Day Two was focused on the trade show floor opportunities, allowing planners to meet with exhibiting destinations, hotels and other suppliers.

But the day first began with a roundtable discussion that put the meetings and events industry in the context of both past and future trends.

At Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. (c) 2014 Rob Hard

AIBTM trade show opens at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. (c) 2014 Rob Hard

Meetings Mean Business Coalition”—a group of senior officials from the meetings, events and travel industry—participated in a panel discussion highlighting industry trends and explained how the industry today is in a good position to advocate the value and benefits of meetings and events.

Visit Orlando CEO and President George Miguel welcome AIBTM attendees to Orlando, and he introduced the panel discussion, comprised of high-level officials from many of the most prominent organizations in the meetings and events industry including:

  • Hilton Worldwide Senior VP of Group Sales and Industry Relations as well as co-chair of Meetings Mean Business Coalition Larry Luteran
  • U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow
  • American Society for Association Executives President and CEO John Graham
  • Site Global Chief Staff Officer Kevin Hinton
  • International Association of Events & Exhibitions President and CEO David DuBois
  • Professional Convention Management Association President and CEO Deborah Sexton
  • Meeting Professionals International President and CEO Paul Van Deventer

The leaders each shared their perspectives that meetings contribute significantly to local, regional and national economies. They also provide a significant value for positive business outcomes and serve to deliver valuable adult education.

Other Higlights

More than 500 exhibitors participated in AIBTM this year. The trade show included the following:

  • The Innovation Zone had its own dedicated space that allowed technology vendors to showcase their apps and other options available for meetings. It also included more htan 20 educational sessions that were held on the floor. These were quick sessions on topics such as “Unlock Your Events Data,” “Hot Tech for Meeting Design” (an overview of ways to use tablets, smartphones and laptops to enhance sessions), and “Leveraging Mobile for Better, Greener & More Profitable Events.”
  • The Chef Tasting featured some of Central Florida’s most renowned chefs from popular hotels and restaurants, including Cuba Libre, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Hard Rock Cafe, Roy’s and tommy Bahama. Chef tastings provided an opportunity for local restaurants to showcase their food to meeting planners who may potentially host future programs in Orlando.
  • The Refresh Zone offered a comfortable seating area, snacks and drinks. There, planners were able to get their head shot taken, get a chair massage and recharge their mobile devices. It’s an area that allows planners to take a break during a day of numerous meetings when they are discussing potential future meetings.

Student Ambassador Program

Student Ambassadors were seen around the show this year. AIBTM in collaboration with University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Managementoffered a summer class to students called “Advanced Tradeshow Management.” The course allows the next generation of meeting and event planners to learn about planning a major trade show and gaining experience with a variety of functions at AIBTM.

AIBTM management, including Exhibition Director Michael Lyons, provided a two-hour instructional briefing prior to AIBTM on how to prepare for the show. They will also particpiate in a two-hour post-show course to evaluate the effectiveness of the show and how to use the research obtained during the show.