HQ magazine interviews Jay Martens, AIME's new organiser.
Congratulations for being appointed by the Melbourne Convention Bureau to host AIME 2019, what is your vision to take the highly anticipated event to new heights?
Our main focus is a positive return on investment – which spans investments in time and budgets, networking and maximising business opportunities.
We have also applied rigorous curation to all aspects of our event preparation. We are doing the hard legwork of sourcing great buyers to AIME, and literally delivering quality leads to our exhibitors. We’re committed to bringing a rich mix of buyers and exhibitors from across the whole Asia Pacific, so the event is reflective of the diversity and depth of the region.
Already we’ve confirmed quality buyers from across 32 different countries, with 49% having never attended AIME before and 65% originating from outside of Australia.
What are the challenges of taking over a globally successful event and building on the legacy that has already been created?
There are always going to be challenges of hosting an event that has a long-standing reputation in the industry. So many people in the industry have had different experiences over the years of AIME, and carry this with them. It colours how they feel about the event.
Our strategy has been to listen to the industry – what they want to see more of and what they want to leave behind.
This has allowed us to be confident that we’re delivering a truly refreshed and unique offering, that we believe is going to help consolidate and drive business in the region.
What are the key ingredients in running a successful event for hosted buyers and exhibitors?
It’s all about human connection. This is an industry that is fuelled by relationships – building on existing networks and discovering new ones.
To create really valuable networks you need to bring quality into the room. Quality buyers and quality exhibitors who are ready to do business.
Meetings preferences are also key. Why do you want to meet with someone? What’s the value in it for you? We are determined to deliver really meaningful meetings to our attendees.
To do this, we are using a bespoke algorithm, in partnership with Centium Software, which matches the preferences of buyers with the services and capabilities of exhibitors through the EventsAir® portal. This ensures 32 guaranteed pre-scheduled appointments – appointments that could convert into real business.
We are also focused on outcomes. We want people to walk away from AIME and be able to measure the return on their investment and unequivocally say that attending AIME was truly worthwhile.
Can you share with us how AIME’s new partnerships with PCMA and ICCA can elevate the overall quality and experience of the event?
The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) are important partners of our AIME 2019 Knowledge Program. We are also partnering with significant national associations, like Meetings Events Australia (MEA), to build on the value of the Knowledge Program.
The Knowledge Program will reimagine how delegates experience the event, elevating the educational content to focus on idea sharing that draws the community together to challenge the status quo.
As part of this focus on community and knowledge exchange, we will run a full day deep dive program with sessions targeted for different segments of the industry – something really meaningful for everyone.
This opens AIME, ensuring delegates have a connected learning journey focused on a number of topics, including thought-provoking plenary talks designed to challenge thinking, intensive skill-based workshops with AIME’s first Hackathon and collaborative case study-based workshops. Aside from professional and personal development opportunities, this also means buyers and exhibitors have a shared experience together, before they hit the show floor.
With climate change affecting all corners of global businesses, what challenges do you foresee for the Business Events industry in the near future?
There are big topics that need to be integrated into everyone’s thinking, and there’s a lot of talk and initiatives put forward in the industry. We all want to share the fantastic destinations on this planet and to protect them for future generations, which means thinking ahead of the game in ways to help reduce our industry’s carbon footprint.
Much like the acknowledgement of technology enhancing the way we run events, we must acknowledge that climate change will shape how we conduct business entirely. Those who challenge the status quo and embrace this with an innovative mindset will help pave way for the future of the business events industry.
Taking place in Melbourne from 18 – 20 February 2019. For more information, please visit https://aime.com.au/
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