Report from the Trade Show Floor at EIBTM Barcelona

Courtesy EIBTMEveryone in the meetings, incentive, conference and exhibition industry (or MICE) knows that attendance at Europe’s two top MICE shows, EIBTM Barcelona (November) and IMEX Frankfurt (May), is highly recommended, if not mandatory.

According to EIBTM, which convened last week (Nov. 29-Dec. 1) at Barcelona’s Fira Convention Centre, this year’s show was a success, despite being dogged by bad weather that kept an estimated 3,000 buyers from attending. “Most everyone told me it was a big success for them,” said Julia Sheffield, Cvent Strategic Accounts Hotel Sales Executive. “They were especially swamped on Tuesday and Wednesday, which are historically the heaviest traffic days of the show.”

Cvent, which was among EIBTM’s more than 3,000 exhibiting companies, found business to be bustling across the Technology Village (despite it being located in the back corner of the tradeshow floor). Even with 13 Cvent representatives in attendance, schedules were packed throughout the three day show and traffic to the booth was greater than ever. International hotel representatives reported that as the world economy begins to emerge from the recession, they anticipate more and more MICE business will be sourced to European destinations in 2011. Traditionally, online hospitality marketing dollars were aimed at bringing in more transient business to EMEA hotels. However, as MICE sourcing is increasingly moving online with the advent of global RFP tools like the Cvent Supplier Network, online advertising towards MICE agents has become a much bigger focus for international properties.

With the European market currently feeling the pinch at home, Sheffield reports that suppliers are eyeing the U.S. market with hope. “These international suppliers look to us for insight,” she said. “Cvent is their #1 lead channel providing international MICE business, so everyone wanted to know if North Americans are finally starting to consider European destinations for their meetings again.”

Likewise, conference agents and event organizers were looking to technology solutions such as Cvent to automate their event management processes. Elizabeth Cho, Cvent Director of Sales Development, noted that while planners in the US have overwhelmingly turned to online event registration providers over the past decade, global technology adoption has lagged. Despite that observance, it seemed clear from the heavy foot traffic across the Technology Village that European planners are taking note of how to increase efficiency with new solutions as their budgets increase and meetings take off in 2011.

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