by Lisa Grimaldi | June 01, 2008

IT&ME, the largest meeting and incentive travel trade show in the United States, is launching a hosted buyer program for planners of international business travel, meetings, incentive travel and conventions for its 2008 show, to be held Sept. 23-25 at McCormick Place in Chicago. Between 100 and 200 buyers will be hosted this year.

To be considered, planners must apply (via the show’s website, and commit to attend a minimum of seven prescheduled appointments and one destination presentation with program sponsors of their choice. In return, they will receive two nights free in an official show hotel; a web-based appointment schedule; complimentary conference registration to attend education sessions; invitations to hospitality functions and networking events; complimentary transfers between the airport, hotels and the show; and access to the exclusive hosted buyer lounge. Airfare, however, will not be provided.

According to a spokesperson for IT&ME, the hosted buyer program is an expansion of a “scholarship program,” which offered some of the same benefits, that was introduced several years ago. He added that the move was made to “provide exhibitors with people they want to see,” and “has no bearing on” Reed Travel Group’s launch of a North American show (see In Brief).