Business Booms in Barcelona at IBTM World 2019

22nd Nov, 2019

IBTM World 2019 has just closed with over 74,000 pre-scheduled business meetings having taken place and a 3% increase in the number of visitors attending the three-day event compared with 2018.

62% of Hosted Buyers participated in IBTM World for the first time this year and 51% of them were completely new to the entire IBTM portfolio. Over 2,600 exhibitors from 150 countries attended, including over double the number of first-time exhibitors compared to 2018, and a 450% increase in net space for exhibitors from China.

Commenting on her experience at IBTM World 2019, Sabina Linke, Executive Director Acquisition & Marketing, NürnbergConvention, 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. Whatever it is, we leave IBTM World 2019 happy in terms of potential business but also on a personal level. We are looking forward to 2020."

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 worth of enquiries as a result of attending IBTM World, as well as some really strong leads. The buyers have all been high quality senior decision makers who are motivated to buy. 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. Out of all the trade shows that I attend globally, we've picked up more strong enquiries here than at any other."

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."

Ines Antti-Poika, Manager, Business Events Finland Convention Bureau, Visit Finland, commented: "Finland Convention Bureau is really happy with another successful IBTM World. Our stand partners have had fruitful meetings and there has been a full house in each of our destination presentations on all three days. It is wonderful to notice the interest among clients towards Finland – our message is getting across and we are getting more and more attention as a destination for international meetings and events."

Over 2,700 Hosted Buyers were present representing 77 countries, with delegates from globally renowned businesses including: Google, Adobe, ICBC Bank, La Caja Seguras, BBVA France, Dell, Whirlpool and BMW. The number of Association buyers was up up 9% on 2018, with Corporate buyer numbers up 3% on 2018. The newly introduced Elite Corporate Programme was very well received and acted as a valuable opportunity for senior event planners, including from Hewlett Packard, Salesforce, Adobe, MetLife Insurance and lululemon, to share ideas and connect with peers. 

Hosted Buyer, Fong Ling Loh, Manager, Incentive Travel Unit, AIA Malaysia, commented: "This is my first time attending IBTM World. I have really enjoyed it; it has been very informative and supportive, 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. All the destinations have been promoted very well, and I enjoyed learning about places such as Jordan, Georgia, Estonia, Munich, Croatia and Japan, which I am also interested in exploring."

This year's event saw the introduction of a new zone, IBTM Accelerate. 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 with their peers.

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 aim of securing on-going mentoring and winning the grand prize. 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 can be shared across the entire industry.

The GPPF was followed on Monday evening by the event's annual Meetings Leadership Summit where Isabel Bardinet, CEO, European Society of Cardiology was presented with IBTM's Lifetime Achievement Award.

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.

"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 spend time with and learn from the finalists in our mentoring programme, EBA. Our team was worked incredibly hard to create another hugely successful event and we're extremely happy with the results."

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 the 2022 edition. The new contract builds on the existing 15-year relationship between the three organisations, with the next edition confirmed at Fira Gran Via for 1st – 3rdDecember 2020.

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