As you can see from our cover, M&IT’s IncentiveWorks trade show and conference, taking place Aug. 23-24, 2011, is celebrating 20 years. From modest beginnings in August, 1991, when it launched as the Canadian Incentive Travel Symposium & Trade Show, at the Royal York Hotel, in Toronto, IncentiveWorks has grown and evolved tremendously. Along the way, the show has marked some impressive milestones. For instance, in 2002, IncentiveWorks pioneered online booth purchase for exhibitors, with fully integrated online registration for attendees. In 2009, IncentiveWorks was a carbon-neutral event and acquired 20.1 tonnes of carbon offsets, to counteract its emissions. Hand in hand with the show’s growth, the meetings and events industry, itself, has evolved at a brisk pace.
For instance, on the incentive-travel side, groups have become more adventurous, sometimes adding exotic locales to their travel mix. On the destination side, areas like Croatia, the Czech Republic and Korea have gained traction, while other countries, such as Colombia, are working hard to tell the world that they’ve put their problems behind them and are open for business. Technology, too, has advanced at an astonishing pace, making it far easier for planners to do their jobs. But technology has also placed more pressure on planners, creating expectations that they’re connected 24/7 and available, day or night, to answer clients’ questions, deal with RFP issues, etc. And yet, the more things change, the more they stay the same. At last year’s IncentiveWorks show, we polled our hosted buyers on the top challenges they face. Overwhelmingly, they cited tighter budgets and shorter lead times—issues that never go away.
Between technology’s relentless march, and the economic turbulence of the last several years, our industry has experienced fascinating times. And as it has for two decades, IncentiveWorks has been there, making sense of it all, to help you plan better events.