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Mice Net : August 2009
Editor’s letter The irony of it In one hall, weighing in at an impressive 189 exhibition stands is the stable, corporate meetings and association-driven Australian Business Events Expo, or ABEE. In the other, with bigger splashes of colour, more bling and less pomp, and weighing in at 218 exhibition stands is the louder, brasher, and this year seemingly busier RSVP 09. At ABEE, seminars in the temporary bubble marquee focus on legal issues, ROI, brand performance and AV in the GFC. In RSVP 09 topics were more a tag-team affair with panels of event pros – gloves off – focusing on creativity in events, event trends, and making the most of dwindling budgets. Two events held in the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre last month, linked together but separate in look, style, content and entertainment. The fast-talking Mike Tyson v the quieter, less show but more go Evander Holyfield who earned the nickname of “The Real Deal” by talking with his fists and not with his lips. At this year’s event reports are that RSVP looked busier, was busier than ABEE. But perhaps this was a trick of the eye. Perhaps because exhibition stands appeared to be closer together in RSVP there appeared to be more people. Perhaps... Outside, the queues ringside at each check-in counter – RSVP and ABEE - were considerably longer for a longer period of time in the RSVP corner. Whether this was because the majority of people were coming from the city and would pass RSVP before they arrived at ABEE, and therefore decided to check-in at RSVP is uncertain. But it was noticeable. But here’s the ironic thing. There is no denying that the business events market is down right now, and the hardest hit segment of the industry is the special events segment – the segment where the majority of exhibitors for RSVP come from. So while those exhibiting in ABEE may have had a quieter time over the two days of the show than their RSVP combatants, they are possibly the ones that are experiencing less of a drop in business than many in RSVP – the place where the action was. What this could also mean is something that professional meeting planners the world over will tell you. When there is crisis of some kind, when business is down, or change is in the wind, like-minded professionals come together to discuss with each other what’s going on, and what they collectively can do about it. Australian social commentator Hugh Mackay may call it “running with the herd”. Similarly, one of our industry’s most successful professional conference organisers, Bryan Holliday, put it equally as succinctly in this magazine quite recently when he said it was very important for the continuing health of the meetings industry that challenges are faced and overcome together and that we don’t immediately retreat to our own little burrow and ignore everyone else. Perhaps besides business being written at RSVP (and ABEE) – we hope – the herd was coming together to share experiences and show support for one another. And if an exhibition can do that, then that has to be a good thing! MANAGING EDITOR firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Gary Bender World Conference & Incentive Management • Ian Walsh G1 Productions • Linda Gaunt MEA • Rosemarie Sama Reed Travel Exhibitions • Annabel Davis Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre • Lynn Fairbrass Northern Territory Convention Bureau • Sharon Goldie MLC David Grant DGSE • Bryan Holliday ICMS Australasia Pty Ltd • Ruth Lilian • Ros McLeod Tour Hosts • Valerie Percival IBM Australia Limited • Elizabeth Rich Agenda Pty Ltd • Jeremy Garling Great Southern E-vents NATIONAL ADVISORY BOARD Russell Bennett Staging Dimensions • Elizabeth Bindon-Bonney BT Create • Katie Clarke Congress West • Anna Guillan Voyages Hotels and Resorts • Suzanne Hart SHE • Peter Kinnane Off-Site Connections Event Management • David Hall David Hall & Associates • Sarah Markey-Hamm ICMS • Sarah Seddon Atlantic Group (V) • Anna Stewart Queensland Conventions & Incentives 4 mice.net