As the Asia Pacific Incentives Meetings Event (AIME) gets underway in Melbourne this week, Matt Pearce, CEO of Talk2 Media & Events, shares about what delegates can expect at the conference this year. Talk2 Media & Events takes over from Reed Exhibitions which has previously managed AIME under its IBTM portfolio.
"We’ve been out talking to people and finding out what they want at AIME," says Pearce. "Our line is ‘your industry, your event’ so it makes sense to find out what our colleagues in the industry want.
Event director Jay Martens adds: "For the relaunched AIME we have looked at the whole event, the community and the core needs that have to be met. We’ve been talking to the industry about what works for them and what hasn’t been working."
It’s all part of a big ambition to make AIME one of the most important dates in the events industry calendar. "We want to position ourselves as part of the ‘Grand Slam’, which includes IMEX in Frankfurt and Vegas, as well as IBTM World," says Pearce. "And we think that, as the biggest event for the Asia-Pacific industry, Melbourne can easily sit alongside them.
This year AIME is implementing a formal appointment for hosted buyer meetings. "The event is not going to be about casual networking and hoping to get some meetings happening, says Martens. "For every exhibitor who signs up, we are committed to delivering 32 pre-scheduled appointments with our hosted buyers."
"These meetings are set through an application that collates and aligns the preferences of the buyers against the destinations and services of the networking attendees. [They] can catch up at the show exhibitors to deliver a schedule of appointments that are really well matched and have the potential to create real commercial outcomes."
There’s also going to be more emphasis on making the event even more international. "We will bring in more hosted buyers from around the whole region—we’re really pushing the fact that it’s an Asia-Pacific event, not just for the Australasia region," says Pearce.
"As well as hosted buyers, we’re investing in making sure the networking is wide and varied, and for many. We’re a face-to-face industry, so we need to get people talking." This year about 40% of hosted buyers will be Australia-based and about 60% of them international buyers.
"The main event is still two days, but we’re running educational events on the Monday before the main show begins," says Pearce.
Martens says: "Our AIME knowledge programme, Melbourne Edge, is really robust, with different sessions presented for different levels of experience, including a CEO Leaders Forum—so there will be something for everyone.
"We are partnering with pre-eminent organisations on the content of our knowledge programme, including PCMA, ICCA, SITE and MEA. "There will be keynote speakers, plenary sessions, hackathons, breakouts, and also ICCA’s Business Exchange, which is now going to be anchored at AIME."