Event Tech Awards 2021: Meet the Judges – Sam Chance

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Sam Chance is currently the Marketing Director at Montgomery Group, overseeing the marketing, PR and content teams for 8 large-scale exhibitions serving the food, drink & hospitality sectors. Sam continually aims to improve the visitor and exhibitor experience and his own’s team’s efficiencies and believes technology is a key driver in helping achieve this.

Before Montgomery Group, Sam has held marketing positions in many of the UK’s leading event organisers including Reed Exhibitions, Centaur Media and Clarion Events and currently sits on the Live Event Promotion Group with the AEO.  

What experience can you draw upon to successfully judge the ETAs?

I am always an early adopter of any technology that I believe could help grow visitor attendance to my shows, help bring in leads for the commercial team or make my working day easier. I have many years of experience in marketing large scale exhibitions, conferences and hosted buyer led programmes at companies that include Reed Exhibitions, Clarion Events, Centaur Media and my current company Montgomery Group. I also sit on one of the LEP Groups for AEO and have have previously spoken at Event Tech Live and the Exhibition Marketing Masterclass.      

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How long have you worked in the events industry and what keeps you interested in it?

I have worked in the events industry for more than 13 years and I still love the feeling I get in the afternoon of the first day. Seeing everyone’s hard work come together and visitors and exhibitors having a great time is something I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of. This year has been completely different but its been a great learning curve and provided us an opportunity to create a digital offering that isn’t to replace our live events but instead compliment them.

Best (and worst?) moments working in the events industry?

One of my best moments was sitting around a table in Cape Town with a group of hosted buyers following the successful launch of ILTM Africa, a luxury travel event at Reed Exhibitions. Enjoying a nightcap after a fantastic party and listening to people talk so passionately about their travel experiences, is a moment that always makes me smile.  

Worst moment has to be the announcement of the worst London tube strike for 10 years taking place on the second and third day of my first event at Centaur Media. All the year’s hard work ruined and led to a drop in visitor numbers. More recently I suffered a few sleepless nights when I had the fear we would become the PR disaster of being held accountable for being the event that everyone caught Covid at when we ran HRC last March. Cheltenham Races unfortunately took that prize.     

Favourite piece of tech for work and personal life?

My iPhone. I do not understand how life worked before its existence. I don’t think I would ever find anywhere.

What’s your go-to piece of tech when working on an event and why?

A good registration and reporting system. We offer free badge scanners for all of our events so exhibitors can track ROI and having recently launched Connects we can now provide suppliers with information of those that have viewed and engaged with their products all year round.

What was the last event on which you worked?

Hotel, Restaurant & Catering – March 2020, two weeks before we went into lockdown.

From your experience, what’s the best way to utilise tech at an event?

Tech that creates engagement that leads to conversation. From audience participation tech to exhibitors creating live games on their stands.

We all learn from our mistakes! What was the biggest lesson you learned from a mistake since being in the industry?

Preparation is key! As a marketing executive at Clarion Events, I introduced an app with live voting tools to our main conference of the year. I had sent the questions and voting options to the app company to update but hadn’t checked they had added them in. Unfortunately, they hadn’t and questions came up on the screen for a completely different event. Very embarrassing.  

What are you most looking forward to at the ETAs?

At Montgomery Group we want to deliver trade events that offer not just the latest innovation and trends but a feeling that each visitor has had an incredible and productive day. Any tech that can help me do this the better. We are always early adopters of new technology which helps to keep us ahead of our competitors.  

Why is it important to recognise the achievements of tech companies?

Recognising those that are pushing boundaries, disrupting the norm or creating discussion are what will keep events innovative. Companies that are doing this deserve to be recognised and provides them the opportunity to promote their business to the industry.

If you could only use one piece of tech when working on an event, what would that be?

Our websites are the gateway for us to state all the reasons why someone should attend our events and build the excitement. Not sure how we could run without one. 


The Event Technology Awards celebrate excellence in event technology. Entries are open now, find out more info here

Adam is the co-founder and editor of www.eventindustrynews.com Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.

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