The 24th annual Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo concluded on Wednesday 24 February 2016, after two jam-packed days where 4,588 industry professionals gathered to learn, network and do business. There was much excitement on the exhibition floor which showcased 523 Exhibitors from 31 countries, including all Australian Convention Bureaux and international exhibitors from countries including Thailand, Singapore, LA, Korea and Turkey.
First time exhibitor Megan Linton, Sidekicker, was delighted with the quality of connections, commenting “It was a great success for us. We got new qualified introductions and built up our relationship pool.”
Ian Wainwright, Event Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions commented on the superior quality of Hosted Buyers in attendance and the strong business focus of the overall AIME 2016 experience.
“A key theme from AIME 2016 has been the quality of the Hosted Buyer Program being far superior to previous years, ensuring exhibitors met with decision makers who had significant interest in their products or services and had potential budget to spend.
“The revised appointment system exceeded expectations and delivered thousands of productive appointments between Hosted Buyers and Exhibitors. Significantly 71 percent of appointments were mutually matched and 74 percent of Hosted Buyers went above their minimum number of appointments, clearly seeing the value in meeting with as many suppliers as possible over the two days.
“Ensuring that AIME delivered new connections, 47 percent of Hosted Buyers were new to AIME this year, creating new opportunities and business prospects for exhibitors.”
Patrick Debus, World Federation of Consuls, described the Hosted Buyer program as providing “Very fruitful meetings, perfect organisation of the agenda,’’ and Grace Np, Powell Consultants, remarked “I met many high quality exhibitors relevant to my business.”
1,130 seats were filled in the successful free AIME Knowledge education sessions, which took place in new purpose built theatres on the show floor, including six full-capacity sessions with speakers from Saxton Speakers Bureau. A new addition to 2016 was the dedicated Hosted Buyer Program, powered by PCMA and held on Monday 22 February, prior to the show floor opening on Tuesday.
Networking events were also a highlight at AIME this year. The sold out Welcome Event hosted by Melbourne Convention Bureau on Monday 22 February and the Hosted Buyer and Media Welcome Function at Melbourne Olympic Park on Sunday 21 February have both received glowing feedback. As have the numerous functions by Exhibitors on Tuesday 23 February, including the AIME Networking Hour.
“We are delighted with the results from AIME 2016 and are invigorated to begin building AIME 2017, in what is shaping up to be an unforgettable 25th Anniversary of this spectacular showcase of the events industry,” said Mr Wainwright. Karen Bolinger, CEO, Melbourne Convention Bureau was excited to see the community come together, actively networking and doing business.
“We listened to the feedback from previous years and implemented a number of significant changes, which were positively received by the events industry this year. We were delighted to see the return of the Welcome Event and we upped the ante to showcase ‘One Year in Melbourne in One Night’. I have been overwhelmed with the positive reviews we have been receiving and we will continue to evolve this milestone event year after year.
“It was an exciting year to showcase the Melbourne Convention Bureau and our partners on our newly designed Melbourne stand at AIME this year. Melbourne is undergoing a significant growth phase at present, including the expansion of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and the addition of seven new hotels.
“From an exhibitor perspective, AIME 2016 was a hugely successful event for both ourselves and our partners,” said Ms Bolinger. AIME Award winners have been announced including Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) for Best Stand Over 36m², Doltone House for Best Stand Under 36m², Lancemore Group for Best Environmental Stand, Sidekicker for Best New Exhibitor, and YourSingapore for Best Innovative Stand.