Americas Incentive, Business Travel & Meeting Exhibition (AIBTM) opened


The Americas Incentive, Business Travel & Meeting Exhibition (AIBTM) opened yesterday at the Orange County Convention Center to a strong turnout for its Knowledge Program. Hosted Buyers registered to attend over 1,500 multiple sessions during the day which represented a variety of topics including updates on new technologies, meetings management, and innovation to name a few.

Meeting professional Sharon Fisher attended the morning’s “Apptastic! 60 Apps in 60 Minutes” session calling it “an absolutely fantastic session. Jim Spellos made it work for everyone. He is surely the best technology speaker I have ever heard.”

Mid-day, Keynoter Michael Hoffman, president of Igniting Performance, gave a dynamic address on how to become a person of influence during his presentation “Becoming #1…On Purpose! Igniting a Culture of Success and Mastering the Tornado!”

The tornado, he defines, are all the factors that affect meeting planning like cost pressures, tight deadlines, last minute changes to event plans, working with many people, all with different personalities and the list goes on.

He then discussed how meeting professionals could influence positive changes and make great teams by building confidence and competence. Confidence, he explained, grows when teammates thank and appreciate each other. Employees’ competence develops as leaders provide encouraging feedback on their work output.

“The number one thread that runs through all great people is making a choice to play,” said Hoffman. “Don’t be a victim of the tornado, become the master of the tornado…on purpose.”

Keynote session attendee and Hosted Buyer Jan Shoemaker said, “The keynote was extremely engaging. Michael Hoffman had the entire audience on their feet and the content is definitely something I can adopt into my day-to-day business.”

Following the keynote, Jim Austin, principal of Decision Strategies International, kicked off this year’s Meetings Leadership Summit, which set out to give senior executives insights into key ways to grow and move forward in today’s challenging business environment.

Noting reasons why it’s so hard to stay at the top like corporate arrogance, insufficient attention to weak signals, lack of vision and risk taking, and trapped in yesterday’s business models, Austin defined a four step approach to driving growth: 1) improve decision-making; 2) balance “core” with “innovation”; 3) seek innovation from the customer’s perspective; and 4) drive change.

“There are great opportunities in the meetings and conventions business if we look at things differently and we are willing to blend innovative ideas with our core ideas,” said Austin.

Today the exhibition hall opens at 10 a.m. following the Meetings Mean Business @ AIBTM session, which begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Orange County Convention Center’s Chapin Theater.

“This is my first time at AIBTM and I can already say I can’t wait to attend next year,” said Meeting Planner Amanda Sherman. “As an event planner and association member, you absolutely must have a presence at this show.”