Ahead of IBTM World, taking place at Fira, Barcelona, from 28 to 30 November, we caught up with Neslihan Gundes, Senior Manager of the IBTM World Hosted Buyer Programme, for insight into who exhibitors can expect to meet at this year’s show, and a glimpse behind the scenes of IBTM’s celebrated matchmaking process.
Who can exhibitors expect to meet at this year’s show?
Recruitment of Hosted Buyers has been gathering pace, and we are in a very strong position for this year’s event. Our emphasis as always is on finding and approving top quality Hosted Buyers.
Over half of IBTM World’s approved buyers hail from global corporations, and around a third are from prominent associations, with the rest from agency side.
High profile Hosted Buyers will be joining us from American Express, BBC, BMW Group, Bosch, Coach, Charlotte Tilbury, Coca Cola, The Economist, Oriflame, UEFA, Dnata, as well as associations including The European Association of Nuclear Medicine, International Association for the Study of Pain, National Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WADEM), and so many more.
What does your role as Hosted Buyer manager entail?
My role is to ensure the UK and overseas Hosted Buyer team is recruiting the best quality buyers for IBTM World. Our Hosted Buyer programme remains a benchmark in the meetings and events industry, and we have a team dedicated year-round to finding the most impactful buyers.  Hosted Buyers are only approved once they have provided three references from suppliers, proving they have budget and spending power.
Once buyers are approved, they can start making their preferences and identifying the exhibitors they would like to meet. We really believe that success is in the detail, and that’s why we continue to optimise our matchmaking platform to facilitate only the most valuable business connections between Hosted Buyers and exhibitors.
As we approach the show, I am also spending a lot of time with our third-party suppliers to ensure all logistics are in place for every buyer to have the best experience during their IBTM journey.
How have you evolved the Hosted Buyer matchmaking system from last year?
We’ve developed a new guidance tool, WalkMe, which improves the platform’s ability for exhibitors to search for and request appointments with key buyers. Designed to be a ‘how to’ companion, the new tool walks exhibitors through every step of the preference selection process.
This year, the highest quality visitor buyers will also have access to the matchmaking platform for the first time meaning they too can schedule meetings with exhibitors before the show.
We have enhanced the appointment request process by adding additional information boxes so that buyers can search by size of venue and region, and exhibitors can search by type of event the buyers are organising.
What should Hosted Buyers be excited about this year?
This year on day one we have the Association Leaders’ Forum sponsored by the Amsterdam Convention Bureau – a programme of insightful content focusing on how the associations community can contribute to the ongoing debate around sustainability and the challenges that come with it. There is a new-look knowledge programme of purpose-driven content on all three days, delivered through a mix of new formats designed to increase impact and audience engagement.
On top of this, Hosted Buyers will have access to exclusive networking opportunities both at the show and in the city of Barcelona. The Hosted Buyer lounge will this year be sponsored by Morocco and will feature delicious food inspired by the country in a relaxing buyer-only space.
What is your role during the show?
My role will be making sure buyers and exhibitors are having the most effective face to face business meetings! We are on the ground to ensure that every prescheduled meeting takes place, and I’m also responsible for any operational or logistical issue that may crop up – this can be anything from checking that flights are running smoothly, to making sure every hotel transfer is booked. We are bringing around 3,000 buyers from all over the world to the show and working with over 40 hotels, so it is always a busy show for myself and the team, but hugely enjoyable at the same time.
For more information, please visit: https://www.ibtmworld.com/
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