Getting out the office to increase productivity during our annual meetings means popping 5 minutes down the road to a budget hotel, right? Wrong! With companies investing more in their employees, we are seeing a rise in international travel for meetings, conferences and events. With this in mind, we jetted off to IBTM Arabia to build relationships with our suppliers in the Middle East!
My direct flight from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways was an enjoyable journey – with ample leg room, attentive cabin crew and endless lists of in-flight entertainment in fewer than 7 hours, we had touched down in Abu Dhabi! A short journey from the airport and we were checking into our hotel, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers. From the jaw-dropping sea views, to the bar on the 62nd floor (yes, 62 floors made my stomach go funny too!) and staff that mysteriously appeared from no-where whenever you needed them, this was set to be a great venue for the annual event.
The event was kicked off with a keynote session delivered by Rohit Talwar who has an interesting take on the future of the industry! This was shortly followed by a panel discussion about raising competitiveness to a new level – this was a great way to get an insight into how each country is implementing strategic plans to increase the numbers of tourists visiting each year, be that leisure or corporate!
Once the morning session had come to a close, it was time to get networking; No not standing around in daunting conference halls feeling sheepish about approaching the masses of groups you are faced with! IBTM had put together a discovery afternoon jam packed with great activities not only to get you networking, but to get your brain thinking about the many ways that you can incorporate fun and team building into your next conference or event. You could feel the excitement in the air as we approached Yas Marina Circuit; after a quick briefing on the conference facilities available onsite, the group was split in two and we were given the option to go-karting, or to go drag racing in a Chevrolet (you can probably guess which group most people wanted to be in!). The excitement didn’t stop there as we were then whizzed off to Ferrari World and given the opportunity to ride on the world’s fastest roller coaster – an activity opened with welcome arms by the adrenaline junkies of the group! To end the day with a bang, we were then transferred to the Yas Viceroy for an evening drinks reception. Surrounded by the F1 Yas Marina Circuit, this is definitely a venue to host those delegates that can be a little harder to impress!
I’m sure you’re thinking that this sounds like all play and no work, but this definitely wasn’t the case! With pre-scheduled appointments with preferred exhibitors, the second two days were jam packed with back to back 1-to-1 meetings. With 15 minutes with each supplier, it really gave us the time to explain exactly what support we need and then gave the venues the opportunity to offer solutions and to present the facilities they felt would work well for the type of enquiries we receive. With the weird and wonderful requests that come with the TV and Film Industry, it was a great way to build relationships with exhibitors so they know exactly what we’re looking for and often with a tight turn around.
To end the event with a bang, all suppliers and buyers dressed in their best white attire and headed to the Rotana Beach, Abu Dhabi, for an evening of entertainment and mouth-wateringly good food! Think French scallops, Argentinean meat and G&T on tap – not to mention the magnificent musicians, beautiful backdrop and splendid staff. The evening gave all delegates the opportunity to build relationships outside of the office and with great friendship, comes great business!
With the opportunity to gain local knowledge, meet industry suppliers on a 1-to-1 basis and to get a feel for what is readily available in Abu Dhabi, IBTM Arabia 2018 was a great success for Access Bookings!
Think you may have an event that could be hosted in Abu Dhabi? Contact us today with your requirements and we will source the best rates and availability about (we’ve got insider knowledge after all!)