Questions do have to be asked!
In launching the first US event for our global IBTM portfolio, AIBTM also became the first event of its kind to have both international and US centric Hosted Buyer programme. As we organize meetings industry events on 5 continents you would not be wrong to think that by now it would be easy to find the right people and those that already know what a Pre-Scheduled Appointment system is. Well, you would be wrong. We have been watching the blogs, receiving industry feedback, and hundreds of testimonials that show overall the format is a good one, but there are still so many questions from the industry to be answered.
So I am going to take a few and answer them now. Let me have some more, I am happy to engage with you on the subject.
The application process does not have the right questions for me!
At RTE there is one major priority – to deliver a quality Hosted Buyer audience at all our events, and that means working on a global scale. This inevitably means we operate on a global basis so there has to be some standardization to the format we use. So, some applicants are going to drop through the loop but that shouldn’t stop them applying or sending a covering note with their application if they don’t feel the questions are adequate and they want to provide us with more detail.
How do we define a qualified buyer?
This is also something that touches on the above – do the questions give the buyer enough room to provide an adequate answer about their business that will get them qualified? There are some who say they don’t fit the “standard model of qualification”, so we would say, put your hands up, email us, call us, don’t just not bother because we are always looking for new buyers to satisfy the demand of our exhibitors throughout our portfolio of events in Middle East, Australasia, USA, Europe and China. The standard process requires answers to a set number of questions and proof of business but being rigid and failing to acknowledge there are always those who won’t fit into a ‘`box” scenario won’t work, so we like to think that there is always someone on the end of a phone, or email – this is a face to face business and we would urge conversation before you choose to delete the application process!
How can we undertake a Pre-Scheduled Appointment system and attend education sessions?
The world demands more business opportunities and its our job to ensure that the IBTM portfolio delivers it for both buyers and suppliers across the world and in as many ways and formats at the events as is possible. So, if that’s the starting point, and this year at EIBTM we will be adding another PSA to help match even more requested appointments, then we also have to think of ways that will allow the community to also attend the education sessions during their business show cycle. We trialed the AIBTM Education Day this year giving an opportunity to all exhibitors, trade delegates and Hosted Buyers to attend a full day of education sessions before the trade floor opened for business. It was a great success and as a result we are now considering ways to introduce something similar to compliment the already (and in many cases standing room only) busy Professional Education Programmes at all our events. It was an idea we turned into reality that showed a new way, which is why we welcome industry comment.
This is a great topic, but there are many more questions. If you want something answered then make sure you bring it to the attention of the organizer – we for one are waiting.