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IBTM China: a buyer’s viewpoint
Humanitarian Affairs’ Kim Solomon gives his verdict on the technology, organisation and utility of IBTM China 2016

12 Sep 2016

What kind of buyers do you think benefit the most from attending IBTM China?

IBTM China is a good event for buyers like me as it’s a one-stop destination. We’ve got the hotels, the airlines, everything we need in one place.

It’s also a good event for people who have no idea where they want to go.

The event is best, however, for people who are new to the events industry. They can sample everything and compare prices easily in the same place.

How do you go about navigating an event like IBTM China?

Even if I have an appointment planned, if I see a booth I’m interested in, I just go over. Forget the schedule. I’m here because I want to talk serious business; I’m not here to just tick off appointments.

I come prepared knowing who I want to see – Japan and Sri Lanka this time.

Lastly, serious buyers who know they want to do an event in that country will seal the deal by going and visiting the hotels that same day.

What do you think of the pre-appointment system?

For the appointments, they should have published the list of exhibitors online when they had the full list, not before. People registered very late, but the list was not updated. When I came here, I realised that there were other people I wanted to see, but had not made an appointment with.

The appointments are touch and go. For serious buyers like me, who really know what they want, we need to spend another week here to really seal the deal.

I‘d rather they gave serious buyers more time so that they could have quality meetings. This means longer meetings and fewer appointments. This would let buyers really get into what they’re doing.

Were there any other issues with the event?

Unfortunately, communication was a problem. Some people would have needed a translator to do serious business with clients.

It was a bit like a wild goose chase. I had no idea where some meeting locations were, and there was no space between meetings. I had 15 meetings on one day, and 16 on another.

I think the location map should be published online before we select whom we want to meet. I spent more time walking around not knowing where I was going because I couldn't locate the exhibitors.

Is there any advice you’d give to exhibitors, or buyers like yourself attending future shows.

Exhibitors: signage should always be on top. Walking around I couldn’t see the numbers clearly, as sometimes people were standing on numbers that were on the ground.

Buyers: the success of an event is not the number of attendees, but rather the end result. Remember this when you are here.

Kim Solomon is Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, a social enterprise that helps young people engage in humanitarian work. 

This article is based on a conversation between Kim Solomon and a MIX reporter at IBTM China.



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