AIBTM in Orlando

Last year I had to take a break from two conferences for which I’d gained a certain amount of momentum over the years, all because a little one emerged into this world in mid May.  SGMP, which I’d attended every year since 2003, I missed in 2013 – and AIBTM, which I’d attended in consecutive years in Baltimore, I skipped last year in Chicago.

This year, thanks to my friends at Wyndham Hotels, I was afforded an opportunity to return to AIBTM in Orlando.  I remember the first year I attended thinking it was the biggest show I’d ever seen, with enormous booths the likes of which I’d never stepped foot in.  That was true – until four months later when I first set my eyes on IMEX.  But this blog is not about IMEX – well I guess it is to some degree.  It’s hard to have a conversation about one without the other.

The shows are similar.  AIBTM is getting a reputation for being IMEX Jr.  And there’s truth to that.  There’s a lot of the same suppliers but the booths are a bit smaller, a bit less grand, there’s fewer destinations, particularly internationally, and overall there’s a bit less frenzy.  Pace is a bit more relaxed.  There’s less education, but by no means lesser education and there’s less networking events.  But let’s face it – just how many networking events can I be at at one time?

In truth, if I had to pick just one, I’d pick IMEX.  And not just because it’s in Las Vegas each year.  But just because AIBTM still feels like a subset of IMEX.  That I could get everything I needed in one place and then some at IMEX.  But I love the fact that I can attend both thanks to my suppliers.  This way it’s like doubling up my appointments.  And the more exposure the better.  I hope I get the opportunity to do both for years to come!

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