Jim is the founder of Stayjam-an event and content platform for the short-term rental and holiday home industry. He started in events in early 2000s and has more than twenty years of experience covering sporting events, brand activations, exhibitions, roadshows, awards and conferences. He has a keen eye for technology in events and is constantly trying to find innovative new ways to attract bigger and better audiences which engage, interact and network at events.
What experience can you draw upon to successfully judge the ETAs?
This is my second time as an ETA Judge and the tech landscape has changed massively since I last did it. With that knowledge and experience I am definitely going to go able to draw on the ability of companies to grow in these exciting times in comparison to four years ago!
How long have you worked in the events industry and what keeps you interested in it?
I have been in the events industry for about 20 years – in various guises starting with brand activations, sporting events, the business of events as an association secretariat and latterly as an event organiser for the hospitality, accommodation and travel sector.
Best (and worst?) moments working in the events industry?
The best parts are whenever you see the people arriving at the event you have organised. The worst is probably the COVID crisis and the impact that continues to have.
Favourite piece of tech for work and personal life?
In work, it is WordPress. I have used it for years and love how you can seamlessly work with plugins to deliver what you want. Personal life it has to be either Strava for my running or twitter for my boxing information.
What’s your go-to piece of tech when working on an event and why?
Google. Analytics for website traffic, landing page conversion and remarketing/ad performance.
What was the last event on which you worked?
My last event was on 12 March 2020. I was the last show to run at ExCeL before it closed. It was a very surreal experience. The day before the event WHO had declared a pandemic but events like the Liverpool Champions League Match and the Cheltenham Festival were all still running.
From your experience, what’s the best way to utilise tech at an event?
For me the best use of tech is something that reduces friction for the visitor or the exhibitor and improves their experience of the event. That could be anything from an automated registration kiosk to a completely intuitive exhibitor onboarding process – DM me if you know anything about the latter!
What are you most looking forward to at the ETAs?
I am really excited to see how the fellow judges have rated elements of virtual event tech. The space is moving so fast and new players are coming on all the time but this year will be the first year where event professionals have been able to evaluate different offerings with the benefit of hindsight and a welcoming lack of panic.
Why is it important to recognise the achievements of tech companies?
Awards are a beacon of excellence and give the industry a stamp of approval for any new and emerging technology that event professionals should be aware of. In my job, even when I am not a judge, I will always go through and research the shortlists to see what companies I should be looking at.
If you could only use one piece of tech when working on an event, what would that be?
Is the mobile phone still considered a bit of tech? If so, it would be that all day long. Although having said that, I normally have about 50 unanswered vmails on it by the end of the day.
The Event Technology Awards celebrate excellence in event technology. Entries are open now, find out more info here