U.S. Version of EIBTM to Debut in 2009

We aren’t all that fond of reporting stories that no one is willing to speak about on the record, but in this case the number and credibility of anonymous sources at EIBTM: The Global Meetings and Incentives Exhibition, leaves us willing to print that Reed Travel Exhibitions will create a new trade show, Americas IBTM, in the U.S. in the summer of 2009.

The show, which several sources believe will be held in Miami in July, will feature hosted buyers and organizers and, sources believe, will be as large as the European Incentive Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition. A formal announcement will likely come early next year.
Both Barcelona, Spain-based EIBTM and its Frankfurt, Germany–based competitor, IMEX, have seen substantial growth over the past few years. By comparison, the largest American incentive-industry trade show, Chicago’s IT&ME, has shrunk and the New York–based Incentive Show (which was owned by a division of this magazine’s parent company) was cancelled. Neither used hosted buyers.

Stressing that the numbers had not yet been audited, EIBTM show director Paul Kennedy says it attracted some 3,300 hosted buyers and more than 3,600 trade visitors this year—an increase of more than 20 percent over last year. They and more than 3,250 exhibitors arranged more than 41,500 appointments, he adds. This week, Ray Bloom, the chairman of IMEX, which also uses a hosted-buyer format, predicted another record-breaking show this May.

Reed also announced the EIBTM will remain in Barcelona through 2013. Its sister show, CIBTM in China, has been cancelled for 2008 due to the Olympics. The show, which has been held in July, would have been just a month before the August Olympic Games, leading to many problems ranging from hotel room availability to cost. CIBTM will return in 2009 with a new date and venue: September 8-10 in the brand new China National Convention Centre in Beijing.
The second big piece of news announced at EIBTM was the purchase of PRA Destination Management Inc. by destination management company Allied International. The two firms have been partners for several years says James Hensley, who will be CEO of the new firm. Combining PRA’s 19 franchise offices with Allied Europe and Allied Arabia’s seven offices means “the buyer has got 26 destinations where they know they will get the same level of service,” Hensley says. “All we are selling is service, so trust is a big issue,” he adds. The offices will retain their original names, he says.