
On June 11, AIBTM kicks off with a world-class CEU-accredited education program featuring topics on globalization, technology and business management. The opening luncheon keynote will feature J. Walker Smith, principal of The Futures Company. The day concludes with a networking party at Navy Pier, featuring the “Best of Chicago” – a culinary and musical experience showcasing Chicago’s finest eateries and music.
Beginning June 12, there will be one-on-one networking opportunities on the tradeshow floor at McCormick with other meeting professionals facilitated through a number of special events and affinity group lounges on the show floor, including:
- Market focus sessions that have been expanded to include new regional spotlights on Latin America and Asia as well as the return of the Market Focus on Europe. There will also be fast track, intense educational sessions on the show floor to expand learning in a timely and convenient way.
- A new feature this year is the “speaker’s showcase,” which will take place in the lecture theater. Professional speakers will have an opportunity to present samples of their talks in a 20-25 minute time frame, giving audience members a chance to see multiple speakers over the two days of the show.
- The return of the “future events experience,” showcasing the latest and most advanced technology, products and services that help meeting professionals plan more efficient meetings.
- The “refresh zone” is an area where exhibitors and buyers can relax, recharge, rejuvenate, network and have a little fun in between appointments and walking the show floor. Diversions will include games and other fun activities.
- Executive chef tastings from Chicago’s leading hotels.
On Wednesday evening, PCMA will host “Party with a Purpose @ AIBTM.” Beginning at 9 p.m. through midnight, at the hottest nightclub in Chicago, The Underground, the party supports PCMA’s Education Foundation offering new scholarships through AIBTM and Choose Chicago.
Connection is key this year, as AIBTM has joined with iMeet, a social network for meeting and event planners. All AIBTM exhibitors, attendees and stakeholders will be encouraged to participate in this active online community to engage with their peers, suppliers, and colleagues to facilitate meaningful conversations before, during and after the show.
“We are eagerly anticipating this year’s AIBTM because there are so many opportunities for professional development and relationship building,” said Lyons. “If you’re not in Chicago to be a part of the dialogue, then you will be missing an outstanding business opportunity to propel your future growth and success.”
AIBTM 2013 is scheduled to kick off on June 11. Those wanting to participate as an exhibitor, apply as a hosted buyer or register as a trade visitor can do so online at www.aibtm.com.
AIBTM is a global exhibition for the U.S. meetings and events industry that delivers individually qualified hosted buyers and eligible trade buyers from the U.S. and around the world. Tailored to the U.S. market, AIBTM serves and guarantees the attendance of top-level decision makers. The exhibitions provide time and business efficient matching services for buyers and sellers through unique hosted buyer programs.