|A blend of East and West at AIME, and a few ideas to change your thinking.|
Wednesday, 6th March 2013
Source : Yeoh Siew Hoon
Walking around AIME (Asia Pacific Incentive & Meetings Expo) in Melbourne this week and a few trends are evident.
One, the Asian quotient of the show is growing not just in terms of Asian exhibitors wanting to sell to Australian buyers but Asian buyers looking to buy not just Australian content but also Asian product.
After 21 years of doggedly working away at the event, organisers Reed Travel Exhibitions and owner the newly-renamed Melbourne Convention Bureau have developed a show that now lives up to its billing as “the premier exhibition in the Asia-Pacific region for the meetings and incentives industry”.
In its earlier years, it was natural that it was Australia-dominated. Melbourne was too far from the centre of Asia to really claim pole position for the region but with time, market changes, air accessibility and industry maturity, the event has achieved a good balance between Australia and Asia – East and West.
I’ve always considered Australia to be the leader in the meetings and incentives space –they know how to hold and stage events, their event planners and organisers are creative and events in general have strong production values. There’s also a strong tradition of Australians attending events as a form of learning.
The Ultimate Event produced by Saxton Speakers Bureau and held on Tuesday morning was proof of that. It was a two-hour musical-cum-motivational event that thrilled a crowd of 1,500 – proving that there’s nothing more powerful than a well-produced live event to inspire and stimulate thinking.
Countries in Asia have much to learn from Australia in this regard – so the balance that’s finally been achieved by AIME 2013 provides a great platform for two-way exchange so that we can blend the best of East and West. (The Malaysia Spice Market was a popular spot for meal breaks serving not-too-bad Malaysian food cooked by Australian chefs)
The other trend I observed is the blurring of lines between corporate travel and meetings as corporations increasingly see overlaps between the two areas. ACTE (Association of Corporate Travel Executives) is stepping up activity in the meetings area, it held a couple of sessions at AIME and I met corporate buyers who increasingly hold dual portfolios.
But what inspired me most at this year’s AIME were the insights I drew from the first CEO Summit which I happened to moderate on Tuesday afternoon. This is a series of CEO Summits being rolled out by Reed Travel Exhibitions at its events and it’s designed to take chief executives’ minds away from day-to-day issues and get them to think about the larger issues that affect business.