. IBTM World Virtual closes to the tune of 13,000 meetings | Meetings & Conventions Asia

IBTM World Virtual closes to the tune of 13,000 meetings

More than 8,000 delegates attended the three-day event.

More than 1,400 hours worth of content will continue to be available for two weeks after the event for registered attendees. (Pictured: IBTM 2019)
More than 1,400 hours worth of content will continue to be available for two weeks after the event for registered attendees. (Pictured: IBTM 2019)

The global MICE industry gathered in full force at the recently concluded IBTM World Virtual, which saw nearly 8,300 industry professionals attending the three-day event.

These included exhibitors such as Singapore Tourism Board, Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau, Adelaide Convention Bureau, Tourism Vancouver, Destination DC, The Carlton Tower Jumeirah, and Visit Portugal CVB.

On the buyer's side, "on ground" were associations the likes of European Society of Urology, the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP), World Confederation for Physical Therapy, while major corporations included IBM, Michelin, Dell, Boston Consulting Group, Real Madrid C.F., Deloitte, Leroy Merlin, BBVA France, Mundipharma International Limited, Hyundai, and HORIBA Medical.

Over 8 to 10 December, delegates completed nearly 13,000 business meetings with more than 700 exhibitors — who each carried out an average of 19 meetings. Attendance came in at 92% for pre-scheduled meetings, with both exhibitors and buyers indicating an average meeting quality of 4.6 out of 5.

For instance, buyer Emmanuelle Wurffel from European Telecommunications Standards Institute made 38 appointments in three days with hotels, conference centres and convention bureaus. "The platform offered during IBTM World Virtual was excellent: easy to use, and the idea of sending the business card was a plus. Thank you very much for offering me the pleasure to e-travel so much during [this event].”

Of these hosted buyers, 30% were new to the IBTM portfolio — a sign perhaps, of not just pent-up desire to meet but also the influence the global MICE industry has in restarting the travel sector. Singapore, is one example of that.

"The London Convention Bureau has been delighted to exhibit at IBTM Virtual 2020 and I must congratulate the team on their outstanding help and support. They have responded quickly and efficiently to any questions and have also provided us with a number of creative platforms to promote London to the registered buyers," said Barbara Jamison, tourism sector head, London & Partners.

With a mega event of this magnitude spanning multiple continents, Jamison added that "the technology has been easy to use and enabled our team looking after our markets in Asia Pacific, EMEA and North and South America to engage with clients across various time zones".

Apart from scheduled appointments, the virtual event floor also presented live and on-demand content programme over 87 sessions and four keynotes. More than 95 speakers addressed topics designed to help meetings professionals navigate the road to post-pandemic recovery, as well as the inaugural IBTM TV — sponsored by MeetEngland and Monaco Convention Bureau.

Various streams were also created so delegates could quickly locate their needs. New this year for instance was content catered to those running experiential events at the Exceptional Experiences stream, while buyers attended the IBTM Inspire Masterclass stream with corporates, agencies and associations. The lattermost portion was sponsored by Korea Tourism Organization — another forerunner in innovation during pandemic times.

These more than 1,400 hours worth of content will continue to be available for two weeks after the event for registered attendees.

2020 marks the first year the global meet has not taken place as a live one, where event director, David Thompson made the announcement to pivot to virtual only as recently as September just months ago.

"This year has been a huge challenge for the meetings and events industry, so it’s been fantastic to come together with IBTM World Virtual...We’re delighted with the feedback from the buyers and exhibitors, especially regarding the quality of meetings and the business opportunities generated and I’m incredibly proud of the entire IBTM World Virtual team for producing what has been an outstanding event," said Thompson.

IBTM World 2021 will return to its conventional home at Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, from 30 November to 2 December 2021.