by By Michael J. Shapiro | November 01, 2009

1109 Vanessa CottonVanessa Cotton, former managing director of conferences and events at ExCel London, became the chair of Reed Travel Exhibitions' Meetings and Incentives events in August. She is guiding the shows in an advisory capacity and assisting in the effort to replace former group exhibition director Paul Kennedy. M&C spoke with Cotton about the upcoming EIBTM, to be held Dec. 1-3 in Barcelona, Spain, as well as Reed's new U.S. event, AIBTM.

M&C: What are your expectations for EIBTM this year?
Cotton: There is no doubt that it has been a tougher environment for everyone in the industry this year. The meetings industry, though, remains resilient. In terms of exhibitors, we have a broad international spread with representation from all continents of the world. We have attracted new exhibitors from further afield, such as Senegal, Mozambique, Seoul and Venezuela.

M&C: More Spanish seminars have been added for EIBTM, targeting the local market. Do you expect local attendees to comprise a higher percentage than in years past?

Cotton: We are expecting to retain the same proportion of Spanish visitors to our show as in previous years. We want to ensure that we get the mix right between local and international representation.

M&C: What influenced you to choose 2011 as the launch date for AIBTM? Was the decision made after the Motivation Show?

Cotton: We committed to AIBTM in Baltimore when the event was originally announced last year; it was only the economic climate that forced the postponement. At the time we said 2011 would be the earliest, and we are now announcing the date.

M&C: When will you announce Paul Kennedy's replacement?

Cotton: We will appoint our new group exhibition director by the end of the year.