5am never looks good, and it looks even worse when there’s frost on the ground. A quick train ride to Gatwick via Redhill was text book, and by text book I mean Southern Rail were running late, again. Still, no matter. I arrived in good time, sailing through a quiet North Terminal before departing bang on time.
The weather in Barcelona today calls for only a light jumper, if only I’d thought to have checked beforehand. Instead, I emerged from the terminal dressed like Scott of the Antarctic.
The shuttle bus took us straight to the convention centre in little over 15 minutes, and checking into ibtm was pleasingly painless. You enter the show on the floor above and are able to look down on the show floor and marvel at its colourful splendour. It is a veritable smorgasbord of colour and pop-up banners, stretching in both directions as far as the eye can see.
A maze by all accounts.
The first order of business was to locate the media centre, which I admit would have been easier if I’d bothered to look at the map first. But, being a man, I am not allowed to ask for directions. I eventually found it but was disappointed to discover that it was being used like more of a catch-up café. Scores of people munching on muffins and not many doing much in the way of work. The Wi-Fi is also a bit sketchy.
Again, no matter, as no sooner had I waited 15 years for my emails to load that it was time for my first meeting: Emily from British full-service agency drp. In my mind it’s better to start with a familiar face, to limber up and get familiar with the whole set up. We shared a coffee and shot the breeze, easily passing 25 minutes. So from the beginning, my ’44 seconds’ plan was dead in the water.
My next stop was stand F20: the Vienna Convention Bureau. I shared a brief chat with Christian Mutschlecher, the bureau’s director. I had strategically chosen 4pm for this stand because at 4pm they were launching the Association of Association Executives’ World Congress content programme. All being well, I will have the opportunity to head out to Vienna in May when it runs.
A brief pit stop at the media centre with its useless Wi-Fi beckoned before a dash down the aisles to G35, the temporary home of VisitScotland. There, I found Amanda Ferguson explaining how Scotland has never been more accessible. It might sound obvious if you’re a cocky Londoner, but the wider world don’t always associate Scotland with the UK, so it was good to be reminded.
A short video about what’s going on up there gave me a good idea for a feature, but more of that another time.
While I was paying attention to Amanda, I was in the midst of some customary social media bantz. The team over at Monaco were keen to have me over, promising champagne and other such luxury goods. I had an interesting chat with one of the reps and it sounds like the Principality has some big ideas.
Anyway, I still haven’t seen the hotel yet and there’s no chance of that happening for a while yet either. I’m off to party with Team Singapore to learn more about what’s happening over there in the old colony.
Day one has been hectic, and I don’t think tomorrow will be any quieter.