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Interview: Senior Exhibitions Director of IBTM says MICE industry in China is incredibly dynamic
Mandy Torrens, Senior Exhibitions Director, IBTM 
 
Could you please introduce IBTM?
 
IBTM is part of Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) and is the world’s leading showcase for the meetings and events industry. IBTM has been established for 30 years and has a portfolio of 4 global and regional events that provide business solutions across 4 continents. These include IBTM World, IBTM Arabia, IBTM Americas and IBTM China. Our aim at IBTM is to bring the global meetings industry together to make connections, do business, and learn through our engaging Knowledge Programmes whilst discovering new technologies and cutting-edge innovations that support world-class events.
 
As Senior Exhibition Director of IBTM, what are your views on the development of the Chinese market in the near future?
 
The Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events industry in China is incredibly dynamic and still maturing. It’s a very exciting area in which we operate, both in terms of new and emerging regions in China keen to be seen on a global platform, and the impact that new technology is having on the market. 
 
Western organisers are still looking for new experiences in the east and China has massive potential as a destination. The country continues to attract leading international hotel and venue brands to open properties in its primary cities and destinations.
 
Given the ever-increasing global interest in China, I’m confident that the market will continue to grow and we’re excited to see what the future holds.
 
Could you please introduce the Education Programme? What is your perspective or viewpoint on the programme?
 
We are very excited about our Knowledge Programme for IBTM China this year. We’ve worked hard to create a packed, varied programme completely tailored to the needs of the growing Asian meetings and events market. 
 
Our inspirational speakers will explore topics across ten key areas this year. These include a look at advances in the new wave of Chinese tech innovation and its effect on the global technology scene, as well as a study into the associations market in China and how it will contribute to the growth of the industry. Also on the agenda is a session on how to sell incentive travel to business leaders, and an insight into the latest global industry trends report.
 
As ever, our aim is to provide thought-provoking and original ideas that attendees can take back to their own businesses and start putting into place.
 
About the Education Programme, how do you select the right speakers and identify the appropriate topics?
 
We are constantly talking to our clients and partners in the industry, as well as gathering feedback from attendees after our shows, to ensure that we deliver the best and most useful content for them and their businesses. All our speakers are well-known figures from within the industry with a huge amount of knowledge and experience to share. We did our own research with both Chinese and international event planners to understand their business challenges and put together the right content, and we work hard to ensure that we attract the best speakers to deliver the highly targeted content that our attendees in China need. 
 
As part of Reed Exhibitions, we are also very lucky in that we have access to Reed’s extensive database which collects regular insights into the industry, something which also helps us when selecting speakers and topics for the Knowledge Programme. 
 
What is your strategy to drive the dynamic growth of IBTM?
 
The meetings and events market is a lively and ever-evolving space in which to operate with many opportunities for growth, and as an ambitious company, we are always open to exploring options either to expand into new markets, or grow our existing shows. Ultimately, our primary aim is to continue to evolve our events to cater for the needs of our industry and continue to deliver content that allows our audience to stay on the cutting edge.
 
We have a strategy to grow IBTM China but also to ensure that through our Hosted Buyer 
 
Programme we are able to arrange pre-scheduled appointments in advance of the show between top buyers and exhibitors using our specialised matchmaking system. We have an excellent China based team who are focused on being out in the market speaking to customers and event planners to ensure they know about the show and that we are providing them with an event that delivers for them. This is combined with a global team, based in London who can help access our global database of Hosted Buyers, exhibitors and top speakers. Registration for this year’s event is more than 25% up on last year. 
 
What is your view on the current international travel events industry? What expectations do you have for IBTM’s development in the future? 
 
The global meetings and events industry is healthy and growing, as businesses continue to appreciate the value of face-to-face communication to their operations and ultimately, their profits. Technology is transforming the way the industry operates in many exciting ways, but the fundamental need to meet face-to-face remains hugely important. 
 
In addition, many new and emerging markets are opening up including in India, North Africa and the Middle East and these present interesting opportunities for growth of the IBTM portfolio. Millennials and Generation Z are also presenting new challenges and opportunities, and it is the job of our industry to make sure we engage with them to continue to create fresh and relevant events.  
 
This is an exciting time to be involved in meetings and events and we look forward to what the future brings. 
 
  Source: IBTM

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