The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center is known as the largest exhibition and meetings venue in the continental US and features 882 guest rooms onsite, 6 ballrooms, more than 100 technologically advanced conference and breakout rooms, some 600,000 sq ft of meeting, convention and exhibit function space and 4.5 acres of tropical gardens. The property will create the perfect setting for bringing together meetings industry professionals from across the globe.
Jaime McAuley, Event Director, ibtm america commented, “The excitement behind delivering our event in different cities in the US adds variety and new experiences for all our attendees. One of the hottest convention cities in the US right now, Nashville is a bustling cultural hot-spot with more than 120 live music venues, a burgeoning culinary scene featuring everything from southern fare to haute cuisine, and a number of incredible meeting venues to offer international and regional planners.”
This year’s event will open with a 1 to 1 ratio of elite international and regional Association, Agency and Corporate buyers and industry suppliers, all of whom will have an opportunity to take part in a 100% compatible meeting or what ibtm america is calling 100% mutually matched business appointments. This system will enable Hosted Buyers and exhibitors to request appointments with the business leads they identify and create a diary of up to 30 appointments.
McAuley commented, “We were the first to roll out mutually matched appointments at ibtm america 2015 and we have been working to perfect the system even further to eliminate non-relevant appointments and maximise opportunity for ROI. As a result we are now able to deliver 100% mutually matched business appointments, which we believe is a first for an event of this kind in the US. The system is a unique method of ensuring that both parties at ibtm america have control of their time and investment at the event, knowing they have back to back appointments that are totally at their own request, matching their business objectives.”
All Hosted Buyers will be verified against a strict qualification criteria, which requires that they are senior level decision makers with proven budget and business to place internationally. Some of the US Hosted Buyers attending this year include the Geological Society of America, AT&T, the American Association for Cancer Research, Genoptix Medical Laboratory, Continental Contitech, Fiat Chrysler Automotive, Herbalife International, Inc., GM Financial, Kroger, Nature’s Way, Corning Inc., Wells Fargo, The Advisory Board Company, Meridian Institute, and Dell Software. 81% of registered Hosted Buyers are looking to place business internationally.
Attending Hosted Buyers will organise a variety events, the most popular being conferences and meetings, incentive travel, conventions/congresses, exhibitions, staff training/motivation, luxury travel and business travel. Hosted Buyers have also indicated a variety of product interests; 90% indicated an interest in hotels, 83% in conference meeting venues, 67% in Destination Management Companies, 62% in destinations, and 61% in resorts and spas.
Leading hotels and resorts, destinations, technology providers, incentive providers, DMCs, transportation companies, convention centres, cruise lines and more will exhibit. Exhibitors will be able to use the meeting pod format introduced at ibtm america 2015, which had a 95% satisfaction rating among exhibitors who felt that the new pod format signified the ever changing needs of the industry and that following their 2015 experience, they were likely to exhibit at ibtm america 2016.
All exhibitors and Hosted Buyers will be able to take part in a number of networking events and education sessions, designed to foster business connections among attendees and create an industry community throughout the three days that works and plays together.
The ibtm america Knowledge Forum will give exhibitors and Hosted Buyers the opportunity to attend CEU Accredited Sessions and experiential sessions covering thought provoking topics such as “Digital Security,” “Meetings Design” and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) areas that will resonate with current trends within the industry. ibtm america will also introduce the brand-new TECHCollective, created in partnership with DAHLIA+ and located within the Central Hub, featuring live demonstrations from a select number of innovative start-ups exhibiting at the event.
A total of ten exhibitors will be given the opportunity to showcase their products, including Conference.io, EventCollab, InitLive, and Hubvents.
McAuley commented, “Technology is one of the fastest growing sectors within the meetings and events industry and this means that meeting professionals are always playing catch up. This year we wanted to shine a spotlight on the top start-up tech companies attending our event and provide them with an opportunity to show the industry what they can do in person. The TECHCollective will provide a great educational platform for everyone to learn about the latest technology solutions as well as allow our Hosted Buyers to touch, feel and play with potential business partners’ products.”
Hosted in conjunction with the Nashville CVC, Visit Music City, Discovery Day will kick start ibtm america 2016 with tours of The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, the Music City Center, Nashville’s newest convention centre which boasts 1.2 million square feet of meeting and exhibition space, and the Omni Hotel, one of Nashville’s premier luxury hotels, rated #1 on Cvent’s Top 100 Hotels in the United States.
Networking events will include a luncheon inspired by the music culture of Nashville where Lyric Crew, a group of seasoned songwriters and studio musicians, will work with attendees to create an ibtm america theme song, a unique evening in downtown Nashville with live music, bull riding and traditional Southern food tastings and dancing at Tequila Cowboy, one of Nashville’s hottest Honky Tonks, and an evening reception at one of The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center’s award winning restaurants.
“With 100% mutually matched business appointments rolling out this year, the focus is really on making this a quality event that offers a truly personalised experience to attendees providing maximum opportunity for ROI. We want to make sure that every moment of their time is accounted for, whether that’s connecting with industry peers at Discovery Day, meeting potential partners at one of our networking events, or attending business appointments with the buyers or suppliers they have identified as relevant to their business interests,” added McAuley.