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The IBTM World industry trends

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IBTM World Barcelona, the first face-to-face event in the IBTM portfolio in two years, has been hailed a huge success by organisers. With over 30.000 pre-scheduled one-to-one business meetings having taken place, and more than 7000 attendees joining for quality one-to-one business meetings, networking and education in the city of Barcelona.

Over 1200 exhibiting companies from 70 countries around the world attended the three-day event, including the CVBs of Germany, Dubai Tourism, Istanbul, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungarian, Croatia, and Norway, Atout France, Meet in Ireland, Lithuania, Turespana Convention Bureau (Spain), Hilton, Titanic Hotels, Hyatt, and GL Events. In addition, several new exhibitors attended, such as the Montalbano Group, Manchester City Football Club, Sardinia Convention Bureau, Basquetour, and The Celtic Collection.

Under the theme of ‘New Business, New Tech, New World’ there was a schedule of inspirational educational sessions around four themes: Trends and technology; gamification and engagement; the future of event planning; and career and personal development, delivered by expert speakers from the United Nations Climate Change, LinkedIn, CrowdComms, VisitScotland, BBC Creative and more.

The IBTM World Industry Trends Report, one of the industry’s most comprehensive and far reaching studies on the future of meetings and events was presented by Alistair Turner on the first day of the event and touched on key trends affecting the industry, from the micro to the macro, looking at the differences in global regions, and investigating the role of vertical markets.

Trends driven by human needs

The global think tank ‘Trends Watch’ characterizes trends that are all driven by ‘human needs’. It reminds us that everything we do, especially within the events industry, is driven by human behaviours and, as these behaviours change, they affect wider global trends.

The organisation classifies these behavioural needs as: Convenience; Self-Improvement; Status; and Delight. As the needs change, new trends emerge; for instance, the need for convenience has spurred the growth in On Demand services and companies such as Uber, Netflix and Just Eat. The need for Self-improvement is behind much of the move towards wellness, fitness, nutritional understanding and health. Status continues to drive the growth of social media platforms while Delight is why people love events, because they want to really experience the ‘wow’ factor.


The trend that was widely discussed at the event, was Sustainability. We expect Sustainability to be the main topic for the upcoming years in both the event and business industry. It has been one of the more positive trends from the pandemic; a greater awareness of the connectivity of every part of the planet, and how we are each both responsible and reliant on those local, national, and international communities.

Across the world, the meetings and events industry is assessing both its responsibility and ability to make visible and concrete change through the running of events. There are already many initiatives that allow organisers to measure, track, report and improve CO2 outputs, both within the meeting itself, but also outside of it. From the supply chain associated with the event to delegate travel to the event. Meetings and events planners have the opportunity to make major changes by doing small things. However, the conversation has moved away from the traditional ‘smaller’ initiatives around saving energy, using recyclable materials and reducing single use plastics for the decoration of the venue, to how the industry can make bigger contributions. Food will also play a large part in the conversation. Think about the reduction of food waste by encouraging meetings and events planners to under order, not over order.

Every day you can see new companies making their own Net Zero targets. The event and business industry needs to continue to be the solution to climate change, and not the problem. Is your company going to be in the forefront of business sustainability or get plowed under? The choice is yours.

For more information please visit: www.ibtmworld.com

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