What did we take from IBTM 2019?
As relatively new kids on the agency block, IBTM 2019 was our first experience of one of the industries big trade shows. So what did we take from it, and are such shows really time worthy for new / small agencies to attend?
Meetings & Networking:
Hectic, but really good. So many venues and destinations represented in one place. We had around 45 meetings across the three days and each one proved valuable and informative. It really enabled us to visit and connect with unique and strategic suppliers from across the world. For a small agency looking to expand and grow it is perfect. Our advice would be to really work out the key areas or suppliers you would like to meet or learn more from. You simply cannot cover everywhere and find it productive. Our focus was networking and building on relationships we have within Europe. But also look to expand into Canada and the US in particular. Just that alone took our feet a good few weeks to recover!
The IBTM app was really useful too. But a reminder that tech can let you down at times and leave you helpless. The app went down on the last morning leaving a number of us buyers flying blind on when and where our next meeting was. Always keep a hard copy on you as back up!
Information & Organisation:
This was really the area for improvement in our opinion for the show. As newcomers, we found the lack or real information from bus transfers to really knowing what to expect and how to get the most from attending for us newbies. In terms of organisation it would be beneficial if more attention can be taken of meeting schedules, for both timings and logistically. There was almost a sense of expectation that meetings would over run due to the lack of time to get to and from meetings.
The hall is vast and so you could easily find yourself having 5 minutes to get from one end to the other through the mass crowd! If there was a way that scheduling could be improved so that if you had a number of meetings in one area that day, they could be fit around each other. It did feel a bit 80 days around the world at one stage.
The welcome event after the end of day 1 was well received. It provided a great space to relax and network, with the catering and live music proving great additions. Again one negative would be the lack of empathy shown to those wanting to access the space a few minutes early. After a long day the last thing you need is to be held back in a queue to get in needlessly. Seeing the much welcomed drinks and food at arms reach but you're not able to get in becomes annoying to put it mildly.
We were invited out as a hosted buyer by Moulden Marketing and they put together a great package. The hotel nicely situated with a short transfer to the Exhibition. The buyers dinner was also at a fantastic venue. The restaurant on a marina was fantastic, amazing service and served up on of the biggest steaks we have even seen!
So was it worth it?
For many it is seen as a key industry event and we can see why. It's a real coming together of the industry and chance to connect again with so many peers. As a newbie and small agency there were times we felt a bit "rabbit in the headlights". It was exhausting both physically and mentally with the information download you have to do. But if you plan it right, reach out to some trusted industry colleagues to help and advise you, it will be well worth attending. Not only enabling you to extend your contact base and your business offering to clients. But it sometimes doesn't hurt to be there and put yourself and agency on the map!
We would love to hear your views and stories from IBTM and the other industry shows. Please comment below, share and comment on our socials or get in touch directly - firstname.lastname@example.org