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Attending AIME | Where Inspiration Begins
If you don’t know what AIME is, let us introduce it to you. AIME is the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo, a two day exhibition held in Melbourne for those involved in organising business travel, meetings, incentives and events. Sound a bit too formal for you? Well we’re here to tell you why everyone in the events industry – whether you’re a PCO, event agency, supplier or wedding planner – should consider attending.
The tag line for AIME 2016 was ‘where inspiration begins’, so here is a list of what inspired us during our AIME road trip…
1. Saxton sessions
As part of the AIME Knowledge Program (the part where you sit and listen), the Saxton speakers bureau hosted a selection of some of Australia’s most inspirational speakers. There were courageous people like Turia Pitt and small business leaders such as Emma & Tom.
The session that captured our attention the most was titled “Entrepreneurship & Technology”, featuring Naomi Simson and Chris Riddell. As a small online start-up – we sat, listened, nodded our head and lapped up every little detail. For us, this session was by far one of the most rewarding moments of the event.
It also reminds us how important sourcing quality speakers (or an emcee) for your event can be. Finding speakers that can reach your audience on a personal AND professional level, can be the investment that makes your event memorable, worthwhile and has guests returning to your events year after year.
2. The welcome event
The Welcome Event, hosted by the Melbourne Convention Bureau, was the official social event of the exhibition and everyone was there. Besides the fantastic opportunity to catch up with clients, suppliers and old colleagues, it was also a good opportunity to experience a live special event. The event was billed as showcasing all that Melbourne has to offer in a year… on one night.
Event professionals are a tough crowd to please – there is always someone who thinks they could have done a better job. However, everyone seemed to be impressed and have a great time. Here is a little run down of the highlights…
The venue: Described on the invite as 400 City Road (conveniently walking distance from MECE), it turned out to be the home of Planetshakers – a church. Not your traditional church – this venue looked more like the inside of a concert venue – with large foyer, huge main hall with staging, rigging and production and a funky little area off to the side that was dressed to replicate Melbourne’s laneways. The event was designed to allow guests to roam from one room to the next and made great use of the space. As a blank canvas venue, it has a lot to offer for special events, product launches and presentations.
The food: Atlantic Group did a stellar job with the catering. The 15m long antipasto table was a fabulous place to graze, so too was the equally long dessert table at the end of the night. There were large portions of fish and chips doing the rounds and dessert canapes later as well. However, the highlight had to be the pop up China Town tucked away in a cosy (and rather crowded) nook of the venue. Here guests watched chefs stretching out handmade noodles and then frying them up to serve them hot and fresh. Waiters dished out bamboo steamers full of steaming hot delicious dim sum. There was plenty of food and no one went away hungry!
The entertainment: The stage show created by EMG was spectacular! It was a great example of mixing digital media with live entertainment. Singers and dancers that featured in the video content appeared live on stage in a seamless transition – as if stepping out of the screen. The visuals took you through all of Melbourne’s major events, highlighting the sport, culture and diversity the city has to offer. Finishing off with fireworks – it really was a fantastic production. It also proves once again why video production is a must-have addition to your event.
3. Cool technology you need to know about
Virtual reality is making its way into the world of events and the possibilities are pretty exciting. We had the pleasure of meeting Scann3d, an Australian start-up that is making virtual reality an accessible feature for events and suppliers. At present the team are focussing on creating 3D experiences for venues and destinations.
We had a go on the Business Events Sydney stand and, for the first time, climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. We felt silly wearing the head set at first, but the experience was pretty exciting.
Creating 3D visuals of venues and destinations is one thing, but we think there are even more possibilities for this technology to be used when planning events.
The experiential market in London is using this same technology to create some exciting experiences that go beyond a look around a static space. Here are just a few inspired ideas… Invite guests to experience a one-on-one concert with a well-known pop star, placing your brand front and centre. Put medical conference delegates in the operating theatre to watch a new surgery technique. Let customers experience how your product is made in the factory before they see the final product at your event. Or let them sit in the driver’s seat of a car you are launching and take it for a drive.
Being able to bring a snippet of an experience to life as part of an event allows event planners to be more engaging, more exciting and much more memorable.Here is an example of Scann3d’s 360º video – Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. You can explore the video by dragging your mouse around. It doesn’t have quite the same effect as when wearing the headsets, but you get the idea…
4. Where in the world should you go?
For those of you planning incentive trips, staff retreats, destination events or weddings, AIME is definitely the place to go for ideas and inspiration. There were representatives from all over the world there to convince you why their destination is the next best location for your guests. Nothing like talking face to face with a local to get the best ideas for your events.
5. Networking on a high
It may not be a secret, but doing business in our industry is all about networking. Building up connections with your potential clients, your suppliers and even your competitors is paramount to succeeding. At AIME you can do all that and have a lot of fun too!
4. Staying at the Crown Metropol
While in town we stayed at the Crown Metropol and totally have to rave about it! Not only was it located within a few minutes’ walk of MECE (where AIME was held) it truly was a great hotel to stay at when in town for business and events. We got lucky and were upgraded to a City Luxe Room with access to their 28 Sky Bar Club Lounge. The rooms were spacious and luxurious. The internet was fast and free. We found working from the room was a breeze and key locations in Melbourne were generally within walking distance. The combination of being able to relax and get some work done was just what we needed.
We especially loved the breakfast on Level 28 and were gutted not to have brought along our swimming togs to try the pool – next time we will come prepared!
Lastly, we’re not sure if the team at Crown Metropol actually read Event Birdie newsletters, but many of you might know we have a fondness for Kit Kats… The turndown service was the icing on the cake…
Header Image: @skybusmelbourne Instagram