​​AIME 2024: Where the World Meets in Asia Pacific!

Interview with AIME 2024 AIMEbassador Mike Williams, Senior Partner, Senior Consultant, Gaining Edge.
16th Oct, 2023

The Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) is the leading trade event for the meetings and event industry in the Asia Pacific region. It is where industry decision makers connect, create and do business. The event brings together international and local event planners and connects them with the best destinations, venues and event suppliers from around the world.

AIME 2024 will be held at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre from 19 – 21 February - new features, events, programming and more will be announced over the coming months. As planning ramps up, Mike Williams (pictured on the right), Senior Partner & Senior Consultant, Gaining Edge and 2024 AIMEbassador answered a few questions:

We are delighted you’re a 2024 AIMEbassador. Why do you choose to attend AIME each year?

It’s the largest gathering of business events professionals in the Asia Pacific. It keeps us well connected and is probably the most important event - particularly in the APAC region - at keeping us in the know about emerging industry trends.

What do you think is the biggest challenge in the industry currently?

Onboarding the business events industry fully to the race to zero carbon emissions. Keeping the industry sustainable long term is critical. Up until recently, sustainability has been more tokenistic, but industry associations and beyond are now taking it seriously and providing the necessary guidelines and tools for the industry. Of course, this is also a major opportunity.

What sustainability trends are you seeing?

A growing focus on sourcing local produce and on the preservation of local culture – heritage preservation is an emerging trend. Industry standards are being conceived across the board making it easier for the industry to adopt best practice.

Now more than ever clients demand immersive experiences. What role do you think boutique venues and bespoke experiences play in enhancing events?

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) and the need to create spaces and venues designed for a vast range of individuals is a top priority and, when done well, enhances the quality of events considerably. We also need to consider the next generation of delegates and how we get them to attend and engage business events. Lecture-style presentations that were commonplace at conferences of old just don’t cut it anymore - it's now about creating more conducive meeting spaces, immersive experiences and embracing new technologies.

In your work, you talk a great deal about aligning business events with economic goals. Can you tell us a little more?

It makes sense for convention bureaus to align their event attraction strategies with the economic development priorities of government. This helps build the partnership and support of government entities in attracting business events to the destination whilst providing an excellent mechanism for   governments to promote and develop key economic growth sectors. Clustering complementary events, and creating partnerships between government and industry, under one umbrella theme has become an excellent platform to showcase priority industry sectors to a global audience.

How can teams create legacy programmes to optimise benefits from business events?

Organisers need to consider what their legacy goals will be at a very early stage and then incorporate this into the event plan from the outset. They then need stakeholders ‘buy in’ which may include the relevant industry and government entities and/or local and international organising committees. To track legacy outcomes measurement tools are necessary to evaluate both short- and long-term outcomes years. It could be two or three years after the event that we see the real economic and social benefits from any business event.

Tell us something about Melbourne that even a returning visitor may not know.

Melbourne has one of the largest immigration populations globally - a fantastic asset. It’s home residents from over 200 countries and territories who speak over 230 languages and dialects and follow over 110 different religious faiths. This adds considerably to the diversity and flavour of the city - you just can’t beat it.

AIME 2024 will be held at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre from 19 – 21 February. 

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