The cream of the UK exhibition industry came together last week at the 2015 Association of Event Organisers (AEO) Conference, held last week at the Hilton Metropole in Brighton.
Chaired by BBC journalist Naga Munchetty, the two-day conference saw an attendance of 200 delegates.
Keynote speaker Craig Goldblatt delivered an opening speech on ‘Authenticity’, which was closely followed by ‘Measuring the Unmeasurable’, a panel session led by Simon Parker of UBM which featured presentations on research, audience engagement and how targeted communication can help overcome issues surrounding events.
After lunch, i2i Events’ Annick Ireland, led a panel of exhibitors from JCB, Microgaming, Praxis42 and Collectif providing their perspective of the events industry and responding to the question about what they would like the industry to do differently.
Delegates then heard from Andrew Evans’ Next Generation Marketing panel where Rob Nathan of Media 10, Annick Ireland from i2i Events, Will Broadfoot from Brintex, Andy Mihalop from Facebook Atlas and Jeremy Rees from ExCeL London discussed how technology, social media, personalisation and relevance are shaping how exhibitions respond to customer need.
The final session of the day was the anticipated EN 30 Under Thirty panel led by EN managing editor Jamie Wallis.
The panel, comprising Amy King from ACC Liverpool, Jess Metcalfe from i2i Events, Lauren Keeney from N200 and Katie Crocombe from Artexis Easyfairs, talked about how they got into the events industry.
The second day of the conference began with Phil Soar introducing presentations from Tracy Gent of hotel Group Carlson Rezidor and Ian Ogden from M&S on what lessons exhibitions can learn from the hospitality and retail sectors.
The CEO session hosted by Simon Kimble concluded the event with a discussion involving Austin Hawkins from f2f Events, Mark Shashoua from i2i Events and Andy Center from CloserStill Media.
Each CEO talked about how their businesses are structured, how they have grown them and what they think the future holds for the exhibition industry.