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International Confex: building back better

by Cameron Roberts

As the events industry returns to a live in-person format, the sector looks to International Confex, which is bringing events professionals together on 1-2 September at ExCeL London.

In the lead up to the show I spoke to Jessica Ansell, marketing director, Informa; and Heather Lishman, association director, ABPCO. The pair discussed the move back to an in-person event and what the key themes would be at this year’s show.

A live event in a virtual world

For what feels like forever the events industry has been carving out a presence online, with a swathe of digital events standing in for face-to-face experiences. I wanted to know just how important the live format is to event professionals.

JA: “Virtual totally has its place and we have seen brand new communities born out of our digital products and events which is amazing. I am looking forward to learning more and growing them [virtual events], but live events are something special.

“For some of the industries my events service you need to see, feel and touch the product, experience the innovation and can only achieve true inspiration there and then. Making business connections is in some part about trust and instinct and while these can of course start online I think we can all agree if we had a choice, relationship building face to face is a unique and unrivalled experience.”

HL: “I am really looking forward to re-connecting with ABPCO members and prospective members.  There is nothing like the ‘vibe’ of a live event to fuel your passion and energy for this great industry.”

The headliners

While the impacts of the pandemic will likely be the key talking points for the short-term, other topics, including sustainability, new technologies and diversity and inclusion, remain at the forefront of the industry’s consciousness.

HL: “For me it is all about ‘building back better’ in its broadest sense – so sustainability comes into that, legacy is important and the serendipity of those conversations that you have at events like International Confex that give you those ‘light bulb’ moments and help you to constantly evolve.”

JA: “Naturally I am drawn to the Marketing sessions, where the line-up of speakers is always impressive. The Experiential sessions have also caught my eye. Your brand is your most important asset – how do we use it and protect it?”

International Confex will take place on 1-2 September at ExCeL London, register here.

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