Left to Right: Peter King, chief executive, MCEC; Graeme Barnett, senior exhibition director, Reed Travel Exhibitions; Karen Bolinger – CEO, MCB; and Matt Pearce – CEO, Talk2 Media and Events Left to Right: Peter King, chief executive, MCEC; Graeme Barnett, senior exhibition director, Reed Travel Exhibitions; Karen Bolinger – CEO, MCB; and Matt Pearce – CEO, Talk2 Media and Events

AIME: Changing of the guard

Reed Exhibitions is getting ready to hand over the baton, as the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo 2018 kicks off in Melbourne this week. 

Graeme Barnett, senior exhibition director at Reed, says it feels ‘strange’ that the close of AIME on Wednesday is also the handing over point of the AIME baton. Talk2 Media & Events will take over the reigns starting next year. 

‘AIME has been apart of the Reed family for more than 20 years. This will be the last AIME under Reed management, and then we hand over the baton to Talk2. We’ve worked very close with them to ensure a smooth transition - we all have this event and this industry’s best interests at heart,’ says Barnett.

Matt Pearce, chief executive at Talk2 Media and Events, says a lot of work is already going into AIME 2019. 

‘It’s hard to believe that 12 months ago I was walking around AIME as more than just a visitor - I started to look at it more critically.

‘The work, the research and the discussion of so many in the industry has been incredibly enlightening and the goodwill for AIME is extraordinary and we will capitalise on that,’ he says.

Pearce says when the opportunity of AIME presented itself, he grabbed it with both hands. ‘We quickly established a good working relationship with Melbourne convention bureau, and we share a strong commitment to the future of AIME. 

‘Ultimately we see we our opportunity or our goal of making AIME the grand slam of business events. We see the opportunity of this event to sit along amongst other international exhibitions as the preeminent business event for the Asia Pacific business events industry,’ says Pearce.

Pearce says Talk2 is committed to increasing the number of hosted buyers to AIME dramatically. ‘It can’t be an Asia Pacific event that just relies on Australia. The pool needs to have the right mix of visitors for our exhibitors, and we’re committed to that,’ he says.

Key to this vision is to ramp up the networking available, Pearce says.

‘We are a face-to-face industry and we all understand the value in this, and we know that business will follow. We are working closely with Karen and mcb to increase the networking opportunities both on and off the show floor.'