Future of Events 2016 – a new format of business event for event managers and directors, representing both the client's and agency's side. It is the Game Changer in the event industry, as the initiators of the project call it. We talked with Steven Wickel, founder & CEO of this ambitious project and discovered all the details and all the reasons why Future of Events is a must attend!
What makes your event unique? Why do you believe, or are you even sure, that there is a place and time for Future of Events?
We believe that as an industry we should start by developing ourselves. The internet has changed our job significantly and not everybody is aware of the possibilities that are here today. We're always busy-busy-busy. We are too busy even to stop and actually look around. And there's a lot going on around us. In the event industry, as we are so overloaded and so very busy, we don't have time to even read the newsletters in order to catch up on what is going on in the world besides our own projects. We get 12-15 newsletters a day and we only scan 2-3 maximum. And as we're too busy we just delete them. But when you do that, you throw away information that can bring new ideas, tools and even new clients! For example most advertising companies have interns and juniors who read everything during the entire day, so they have the information and can go to your clients with solutions you have deleted. The Future of Events is such an intern for you, scanning all the massive, huge amounts of information in order to point out the best and most essential aspects and bring them to you! Moreover, if newsletters are just for reading, we provide our participants with a complex experience. At Future Of Events you can try, touch, smell, feel, and experience new technologies, new inventions, and innovative tools that are available or are coming soon. All these things that will help you to deliver the real wow-effect for all your projects! We are going to present new gadgets, for instance sustainable balloons and virtual tools among others, that 99% of event-industry specialists have never heard of. We let you experience what it is and how it works! And how it can improve your business, your creativity level and the effectiveness of your events as well. That's why we call it a Game Changer of the industry!
We let you experience what it is and how it works! And how it can improve your business, your creativity level and the effectiveness of your events as well. That's why we call it a Game Changer of the industry!
Who is your target audience? How do you reach them?
We focus on corporate event-managers and event-directors and association event-managers and event-directors. In order to reach the audience we have concluded partnerships with leading professional associations, such as ASAE, EMR, UNICEO and local European associations for event professionals. They not only advertise, but also push Board Members to participate and help their members get to Amsterdam.
Apart from the Association, talking about individual event professionals. Let's pretend I'm the head of some event agency in, say, Spain. Why should I come to Amsterdam on 22-24th Aug for FOE2016?
It's the only international conference & trade show where you can not only learn, but experience all the new things within the industry on a non-commercial basis. Here you will never hear during a workshop any lines like “buy my book” or “hire me!” It's an ad-free event. It's like spotify. You can have a free account and be overloaded by all the ads or you can have a paid account and then you are free of all the garbage.
What would I miss if I couldn't be there?
In order to be successful the real event industry professional should know about all the opportunities and new technologies existing at the moment. We don't have time to read, to look around, to learn every day, but we can find 3 days to attend an event, where everything is collected in one place.
Let's talk about the content and look at the agenda in more details. Besides the trade show, the exhibition of best tools and technologies, there are a lot of other impressive things planned. Tell me please in more detail about Event Champ?
Event Champ is a reversed TEDx. It's: 'knowledge is in the room, not on stage'. Representatives of major corporations will share the issues they have with products, sales, etc. Then they'll ask the audience to send their ideas, through event channels, on how to help solve these issues. For example: company X needs an idea for stuff for an international 6,000 person event, or another company Y requires an idea to present the financial annual report in a very cool way, etc. Like the TEDx format the speech of every client is 10 minutes and right after that speech the next one will be presented. And you have only 45 minutes per case to come up with your solutions and type an email (of 10-15 lines max) to your potential client. In 3 hours time, you get 18 cases. These are 18 real opportunities to get a contract from one of the high-profile clients. Moreover, the company that delivers the speech is obligated to talk and discuss it with you if they choose your idea.
And talking about the conference itself. Which of the keynotes are you personally looking forward to?
I'm not gonna miss out on Christy (Christy Lamagna, CEO of Strategic Meetings & Events) as she will speak on a very crucial subject – the new image of the event industry. If you tell people that you're in the event industry, the problem is people think that you're a party animal, constantly laying beside pools and your day job is blowing the balloons.
We need to change this wrong perception of the whole industry in order to move forward. It can be compared with the airlines industry.
Previously a stewardess was a pretty somebody in a tight skirt, whom you wanted to touch “by accident”, every time she passes by. They were perceived as waitresses. But when the title was changed to ‘flight attendant’ everything changed all of a sudden! The wrong perception has gone and now nobody thinks about touching them, as these people are taking care of your security during the flight. We in the event industry have to do the same, and take a closer look to the perception of us as professionals. That’s exactly what Christy will speak about. Another session I'm not gonna miss is Frank Supovitz (founder & CEO of fast traffic events & entertainment, NFL) speaking on ‘what to do when things go wrong with your event'. And also the presentation of Shawna Suckow (Founder & Chairwoman of SPIN - The Senior Planners Industry Network), who is going to make a very brave and important statement, that ROI is bullshit. It's the ROA (return on attention) that actually matters.
So somehow every session is about change. Perceptions, ways of communication, ways of measuring effectiveness, etc. It's all in line with the concept and mission of your event and sounds and looks very impressive. But you went even further and there is one interesting section left uncovered. The Creative Disasters. Please tell us about it.
The industry was in crisis and for some companies it still is. But in 2016 it's not an issue anymore to explain what went wrong. Creative Disasters as we call it, is all about telling and admitting what you did wrong so others can learn. There is a special place at Amsterdam beach where we can all share the wrong, stupid things that we have done in our lives and by that we can give people an opportunity to learn from past mistakes. It can definitely help to improve your projects. One person who will take part and come on stage during this session is Jason Allan Scott. He has created hundreds of events and not all of them were that successful, but he’s totally ok with sharing it, saying ‘let’s not laugh about it, let’s learn from it’. The second aim of the Creative Disasters session is to strengthen the informal networking aspect. It’s an easy opening to start a conversation at the network reception. It’s very easy to connect and relate to each other with ‘did you hear what that guy was talking about’. So it's about talking, connecting, learning, and sharing experiences.
So everyone can have an opportunity to go on stage and share their own disaster?
Exactly! Moreover, they would have free drinks. All participants of this session would have free drinks.
Speaking about the free drinks. What about the additonal benefits and special conditions for the participants of Future of Events? It's an international conference and the guests arrive from all over Europe and even further away. Are there any special rates for t&a?
The city of Amsterdam is very happy to have Future of Events and welcome our attendees. As of now when booking the ticket for the event on our website, you can secure yourself a stay in a 5* hotel for as little as 180 Euro per night. And there's enough accommodation for all 2000 participants of the conference.
Any other surprises and bonuses for the participants of Future of Events 2016?
Yes. Indeed. One key is that all 2000 participants of our event will receive an annual subscription for the web and online versions of the first international professional magazine dedicated to the live communication industry – Live Magazine! And that's our gift to them.
Well, only for that reason one shouldn't hesitate and register for FOE2016 as soon as possible. A great event, great expectations, and great ambitions. We wish you all the luck and may all your plans come true and build the best event for event profs in Europe.