Traditional values coated in creativity is the way forward!

Anyone who was at this year’s AEO Conference, held at The Vox, Birmingham on 7th and 8th September, will have a tale or two to tell this week. Experience is Everything was the topic that 216 of the event industry’s finest came to learn about, and the Conference, chaired by technology Journalist, Kate Russell, didn’t disappoint.

The opening session, expertly chaired by Jane Risby-Rose, was full of insight delivered in a candid way. The panel, made up of Cathy Oates from UBM, Customer Experience Consultant, Ian Golding and Mark Brewster from Explori, pulled no punches when the one thing they all agreed on was that research and experience still highlights traditional values as the key to delivering the best customer experience.

The subsequent sessions of the day covered must know topics such as GDPR, how to cope with cultural differences when launching international events, security planning, both from an organiser and a venue perspective, and the importance of supporting a positive work-life experience for the changing face of your event team.

The grand finale of the first day started with Kermit the Frog, aka Chris Hughes from Brand Events, launching himself into the room and getting everyone to hit the deck and hide under the tables. No, it wasn’t a security exercise, it was Anticipation. Following a dance out of the room to a Samba band, the delegates were led, limboing with a drink in hand, through a party room, back into the conference room. The rest of Chris’ session involved chanting “AAMM” before being led out to meet a Marvel-ous celebrity. The important message about creating an experience? It’s all about Anticipation, Arrival, Moments and Memories – AAMM!

Chris Skeith, Chief Executive of AEO, says: “This year’s AEO Conference was a great experience. We covered some real heavyweight issues that were designed to deliver insight and get delegates thinking about how, by working together, we can create positive experiences for all industry stakeholders. In addition, there were lots of smiling faces so we know some fun was had too!”

Roger Martin-Fagg led the second morning of the Conference with an eye opening session on the economy, delivering clearer explanations behind, and consequences of, the Brexit vote than most people will have experienced before. There were subsequent calls on Twitter for Roger to be the face of the media on all things economy related. He was followed by marketing expert Steve Kemish, who brought the discussion full circle, providing delegates with practical examples of why traditional values are so important to the customer experience.

Chris Skeith concludes: “Getting the ingredients right to make the flagship AEO Conference the right mix of learning, fun and networking is key, and I’d like to pass on our thanks to the Events Group and Development Board who worked tirelessly with the AEO team to make this one of the very best. I’d also like to thank the NEC, and the team at the Vox for being such great hosts. My final thanks has to go to our wonderful sponsors and partners, the brilliant line up of speakers, and of course the delegates. We are back to rock Brighton on 6th & 7th September 2018 so pencil the date in now.”

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