BEAM sits down with Silke Calder, AIME’s event director, to define what makes an event succeed and the arduous journey she and her team traversed to produce the show.
Calder talked about the energy that the show captured over three days and provided a glimpse of the trials and tribulations to produce the trade show that welcomed international delegates physically for the first time in two years.
“The team worked hard to recruit the right buyers, get the right number and quality of buyers. We did have to shift our focus, however, meaning we had to invite a lot more Australian buyers this year, and people were generally satisfied with the meetings.
“It was quite a personal journey coming here one and a half to two years ago, straight into quarantine when I flew to Australia from Germany. Coming out of quarantine, we went straight into lockdown while building a team at the same time and starting to organise a show from home.
“Good things came out of this as well. We managed to grow as a team and get to know each other. Until the show, I’d never met a few of my team members before. But as you can see, we were still able to produce this event and all the hard work has paid off.”
Silke said the positive feedback was beyond her expectations. Whilst a lot of the face-to-face meetings took place, there were still many countries that could not join. To cater to that, AIME partnered with tech company Grip to connect quality buyers and exhibitors online from 28 March to 1 April 2022. Grip’s AI matchmaking algorithm used over a billion AI data points to unite preferences and match connections, giving delegates and exhibitors more predictive and accurate leads when it comes to potential business partners.
She also shared, “Of all the challenges we’ve had with the border restrictions, what many people outside of Australia probably didn’t know was that it was not only the international borders. Our biggest problem was actually within Australia, so putting an event in Australia where you already had to put a domestic focus on and then dealing with border closures within the country that prevented inter-state travel was very challenging. Until the end, we weren’t sure what was going to happen.
“At the end of the day, all of Australia managed to come together for this event, and I’m just absolutely excited and emotional. I cannot remember the number of people I’ve hugged in the last couple of days. It takes a certain kind of person to work in this industry, and we are all very much the same. We need this face-to-face connection. I look at this as a kind of celebration. Looking forward to AIME 2023, I hope there are no more border restrictions and we can have the big country pavilions back.”
Defining the secret ingredient to the success of AIME 2022, Calder added, “I can only be as good as the team, and I have the best team in the world. A really hardworking female team, three of which are new mothers. With this new way of working, these mums can still work, and the passion that they brought to the event, whether it is marketing, hosted buyers, or sales, it’s so amazing. This project is our baby, and we’ve finally delivered.”
More on business events in Australia… Read Australia recovery in action.