FACE-TO-FACE business meetings still the best Buyers who attendd AIME 2009, Asia-Pacific-Incentives& Meetings Expo, held in Melbourne, Australia, have confirmed what many in the meetings and incentive industry know intuitively and whar recent surveys have shown: nothing beats face-to-face- business meetings. DR. Yvonne Luxford, Manager, Policy and Advocacy, Royal Australasian College of Physicians said that AIME was incredibly helpful, even though her workplace uses a PCO for conference organisation. “I think that I learnt more at AIME in two days than in years of experience on conference organising committees.” Dr Luxford said. “I love the Internet and tend to conduct all my research online. However, I learnt things at AIME through chatting with people that you simply don’t get on an website. These are the kinds of things that only come up in conversation as you meander between subjects. It also allows you to ask questions specific to the needs of your group, and get targeted responses, rather than wading through material that was not relevant.
This allows the operators to be flexible in what they can offer you –a service that you simply caan’t get on a website or in a brochure,” she said. Dorina Martelli, Retail Conference & Events Manager, Bankwest Retail agrees and says face-to-face contact ensures you find exactly what you are looking for with minimal fuss. “It’s amazing how many suppliers I have met at networking functions who have put me in touch with other suppliers that I am now doing business with, even though I didn’t need their services two years ago.” Both Dr Luxford and ms Martelli attended AIME 2009 as part of the event’s Hosted and Buyer Programme. Their comments reflect the findings of recent surveys such as the Hrvard Business Review study of 2 300 business leadres in the United States, Europe and Asia, released in Setember 2009. This study confirmed that face-to-face meetings remain essential to doing business and are prefered by executives over teleconferencing or other alternatives.
Harvard Business Review research editor, Angela Herrin, said: “Our survey revealed that what most busienesspeople really want is solid human connections. Technology serves as an effective supplement, but faceto-face communication is the brodest bandwidth communication you can have in professional life, helping to cement long-term relationships and drive business growth.” AIME is the premier event in the Asia Pacific for people who organise meetings, conferences, incentives or special events. It attracts more than 850 exhibitors from 50 countries each year and around 3 500 visitors. Some tips from last years buyers. “I have two main thoughts for first timers at AIME,” says Dr Luxford. “Start each meeting with an honest run down of what your organisation’s needs are – this will help the vendor understand what products are bestsuited to you and then you can get down to usefull discussion. The second word of advice is to look carefully at your scedule and ensure it is realistic.”
Ms Martelli says: â€œEnjoy every moment of Aime, work hard, do your research to get the most out of your presceduled appointments.â€? South African Conference, Exhibition & Events Guide 2009 Vol 29 No. 12