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The Americas Incentive, Business Travel & Meeting (AIBTM) exhibition opened June 10 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando to a strong turnout for its Knowledge Program and Leadership Summit Headline.

Hosted buyers registered to attend more than 1,500 multiple sessions during the day, which represented a variety of topics, including updates on new technologies, meetings management and innovation.

Keynoter speaker Michael Hoffman, president of Igniting Performance, gave a dynamic address on how to become a person of influence during his presentation “Becoming #1…On Purpose! Igniting a Culture of Success and Mastering the Tornado!”

The tornado, he defines, are all the factors that affect meeting planning – cost pressures, tight deadlines, last minute changes to event plans and working with many people.

He then discussed how meeting professionals could influence positive changes and make great teams by building confidence and competence. Confidence, he explained, grows when teammates thank and appreciate each other. Competence develops as leaders provide encouraging feedback on their work output.

“The No. 1 thread that runs through all great people is making a choice to play,” said Hoffman. “Don’t be a victim of the tornado, become the master of the tornado … on purpose.”

“The keynote was extremely engaging,” said Jan Shoemaker, hosted buyer and keynote session attendee. “Michael Hoffman had the entire audience on their feet and the content is definitely something I can adopt into my day-to-day business.”

Following the keynote, Jim Austin, principal of Decision Strategies International, kicked off this year’s Meetings Leadership Summit, which set out to give senior executives insights into key ways to grow and move forward in today’s challenging business environment.

Noting reasons why it’s so hard to stay at the top – corporate arrogance, insufficient attention to weak signals, lack of vision and risk taking – and trapped in yesterday’s business models, Austin defined a four-step approach to driving growth: improve decision-making; balance core with innovation; seek innovation from the customer’s perspective; and drive change.

“There are great opportunities in the meetings and conventions business if we look at things differently and we are willing to blend innovative ideas with our core ideas,” said Austin.


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