Newsletter Issue 11 : January 2015


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Our thanks to Victoria Rennie (Managing Director for Events, Incisive Media), Fiona Miller (Conference Director, EMAP), Suzy Mayhew (Director of Events, Campden Wealth), Nadim Chaudhry (CEO, Greenpower Conferences) and Emily Jackson (Events Director EMEA, The Economist Group) for their contributions to this article.

Victoria Rennie Managing Director for Events, Incisive Media

Fiona Miller
Conference Director, EMAP

Suzy Mayhew
Director of Events, Campden Wealth

Nadim Chaudhry
CEO, Greenpower Conferences

Emily Jackson
Events Director EMEA, The Economist Group

With a number of analyst reports, survey results, and media overviews giving predictions for 2015, Global Conference Network asked a few key Conference Directors for their thoughts on challenges and trends they anticipate for the coming year in the Events industry. This is what they had to say:

“The traditional event format will continue to diminish”.
With an increasing abundance of free information and increasing expectations, the customer’s tolerance of sitting in a room listening to an agenda of PowerPoint presentations is getting less and less and more delegates are now looking for the “complete” event experience. Fiona Miller, Conference Director at EMAP explains that events need to be interactive, immersive and to offer choice. “Event providers will need to shift how they view the attendee to that of participant. Affordable technologies will enable this shift” says Fiona. Nadim Chaudhry, CEO of Greenpower Conferences backs up this observation “death by PowerPoint will be listed as a fatal clinical condition!” Nad agrees that event organisers need to find a new way of keeping the audience entertained and creating customer experiences that go beyond the traditional PowerPoint presentation format. On this note, Suzy Mayhew, Director of Events at Campden Wealth observes that “there will be a continued uptake of apps to provide real-time information, networking and scheduling, engagement and improved pre and post event communications.”

“Events will be offered by a wider range of organisations, beyond media businesses”
This is an observation made by Suzy Mayhew who says they are noticing the proliferation and professionalization of events (including conferences). More and more companies are now offering conferences, and with it comes their content expertise. Victoria Rennie, Managing Director for Events, Incisive Media also feels that there will be increased competition from their own clients and also industry associations as they run their own events.

“There will be a strong shift towards the formal involvement of journalists and editors in the creation of conferences”
As conference companies build their own communities, most companies now have a role for “Head of Content” – whose backgrounds are not necessarily in the events business but rather in journalism. This is something companies such as Terrapinn Events introduced some years ago and it provides essential support to both producers and marketers as they create so much more copy for their communities. Fiona Miller comments “This is driven by the level of intelligence editors can offer, as well as the increasing importance of live events to a brand’s development. Live events will become increasingly an expression of journalism alongside print and digital platforms, and will be the heart of the communities they serve”. Victoria Rennie adds that “brand strength will be important in distinguishing your offering from all the other events in the market”.

“365 day engagement and building communities alongside events will continue to gather momentum”
Year-round engagement of delegates is something most companies are now prioritising. Emily Jackson, Events Director EMEA of The Economist Group comments that “as marketers’ budgets continue to shift to content marketing solutions, extending the conversation across the whole year is on the increase”. Victoria Rennie also feels that how they engage with their customers through the communities they are part of, will be a key factor to their loyalty to Incisive as event organisers.

A recent report by IPA Bellwether, tracking marketing budgets across the media industry as a whole, predicted interestingly that “A net balance of +30.6% of companies are anticipating a rise in their marketing budgets relative to 2014/15 levels. Events, PR and main media are expected to benefit most from this uplift in total budgets“. This is fuelled by their general concerns over the UK elections, interest rate rises and the Eurozone.

“Delegate Revenue: on the up or the decline?”
“Customers will pay for good content” is Fiona Miller’s feeling. She continues “Where an event provider focuses on providing high quality content, the past downward trend of paying delegates will be reversed”. On the other hand Victoria Rennie contradicts this initially “we will see declining delegate revenues and attendance figures from large hold-all events that try to be all things to all people”. However she points out that “targeted, niche events that sit clearly within a market vertical and provide unique - must-have - content will do well”. With an industry which now offers so many different event formats for delegates and visitors, the paying delegate has for some years been under threat. Nadim Chaudhry comments that “the valuation of events will continue to be based upon the convergence of traditional conference and exhibition elements into “Large Scale” products which provide a value mix of content, interactivity and networking”.

A recent Investec analyst report cites the UK media industry with positive prospects for 2015. This is largely due to the UK elections and only applies to companies with an international presence. Emily Jackson also feels that “In a year that has begun with significant economic, political and cultural challenges, events will be more important as leaders in business, government and civil society seek platforms for personal dialogue”.

“Event technology will aid the progression of events into the digital age”
As many publishing arms are struggling with the digital demands of its readers, the events market too is being offered many different technologies to aid organisers provide a better experience to their customers – from apps, to interactive technology, to visual aids and many more. Victoria Rennie feels the industry “will see more innovation in event technologies (and we will continue to be bombarded by event technology providers as they launch new products into the market!) however she feels we will see more “blended” events in the market (physical events combined with digital events as one product offering). Emily Jackson predicts that “online video is changing the how and what people watch. Use of video by the events industry will become more strategic”.

The recent Global Exhibition Barometer concluded that in all regions, a large majority of exhibition companies intend to develop new activities in other live or virtual events.


The Global Conference Network Salary Survey 2014

Our salary survey, detailing salaries, commission and profit share throughout the conference industry has now been published. Providing insight in length of employment, benefits and much more, the GCN Salary Survey will be sent to all those who completed the survey or attended the Conference Summit 2014.

Additional copies of the GCN Salary Survey can be purchased for £99 + VAT simply complete the form here.


Incisive Media has agreed a refinancing deal where private equity firm Alchemy Partners take a majority stake in the business. The new deal will involve a debt for equity swap which will help cut the business's debt pile and allow it to focus on growth. As part of the refinancing, Incisive Media has also made a number of changes to its board of directors. Dame Helen Alexander and Brian Larcombe have stepped down with from their respective roles as non-executive chairman and non-executive director. David Gilbertson - who has previously been the chief executive at Informa and EMAP - will join the board as a non-executive director, in addition to Ian Cash, Toby Westcott and Paul Bridges from Alchemy.

Clarion Events, organiser of more than 200 leading events worldwide, was sold to global asset management firm Providence Equity on 9th January. The deal is reportedly worth in excess of £200m. It is understood that Providence, which is a major global investor specialising in media, communications, education and information industries, was up against a number of other competing parties in the second round of bidding, including, ITE Group, Penton Media, Charterhouse Capital Partners and finally Carlyle Group LP. The company is already said to be looking at international acquisitions both large and small.

Announced on 3 November 2014, the implementation of UBM’s “Events First” strategy is progressing as expected. The Advanstar integration programme is also continuing as planned. As previously announced, Advanstar will remain a separate entity within UBM’s US business during 2015. During Tim Cobbold’s absence, the integration steering committee, through which the integration programme is managed and coordinated, will be chaired by Bob Gray.


Created originally by Top Right Group in 2009, i2i Events Group has announced it will run this established fashion awards event alongside a new series of forward looking trend summits.


For more information about GCN Talent see:

Marketing Director – Conference & Training Company - £50-£60K plus profit share – London

Events Marketing Manager – Professional Association - £40-£45K – London

Event Director – Content-Led Events – Up to £70K basic £85-£90K OTE – London

Commercial Director – Global Telecoms Events - £50-£55K basic £85K OTE –London

Freelance Conference Producers – Variety of sectors - £Competitive – London/Home-based

New Business Development Manager – Events - £30-£40K basic - £70K OTE – London

If you’re a recruiter looking for help with a particular vacancy or recruitment campaign, please call us on +44 (0)20 8123 5805 or email and we’ll be delighted to discuss your requirements and how we can help.


The annual Conference Awards are now open for entries!

2015 will be the sixth year of the Conference Awards, which are the most prestigious and sought after awards in the conference and event industry. Just entering the awards creates many benefits; it can validate your business integrity, attract industry recognition, celebrate the achievements of your team and generate powerful publicity for your business.

Our top five reasons to enter this year: industry recognition; business credibility; celebrate team achievements; benchmark your business; attract top talent

With numerous awards to choose from we are positive you will find one that matches your particular strengths. You may even wish to enter more than one and increase your chances of being recognised as one of the conference and event industry’s elite.

The deadline for entries is February 13th so Enter now!

We do hope that you choose to take part and look forward to receiving your entry soon.

Good luck!

New Year Drinks Reception for Operation and Events Professionals

Sponsored by

This invitation only drinks reception on 4th February 2015 is for operations professionals who want to network and share ideas. Taking place at etc.venues Monument, and kindly sponsored by Meetings and Exhibitions Hong Kong who will be sharing information about their forthcoming FAM trip to Hong Kong in June 2015.

If you wish to join the guest list please contact