The 25th annual Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo concluded Wednesday 22 February, after an exciting and productive two days which brought together over 3,900 diverse trade industry professionals to learn, network and conduct business in Melbourne, voted the most livable city for the sixth consecutive year.
The exhibition floor was alive with anniversary celebrations and energy throughout the range of stands, with 416 exhibitors present from 22 countries including every Australian convention bureaux and international exhibitors from Korea, Thailand, Japan, America, India and Turkey.
Over 6,700 appointments were made between buyers and exhibitors, whilst new insights in lead generation provided by Konduko technology demonstrated at least an additional 9,200 connections between exhibitors and trade visitors alone.
Ian Wainwright, Event Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions said the success of the show depended on the quality of visitors, buyers and exhibitors.
“A key focus this year was to ensure a high quality across all areas of the show. Quality Hosted Buyers ensured exhibitors had the opportunity to meet with key decision makers who showed significant interest in their products or services, and had potential budget to spend. We are also pleased to report an increase in diversity as we welcomed Hosted Buyers with over $1.2 billion to spend from key global markets across Australasia, Europe, North America and Asia.
“AIME attracted a high number of new buyers this year, with 55 per cent experiencing the show for the first time and 70 per cent participating in mutual matching appointments ensuring quality connections and business lead generation. Over 2,000 trade visitors visited the show, with 57 per cent of all trade buyers being middle management or above.
“The show floor layout allowed for easy movement between appointments and sessions, maximizing opportunities for networking and education. Our speakers from Saxton Speakers Bureau, saw almost all sessions at full-capacity, and buyers were overwhelmingly impressed with their well thought through, quality schedules.
“We are delighted with the results from this year and are invigorated to begin building AIME 2018, in what will be a memorable and inspiring show,” said Mr Wainwright.
The 25th anniversary has had great feedback, with visitors saying it was a tremendous experience. Attendees took to social media commenting on the support, treatment and success of the show, using #AIME25 and #UncoverMelbourne hastags.
Sharon Auld, CINZ Australian Manager and exhibitor at AIME, said “AIME 2017 was exceptional. I’ve always been passionate about the event, but this year proved what can be achieved with a dedicated team, committed hosted buyers and enthusiastic exhibitors.”
David Lowe, Head of Events and Public Relations – Elanor Investors Group, said “AIME 2017 was a great success for Elanor Investors Group. With 4 of our larger C&E hotels, from our extensive portfolio of hotels being represented (Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, Mantra Bell City, ibis Styles Canberra Eaglehawk and Parklands Resort Mudgee) it was imperative that all the appointments were qualified, real and with buyers that were serious about doing business. AIME 2017 delivered that in every way. We received close to a million dollars’ worth of leads for our hotels, plus we also had the opportunity to speak to so many other interested buyers that potentially have business for us in the future. You simply can’t beat the face to face contact that AIME provides as no other event brings buyers and suppliers together like AIME does.”
AIME is guided by an Advisory Board made up of 14 industry experts and leaders, passionate about the growth of the Meeting and Events industry. The Advisory Board is looking ahead to keep the show current and adapting to the demands of the industry.
Advisory Board member Anine Leakey, Acting Head of Events, BT Financial Group said “the Welcome Event at Carousel was a huge success. There were many comments about how the event has evolved over the years and is a great platform for business networking combined with fun.”
Karen Bolinger, CEO, Melbourne Convention Bureau said that AIME is the ideal platform for industry in the Asia-Pacific to showcase their products and services to a highly targeted audience.
“This year MCB completely rebuilt our pre-touring program to be specifically tailored to our influential hosted buyer audience, and to showcase the business events capability of our city in a new and immersive way.
“The Uncover Melbourne program has been deemed by many as the best-ever by Melbourne Convention Bureau, and we believe this is thanks to the program combining education, networking and fun. The benchmark has been set for years to come and conversations have already started about how we are going to top it in 2018,” said Ms Bolinger.
For the 25th anniversary, AIME introduced two inaugural awards that were announced on Tuesday 21 February. The Rising Star award, recognising upcoming business event talent, went to Jessica Abbey, Leverage Marketing and Events and the Lifetime Achievement award was given to Sue Calwell, an industry stalwart celebrated for her dedication and commitment to the business events industry over several years.
AIME Exhibition Award winners have been announced including Malaysia for Best Stand Over 36m², P&O Cruises for Best Stand Under 36m², 100% Pure New Zealand for Best Environmental Stand, APT Cruising and Touring for Best New Exhibitor, and Northern Territory for Best Innovative Stand.
AIME next year will take place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre 20 – 21 February 2018.