IBTM World 2015 Review

EIBTM has been renamed and reborn. Welcome IBTM World 2015. This November Reed’s flagship event for the event industry was born again in Barcelona. Hallelujah. Renaming the show gave Reed Exhibitions the opportunity to decide if it would be: reform or revolution.

The view of Scotland from London.

The view of the Scotland stand from the London stand

Reform not revolution!

In essence not much has changed besides the name and the logo which now places Reed’s biggest meetings industry event firmly under the ”IBTM” banner. The show was in almost every noticeable way the same as 2014 and being a very successful show that is surely no bad thing.

I’ve always found the show to be the perfect size. I judge this simply by the amount of time I spend shifting awkwardly, twisting and scratching my head, flipping the floor plan round and trying to find some kind of physical reference point. With only sixteen rows (I think that’s right I remember seeing “P” at the end?) it’s never been too hard to find your bearings. The choice of destinations, hotels and other meeting industry suppliers just seems to be right. There is the perfect mix of first timers and more frequent visitors. There is a great atmosphere especially on the middle day. And of course the city – beautiful Barcelona – makes the event that bit special.

Without doubt the most popular picture at IBTM

Without doubt the most popular picture at IBTM

No wait a minute! Not reform but REVOLUTION!

But whisper it: there was a breeze of innovation. And it came on the show floor. The learning environment had been transformed and improved beyond recognition.

There will be 1000's of better pics than this!

There will be 1000’s of better pics than this!

This year there was no more trekking half way across the Europa Fira to find the content. IBTM had all of the sessions on the show floor. Bringing the content down from the clouds on to the ground was a very wise decision (which I partly claim credit for)

The four spaces all had a very different feel from one another but every one shimmered with creativity. Picnic tables in the Garden; a hotchpotch of chairs and tables in the Cafe and multi coloured bean bags placed on the silver metallic floor of the Think Tank created the very atmosphere that the content needed to blossom.

As a Meeting Designer I know that if you want to improve learning and increase creativity changing the environment will have a bigger positive affect that trying to coach people to be creative. I am in no doubt that the environments chosen by the Reed team (I claim no credit at all on that) will have improved peoples learning. And that is of course what it is all about.

Being a Hosted Buyer at IBTM World 2015

This year for the first time in four years I attended as a genuine hosted buyer. I was there to look at venues in Barcelona and Australia and not as in previous years consulting, networking or just learning. No I was Hosted. This totally changes the experience of visiting the show and I must admit to feeling a bit of a novice. I probably could have managed my time better and I should have made more appointments as some suppliers weren’t too keen to deal with walk ups.

The scheduled 10 mins gap between scheduled appointments felt right. Once I had my bearings this was ample time to get across the show floor. Only a few lasted longer than 20 minutes so the timings was right. The small groupings of scheduled meetings with longer breaks between a string of meetings was the right way to go. From the hosted buyer perspective I think Reed managed this aspect of the event very well indeed.

IBTM Destination Presentation with Catalunya

A tech savvy IBTM Destination Presentation with Catalunya

Across the two days I managed to find the background on the destinations, venues and the support I may need when I run some very different shows next year. Plenty to follow up on for 2016.

Content at IBTM

Unfortunately one of the big downsides of being a hosted buyer is that you can’t pick and choose the sessions you want to attend; meetings have priority. So I was unable to attend all of the sessions I would have liked but I did get to slip into a few. The Meeting Design Game session was excellent. I will do a review of the game at some point I am sure.

The Meeting Design Game on one of the picnic tables.

The Meeting Design Game laid out for all to see on one of the picnic tables

One of the BIG advantages of being hosted is access to the Hosted Buyer Lounge. And this year access was courtesy of Argentina. The lunch was spectacular. Possibly the perfect lunch for attending an event like this.

Healthy, tasty and transportable

Healthy, tasty and transportable food at IBTM World 2015

Tradition dictates that I finish with a bit about the Innovation winners. This year the winner was a cracking platform that wonderfully and easily helps you manage your on site team. InitLive. Check it out!

Well done! #EventTech

Make sure you check out this bit of #EventTech

Speaking of Event Technology at IBTM World 2015………

IBTM World 2016 needs an Event App revolution. The App is hopeless. It’s not fit for 2015 and adds little value. When the right Event App can do so much it is a shame that the IBTM App does so very little. It’s not all the event tech that needs a major overhaul. The educational team used Slido a cool app for communicating with speakers and that worked seamlessly as did the registration platform and badges from LiveBuzz. Below, on the left you will find the printed version on my diary (unfortunately I had to print it) and on the right you will find what was displayed on the event app.

Details posted missing.

Details posted missing on the app

Considering there were almost 50 tech suppliers at IBTM World, Reed really need to use an event app that adds value to the exhibitors and the attendees and just as importantly the organisers (follow this link to see those benefits explained at length).

As always I had a great time at IBTM. It’s a great show in a great city. See you next year?

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