ibtm world show Barcelona preview

Event overview

This year is a major milestone for ibtm events, as it is the 30th anniversary edition ibtm world event, taking place in Barcelona from 28 – 30 November 2017. While celebrating the milestone, the focus for ibtm is firmly on the next 30 years and beyond.

As always, there will be an incredibly broad spread of exhibitors. This year, some 3,000 exhibiting companies representing over 150 countries will attend, ensuring a comprehensive offering for meetings and events planners.  Exhibitors range from destinations and conference centres to technology companies and suppliers from across the industry, and over 70,000 pre-scheduled meetings are set to take place over the three-day event.

The event’s Knowledge Programme, a huge draw for attendees, will this year be headlined by two keynote speakers of global renown and includes topical panel sessions and an inspiring and educational programme of content covering seven engaging themes, including industry trends, safety and security and innovation, disruption and technology.

The event’s market-leading Innovation Zone and Technology and Services Zone experience increased footfall every year as they provide a much-anticipated opportunity to discover and interact with the latest new and emerging technologies and solutions.

What’s new for 2017?

There are several new initiatives for ibtm world 2017, all aimed at ensuring the best possible experience for customers and ensuring it remains an unmissable event on the industry calendar.

This year will also see the rollout of an enhanced Hosted Buyer programme which will now see ibtm events pre-selecting and qualifying Hosted Buyers, allowing them to be fast-tracked through the process. This will allow ibtm events to be even more targeted in ensuring the highest calibre Hosted Buyers are invited to attend the event. The programme has also been designed to deliver added value for exhibitors, by targeting buyers matched according to exhibitor needs.

Additionally, on the back of research indicating a requirement for more appointments from both exhibitors and Hosted Buyers, this year Hosted Buyers will commit to 10 pre-scheduled appointments per day, creating more appointments and therefore more opportunities to do business.

As always, a huge part of the appeal of the event is the amazing breadth of exhibitors in attendance. Several exhibitors are this year taking bigger stands, and brands who had shared in previous years are choosing to take stands in their own right.

New exhibitors confirmed to attend this year include Visit Wales, Synergy International Italy, Fiesta Hotel Group, Meet Puerto Rico, Visit Almaty, Titanic Hotels, Ceara, Designer Incentives and Conferences India.

As well as new exhibitors attending the event for the first time, there are clear signs of growth in several markets, for example Africa. Botswana Tourism, Uganda Tourist Board and Tanzania Tourist Board are all taking stands this year; North Africa’s largest and newest conference centre, CIC Alger, which opened in 2016 in Algiers, will exhibit for the first time this year. This is in addition to other returning African destinations such as South Africa Tourism, Rwanda Convention Bureau, Kenya Tourism Board, Moroccan National Tourist Office and Egypt Tourist Authority.

As well as a strong field of brand new exhibitors, this year several organisations have taken their own stand for the first time, having previously been exhibiting partners, including the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh and Gyeonggi Tourism Organisation from Korea.

As always, the quality of Hosted Buyers is extremely high, with representation from large worldwide corporations such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Gucci, Mars Incorporated, L’Oreal Active Cosmetics, Microsoft, Montblanc, Philips, Volvo, The LEGO Group; Siemens Ltd.; UCI (Santander & BNP Paribas Spain); Burger King UK; Merck; Coriant GmbH, Cisco and Heineken.

Buyers are already confirmed from Associations including The Optical Society (United States), European Health Management Association (Belgium), European Society of Ophthalmology (United Kingdom), International Stereoscopic Union (Germany), World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (United States) and UEFA (Switzerland).

Also new for 2017 is the Start-up Pavilion, where attendees can meet with an exciting mix of suppliers to discover and learn about new technologies and experiential solutions that are set to make a real impact on event planning and production in the future.

Further new initiatives and additions to the event will be announced in coming weeks.

Knowledge Programme

ibtm world’s market-leading Knowledge Programme is a key attraction for attendees, as it allows them to take tangible learnings back to the workplace and ensure their finger is on the pulse of the latest industry talking points and developments.

This year the programme will be headlined by two globally renowned keynote speakers from outside of the meetings and events world, one of whom is Dame Stella Rimington, author and the first female director general of MI5, the UK Security Service, who will draw on her 27 years’ experience in the Security Service to discuss her fascinating career and her work in counter-subversion, counter-espionage and counter-terrorism, as well as the industry’s outlook on safety and security going forward.

The second keynote speaker is Yancey Strickler, co-founder and CEO of crowdfunding website Kickstarter. For Yancey’s session, entitled ‘Resist and thrive, how new models and ways of thinking can beat the status quo,’ Yancey will draw on his almost decade-long experience in Kickstarter to explain the company’s unique history, its revolutionary decision to put its values ahead of profits, and share secrets on how the company formulates its innovative strategies.

During the programme, attendees will see a variety of key speakers, including Donald Hyslop, chair of the board of trustees, Borough Market; Robert Loeschke and Dominic Marder, global business development, American Express Meetings & Events; Nadine Vienne, Corporate Events Section Manager at Nissan; Lenny Talarico, Executive Director of Events, MGM Resorts Event Production and Roger Haskett, artistic director, Engagement Unlimited.

The full programme of sessions covers themes including Industry trends; Engagement & experiences; Safety, security and risk management; Innovation, disruption and technology; Sustainability and CSR; Professional & staff development and Business development and strategy. Further details will be announced imminently.

Finally, the ‘Dome’ is a dedicated space where destination exhibitors reveal everything there is to know about their destination.


Technology is playing a pivotal role in the ongoing evolution of the MICE industry and ibtm world ensures that attendees have a forum where they can experience, learn about and interact with new and emerging solutions. ibtm world is well known for its pioneering technology and innovation offer, so it’s no surprise that interest in the Technology and Services Zone and Innovation Zone, where the winners and finalists of the Tech Watch Award are showcased, continues to increase each year as attendees seek to expand their knowledge of new and future technology to enhance their own events.

Attendees can interact with the latest emerging technology in the Innovation Zone and Technology and Services Zone. The Innovation Zone offers a lively, interactive experience to all participants demonstrating solutions, applications and technologies on specific meetings and events industry challenges and the Technology and Services Zone offers the opportunity to meet with leading international technology suppliers to help take events to a whole new level.

ibtm world recently launched this year’s edition of its renowned Tech Watch Award, which recognises companies with a new and innovative technology product or service with an application within the meetings, incentive, conference and events (MICE) industry.

For the first time, there are three categories for the awards: Logistics and Production, Management and Marketing and Audience Engagement. Entries will be judged by a panel of well-known experts from the events and technology industries, chaired by tech industry stalwart, Corbin Ball, who together will select a winner and two finalists in each category and will then vote for one of the three category winners to be named ibtm world Tech Watch Award 2017 winner.

The three category winners and six finalists will be offered the opportunity to feature in the Innovation Zone, where delegates will get a chance to experience and interact with the products.

The Tech Watch Award is the industry’s longest-standing award of its kind, and is extremely well recognised across both the MICE and technology industries, thanks to the exposure winners receive as well as its high-profile judges.

Planned networking events

ibtm world has a wide-ranging networking programme, to ensure all attendees visitors get the most out of the event. This year planned networking events include a spectacular 80s themed Welcome Party to celebrate ibtm world’s 30th anniversary and popular MPI Rendezvous, which will take place at the beach front nightclub, Opium. A highlight at the event is Networking Hour, which includes show stopping performances and live music and cultural experiences from some of the global exhibitors. The Meetings Leadership Summit is a high-profile, invitation only networking event that kicks off ibtm world each year. There is also of course the opportunity to forge valuable new connections visiting exhibitors’ stands.

Supporting the future of the industry

ibtm events is committed to supporting the future of our industry and will once again be partnering with ICCA to host the Forum for Young Professionals in Barcelona, from 26 – 28 November. The team has worked with ICCA for 11 consecutive years to deliver a programme for young events professionals that gives them a deeper understanding of the different industry sectors, helps them strengthen their connections and networks with peers and industry leaders from across the globe and gain experience of working on multi-cultural and buyer-supplier teams.

ibtm world 2017 will take place from 28 – 30 November 2017 at Fira Barcelona. In 2016, almost 15,000 delegates attended ibtm world and over 67,000 pre-scheduled meetings were arranged over the three-day show.

About ibtm events

ibtm events, part of Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading showcase for the meetings and events industry (also known as MICE) with a portfolio of 6 global and regional events providing business solutions on 5 continents. They include ibtm world, ibtm arabia, ibtm africa, ibtm americas, ibtm china and AIME.