The AIBTM trade show floor opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony presented by AIBTM Exhibition Director Michael Lyons; IBTM Global Events Portfolio Director Sallie Coventry; President and CEO of Visit Orlando George Aguel; Chairman of Visit Orlando Paul Mears, III; and Deputy General Manager of Orange County Convention Center Yulita Osuba.
The day began with over 250 attendees listening to leaders from the Meetings Mean Business Coalition, discuss its strategic mission and a Q&A about where the Meetings Mean Business campaign is headed. Larry Luteran, the Coalition’s co-chair, opened the panel by reiterating the critical importance of meetings to the economy. “For every dollar spent on meetings there’s a $9.50 return,” he said. “Meetings are the number one marketing vehicle to help generate revenue.”
On the trade show floor, first time exhibitor Hamburg Convention Bureau held a market focus session for U.S. buyers interested in placing business in Germany. Over 40 buyers attended the meeting in which Nele Aumann, Marketing Manager of Hamburg Convention Bureau, discussed how the city can accommodate U.S. meeting planners when hosting large group meetings and conventions. “Hamburg is the 2nd largest city in Germany and a 1st tier destination. I like to call it the hidden jewel of the country,” said Aumann. “Visitors don’t realise that even though by population it’s a large city, it’s actually small and intimate.”
Attendees also checked out new useful technologies for their professions in the Innovation Zone and heard from leading tech companies and professionals about how to apply these in their day-to-day business lives.