Home » MICE Events » [AIME 2013] AIME: the premier exhibition in the Asia-Pacific region for the meetings and incentives industry.

[AIME 2013] AIME: the premier exhibition in the Asia-Pacific region for the meetings and incentives industry.

 “AIME: the premier exhibition in the Asia-Pacific region for the meetings and incentives industry.”

 

The Asia-Pacific Meetings & Incentives Expo (AIME) has marked its 21st anniversary in 2013. AIME is one of the most prestigious exhibitions for the meetings and incentives industry in the Asia-Pacific region. This year the exhibition had the privilege to be chosen as the centerpiece for Australia’s inaugural Business Events Week as it has played a central role in generating business for the State of Victoria and key to the growth of the business events industry nationwide.

AIME is owned by the Melbourne Convention Bureau, a not-for-profit organization that markets Melbourne and Victoria nationally and internationally as a premier business events destination, and managed by Reed Travel Exhibitions, the world’s leading provider of exhibitions in the travel and tourism industry. This must-attend, two-day networking event is the ultimate get-together place for the association and event planners around the globe in the Asia-Pacific region and provides a platform for the premier meetings and incentives destinations and products to be showcased to the key stakeholders in the industry.

 

GMI: Ms Timmins, please introduce the Asia-Pacific Meetings & Incentives Expo to our readers. (i.e. the vision, missions, primary objectives along with the key archives and progress it’s made so far)

Timmins: The Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) is the premier event in the region and the largest exhibition in Australia for the meetings, incentives, business travel and events industry, held annually at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC). The show is owned by the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) and organised by Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), forming part of the RTE Meetings, Events and Business Travel Portfolio. This year the exhibition had the privilege to be chosen as the centerpiece for Australia’s inaugural Business Events Week as it has played a central role in generating business for the State of Victoria and key to the growth of the business events industry nationwide.

Our overall objective is to provide a forum for all industry members to network, do business and share industry knowledge. Over two days we create a variety of opportunities which allow businesses that market products and services to the business events industry to meet, do business and network with buyers (meeting, incentive and conference organisers). We also produce the AIME Knowledge education program with a range of highly relevant education sessions for attendees. It has become one of the best value education programs for the MICE industry.

A key measure of success will always be our ability to consistently attract high quality buyers and a range of exhibitors to each show and we have been able to consistently increase this over the event’s 21 year history. The most recent event in February 2013 attracted 747 exhibitors and 3,244 attendees of which 489 were Hosted Buyers. There was a notable rise in the number of Hosted Buyers attending from Asia, with an increase of 20 per cent on the previous year. The largest buyer figures of this region came from China and Singapore whose numbers grew by 14 and 57 per cent respectively.

Each year we endeavor to raise the quality of our buyers, exhibitors and visitors by introducing new initiatives. Last year the team was very focused on providing value added experiences for all attendees. We doubled the size of AIME Knowledge, making it two days of concurrent sessions with content from industry partners and exceptional speakers. We successfully invigorated the show floor experience with new initiatives such as the A List Open House which featured events products and services in one area and the Future Events Experience which was an interactive area showcasing the latest in technology.

Ultimately, our team works hard to ensure the event retains its position as the market leader and the premier event in the Asia-Pacific region.

 

GMI: AIME has marked its 21st anniversary this year. And it is one of the most noted events in the BTMICE industry in the Asia-Pacific region. What do you think is behind its long-term success? In other words, what differentiates AIME from its competitors?

Timmins: It is exciting to be working with a show which has had such longevity and success. AIME is certainly one of the most successful exhibitions in this sector and I think this is largely because of our approach to a number of important areas.

First and foremost we pride ourselves on responding to important feedback from attendees each year. Feedback received is actively work-shopped into new initiatives for the following year to directly respond to what our exhibitors, buyers and visitors want.

We have a year round marketing, sales and communications program that communicates our key messages to target audiences globally and ensures AIME remains front of mind for all our audiences.

A significant proportion of the industry attends AIME each year. We invite a range of organisations to exhibit, work on attracting high quality Hosted Buyers and ensure that all key industry association partners participate in the creation of the event. The calibre of attendance makes AIME a well sought-after event.

We have also been able to create one of the best value educational opportunities by engaging the best in the business and key industry associations to help create highly relevant content.

Our networking events are also second to none and we pride ourselves on impressive social events such as the Welcome Reception. We find that often the business conducted and contacts that are made away from the show floor are equally important to what takes place at the exhibition.

 

GMI: AIME 2013 appeared to revolve around three major themes which were innovation, interaction and added-value. How were these approaches developed? (i.e. the development strategies in terms of the content generation)

Timmins: What we focus on for each event always revolves around our overall goal which is to put on a successful event that delivers true return on investment for all attendees.

This ultimate goal drives us to always be looking to offer more value for attendees and is why we are always looking for new initiatives for our show. We want every person who attends AIME to go home feeling that they have really benefited from the time and money they invested in attending.

To achieve this we need to provide attendees with content that is relevant to them and therefore our approach is largely driven by feedback from attendees.

Feedback regularly reveals that a lot of our attendees value the networking opportunities provided each year at AIME and therefore we are always looking for new ways to provide forums for interaction.

In recent years we have also identified a thirst for more information about innovation and new technology. We felt AIME was in the perfect position to deliver this and saw it as a great opportunity to add value to the 2013 event. This is why we implemented new initiatives such as the Future Events Experience and the refreshed education program which allowed us to showcase innovation and technology to our attendees.

 

GMI: Also there was a variety of new initiatives took place in this year’s AIME. Tell us more about the seven key initiatives you and your team implemented and the core strategy behind employing such tactics.

Timmins: Yes, the team put a range of new initiatives into place at this year’s show which were mostly developed from feedback from attendees. We looked at ways to provide insightful content that attendees would really benefit from.

We launched the Future Events Experience which was a dedicated interactive space on the show floor with the latest pioneering technology and innovations for the business events industry. From demand for more event products and services we created the A List Open House in partnership with event industry bible, the A LIST Guide, which was an area on the show floor with smaller, niche suppliers featured in the Guide.

We refreshed and extended our education program, AIME Knowledge, as surveys showed education was a key attraction for visitors to the event each year.

This year visitors were also able to schedule appointment to ensure they were able to connect with their top choice of exhibitors. We created a mobile app and mobile concierge so that attendees could access all the event information they needed prior to and during the show. The app included a full list of exhibitors, a detailed program, details of AIME Knowledge seminars, access to view appointment diaries, and maps to help navigate the show floor. While the mobile concierge was a dedicated mobile number for attendees to text any questions they had about the show for an instant answer.

These initiatives provided opportunities for interaction and facilitated connections between our attendees, which was key as networking is a strong reason attendees visit the show.

 

GMI: Where do you see AIME in ten years? Any future plans in progress?

Timmins: We expect that AIME will continue to grow and develop alongside the business events industry in the Asia-Pacific region. The industry, particularly in this region, is growing and I expect that we will see huge growth from emerging markets such as India and China. This should lead to AIME growing into an even more central show in this region and indeed the world as more companies seek to access these markets.

When predicting the future of the industry it is also hard to ignore the impact new technology will have. Technology will certainly help increase the reach and value of events. At Reed Travel Exhibitions we are currently exploring hybrid event opportunities which will allow us to reach an audience beyond those who can physically be there. We are also able to create more interesting content by using Skype and other technology to have international guests contribute to our seminars even when they are not available to attend.

 

21

Reed Travel Exhibitions, a business unit of Reed Exhibitions, has successfully managed AIME for the past 21 years along with its 12 other events around the world. Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) welcomed Jacqui Timmins as the new Director for the Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) and the China Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition (CIBTM) in May 2013. Ms Timmins takes the reins from former Director of AIME, Sally de Swart, who has managed the event since 2011. Ms Timmins brings with her over 25 years travel industry experience and has previously held the position of General Manager for Travelscene American Express, as well as senior management positions at Stella Travel Services and Qantas Airways. She has managed events including Travelscene American Express onshore and offshore conferences, Qantas Platinum Club and Qantas Holidays Achievers events and has sat on the boards of the Australia Federation of Travel Agents and Travelscene American Express. 

 

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