"Finally we can now meet again"
At the beginning of September Reed Exhibitions are confident that IBTM 2020 from 1 to 3 December can take place as planned. Photo: IBTM
IBTM World plans to proceed with the event with a one-way lane system, strict distancing, and sanitizer dispensers. There are not (yet) plans for a virtual alternative but IBTM World is "working on some additional digital experiences."
Will we be able to meet this year at the IBTM in Barcelona? Expo management itself is quite confident: "We have all missed doing what we love most; being together as an industry. Not on screen, in a Zoom meeting or in a webinar, but face to face, in person and in places we love. It has been strange. But, finally we can now meet again," is what Shane Hannam wrote in August, making reference to the scheduled opening of the IBTM World on December 1 of this year. The Reed Travel Exhibitions Portfolio Director is proud to have worked hand in hand with partners and public authorities in Barcelona to put together a robust safety and hygiene concept in order to make possible this physical expo. "We know things will be a little different this year. We may not be able to greet each other with handshakes and hugs like we normally do, but the most important thing is that we will be there together, as one industry and one community, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing you."
„Endlich können wir uns jetzt wieder treffen”
Die IBTM World plant die Durchführung der Messe mit einem Einbahnstraßen-System, strengen Abstandsregelungen Desinfektionsmittel-Spendern. Einen Plan für eine virtuelle Alternative gibt es (noch) nicht.
The safety features at the event include a strict one-way lane system to assure safety clearance between attendees. The booths will be methodically arranged to be able to comply with distancing regulations. Moreover, there will be turnout areas outside the event venue which may be used both by exhibitors and visitors alike if they require additional space for their meetings. More spacious distancing around all seating areas, hand sanitizer dispensers installed throughout the entire event-staging area as well as regular disinfection and cleaning procedures covering the entire venue round off the hygiene concept developed jointly with the event-hosting venue Fira de Barcelona and the Barcelona Convention Bureau (BCB).
With IBTM Connect IBTM Events launched an online resource hub for professionals in the events industry to bundle and share access to knowledge and practical guidance. The launch of the platform is part of a three-step plan to keep exhibitors, hosted buyers and the industry at large connected while working together to address the impact of COVID-19. Enter the Hub here
The options and possibilities to meet of course not only depend upon the visitors' wish and willingness to engage in personal interaction. Most certainly not only the German businesses will scrutinize if they want their staff to travel to Barcelona and will keep a close eye on the development of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is also on the Reed Exhibitions' radar, but nevertheless as matters stand now in early September, plans are to proceed with the expo in order "to revive and reimagine our industry, together," said Hannam.
"This year has been unusual for all of us, but our strong pipeline of Hosted Buyers and exhibitors has demonstrated a real appetite to attend IBTM World 2020 and return to a ‘new normal’. We have been in constant touch with planners from all over the world during lockdown who want to be able to get back to face to face meetings and plan their events for next year," said David Thompson, Event Director IBTM World. Numerous exhibitors including the Munich Convention Bureau, Meliá Hotels International, Switzerland Tourism, the Greek National Tourism Organisation, Monaco Government Tourist & Convention Authority and Korea Tourism have confirmed their attendance, and Hosted Buyers sent by businesses and organizations such as Mars, Netflix, Nike, Cisco Systems, British American Tobacco, European Society of Clinical Investigation, and The International Ecotourism Society have been registered.
Hannam: "We believe the best way to experience IBTM World is to be there in person, to maximise the many opportunities available at the live event, and to meet and connect with exhibitors and colleagues. However, we do understand that some people may be unable to travel, for a variety of reasons, and therefore, as with other events in our portfolio, we are working on some additional digital experiences to supplement and add value to the live show." In the past weeks and months, Reed was able to gain considerable experience with virtual formats including the IBTM Americas Virtual Summit on August 25 and 26, 2020 after IBTM Americas had to be cancelled. "The unprecedented situation with the effects of the pandemic has forced the business events industry to evolve quickly, accelerating the integration of technology into events, with a pivot to virtual events and a longer-term move towards the hybridization of events," explained IBTM Americas Show Director David Hidalgo.
Shanne Hannam, Reed Travel Exhibitions Portfolio Director. Foto: ibtm events
And already in March, IBTM Events launched its online resources hub IBTM Connect, in order to set up and maintain contact between exhibitors, Hosted Buyers and the entire industry while at the same time jointly mastering the effects of COVID-19. At IBTM Connect, users will find a variety of contents including webinars and videos produced by industry experts, options for virtual networking with industry peers as well as news and updates in preparation for an impending revival of the industry. At this time, preparations are ongoing for the expo in December. IBTM has scheduled Pancho Campo as first keynote speaker. Upon ending his career as tennis pro, Campo later established the Chrand Marketing & Events agency. In his presentation titled 'The future of events: Lessons learned from working with Barack Obama', Campo shares his insights gained in more than 30 years of experience in the organization of major events. Campo explained his vision of how event planners might adapt to a COVID-19 world and how events might look in the future. During the lockdown, Campo organized the virtual climate conference 'Marbella Futuro', one of the first online summit meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the positive turnout raised his expectations. Said Campo: "Although the current situation is worrying, the future is bright. I’m very much looking forward to attending IBTM World and discussing innovative ideas and where all these changes might take us as an industry."
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