The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) has delivered what participants are calling ‘the best conference yet’ in Melbourne last week, kicking off with a Welcome Reception at the new and stylish Metropolis.
In its special 25th anniversary year, the Association confirmed its continuing focus on Members and the industry as valuable source of content and practical advice, delivering a solid program of networking and professional development at the EEAA 2017 Conference.
Held over two days (29-30 November) in Melbourne, the conference covered the trends, challenges and opportunities that are having the greatest influence on the sector.
The key themes that emerged from the conference were:
- Massive change is happening in our economies, in our societies, politics
and technology making it more difficult than ever to predict the future
- Never stop evolving – there are many opportunities and an equal number of challenges, so being nimble and open to trying new things will define the success stories of the future
- Preparation is the most important tool for success – a well-developed plan or strategy is essential to keep you on track and in control if a crisis hits.
EEAA Chief Executive, Joyce DiMascio, said the Association was committed to supporting the growth of its Members and the industry in Australasia through relevant, informative and practical content and advice.
“For many of our Members and the wider business event industry, our annual conference is a fixture on their professional development calendars,” DiMascio said.
“This year, we tried something new, pairing information on the macro trends in the economy, politics and business environment, both nationally and globally, with a new second day of specialist workshop-style “clinics” to drill down into specific topic areas that presented the greatest concern or opportunity to our Members and sector.
“This has proven to be a winning combination, allowing our conference delegates to better understand and act on the key factors shaping their businesses and individual career development.”
This year’s conference covered everything from crisis management and security to best practice marketing and sales strategy.
International guest speaker and leading global strategist Denzil Rankine was a highlight, delivering two sessions to help delegates futureproof their businesses.
With experience gained from 30+ years in the business and working with exhibition companies in 35 countries around the world, Denzil provided conference delegates with tangible ways they can prepare for the future.
Denzil highlighted the need for Trade events to lift their game in terms of customer experience and noted that the key for a successful event is to create a thoughtful strategy around your show and where it sits within the global industry you serve.
“We all remember the Blackberry – it was new, it was exciting, it was a feat of technology.
“Why is it dead now? Because the user experience wasn’t there. The trade event industry is like the Blackberry – we have booths, we have stands, it’s a good model and it makes money… watch out Trade event industry because there are alternatives out there, like the iPhone, offering higher standards of customer engagement and experiences.
“We need to have marketing at the centre of our organisations.
“We need to take on “consumer focused” thinking and innovate – learn from “festivalisation”, learn from consumer engagement, understand where you and your shows sit within the global industry and pinpoint what is important to your consumer.”
Denzil talked about the important role of the Event Director which he believes is changing.
He said that the Event Director must be capable of owning the strategy, innovation must be a constant and marketing should be at the heart of the business.
Delegates also heard from Craig Sheridan APM, retired Commissioned Police Officer, about the current security environment and actionable strategies to prepare for security threats.
Ex 60 Minutes producer, Peter Wilkinson from Wilkinson Group spoke about having the right response in a crisis situation to mitigate the fallout, from natural disasters to a social media attack.
John O’Sullivan, Managing Director and CEO of Tourism Australia delivered a compelling address on Australia’s Business Events Story – which highlighted the agency’s enormous success by leveraging trade events to drive the marketing of Australia.
“Our conference content was delivered by highly respected subject matter experts from around the world, providing our delegates with the most sought-after and useful advice in one place,” DiMascio said.
“Our delegates were treated to a comprehensive program of critical information that I am confident will play an important role in helping to shape their strategic and operational decisions, and help them to be better prepared for the future.”
The keynote topics for the conference included:
- A worldview of the exhibition industry, Denzil Rankine, Founder and Executive Chairman, AMR International
- Australia’s economic landscape – risks and opportunities ahead, Nicki Hutley, Chief Economist, Urbis
- Audience Attraction – getting your strategy right, Emma Triggs, Founder and Managing Director, The M Agency
- Trust is the key factor in influencing behaviour – Who do Australians trust?, Steve Spurr, Chief Executive Officer, Edelman Australia
- Universal secrets of strategy, Rosie Yeo, Strategy Consultant
- Australia’s Business Events Story, John O’Sullivan, Managing Director and CEO of Tourism Australia
The specialist clinics included:
- Crisis Management Clinic, Peter Wilkinson, Managing Director, Wilkinson Group
- Sales Clinic, Murray Grimston, Advisory Partner, Miller Heiman Group
- Strategy and Insights Clinic, Denzil Rankine, Founder and Executive Chairman, AMR International
- Social Media Marketing Clinic, Felicity Zadro, Founder and Managing Director, Zadro
- Security and Operations Clinic, Craig Sheridan APM, Managing Director, Sheridan Consulting Group; Leighton Wood, Chief Operating Officer, Melbourne Convention
and Exhibition Centre; and Inspector Mark Morris, Victorian Police Major Event Planning Unit
- Marketing Optimisation Clinic, Brad McIntyre, Country Manager – New Zealand, Eventbrite
- Logistics and Safety Clinic, Sharon Friedman, Safety Manager, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and Jim Pantopolis, General Manager – Australia and New Zealand, Agility Fairs & Events
- Stand Design and Experience Clinic, Giles Carlyle, Senior Account Manager and Designer,
Designteam; Adam Gottlieb, Founder & CEO, TELEPORTIVITY – powered by Worker Clicks
“As we chart the next five years, I am pleased to say the Association is good shape. Our environment is shifting quickly, and we need to ensure that our Association remains fit for purpose.
“EEAA will meet the challenge and continue building on our role as the leading organisation representing the events sector.”
The EEAA 2017 Conference was part of the Association’s three-day finale events in Melbourne, 28-30 November 2017, which included a special 25th-anniversary Awards for Excellence gala dinner.