Browsing Tag

Event management

What #eventprofs can learn from past recessions

Can we save ourselves from the next recession? That was the topic of discussion of the latest Event Huddle event I attended. Moderated by Kevin Jackson, Director of Ideas and Innovation at The Experience Is The Marketing the panel consisted of experienced industry leaders who’ve been through at least one recession and came to share their experience with us: Mike Kershaw, Senior Partner at Kershaw Partners, John Fisher, Managing Director of The FMI Group, Dale Parmenter, Founder and Group CEO of drp and Philip Hughes, creative director and producer at The Ice Box.

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The discussion kicked off with the question “can we save ourselves from the next recession, have we learned the lessons of 2008?”

Unfortunately, the event industry is not in control of the decision to have an event, it’s the client who makes this decision. Therefore, the focus should be on shouting out the value of events to the UK. What we’ve seen in the past is that the media gave bad image to events, so clients didn’t want to be seen spending money on events and branding. Events are not a waste of money, they are spend and if another recession hits, event planners should shout out in the media why events matter, the value they bring and justify the effectiveness of what they do.

Certain sectors didn’t get affected by recession, especially the consumer brands, they continued doing things but became more discrete about how they spend money. Recession proof industries include drinks, festivals, technology, Christmas parties, Annual General Meetings (AGM), venue finding, associations, charities, grocery trade and internal communications.

Regardless the industry, if you want to be a recession proof business you have to be faster than a client can be. Also you can offer “menu costing” to clients, e.g. – take out single items from the event rather than offering per person packages. If a recession hits, it’s also advisable to explore new markets and let go of old products.

What #eventprofs can learn from past recessions is that checking numbers and cash flows is key as well as keeping good staff. Also being pro-active on sales is important. When times are good event companies can make business walk out the door and forget about sales and being pro-active. Sales process should be pro-active and reactive at all times.

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To conclude, we have to do more as an industry to show the true value of events to our corporate clients because when times are good event planners become complacent and stop promoting the value of events. Associations and big agencies should take the lead in promoting this agenda by educating the clients through seminars or giving a tool box to smaller agencies and suppliers who can go to clients and spread the word. If we work together as a sector everyone in the events industry can benefit.

All panelists agreed that we are not doing enough as a sector at the moment to promote the value of events to corporate clients. We can do more by asking the right questions to understand what the clients want, what they are trying to achieve and what their objectives are. They also touched on the topic of procurement and the challenge of approving the event budget with them. Planners should educate the procurement about the value of events and that can be done by running round tables, presenting to them that buying events and creative services requires a different skills set than buying products.

The full session is also available online.

Reggie Aggarwal Founder and CEO of Cvent at Event Tech Live 2014

I was highly impressed by the keynote delivered by Reggie Aggarwal, the Founder and CEO of Cvent, at the Event Tech Live in London on 13th of November. It was a great inspiration to meet Reggie Aggarwal and hear first-hand how from being in debts he grew his company to $1.5B in only few years.

In case you missed Even Tech Live or want to recap the lessons, here I summarise some of his key points. Founded in 1999 and trading now on the stock exchange, Cvent went through ups and downs, as most entrepreneurs familiar with. From lawyer to entrepreneur, Reggie Aggarwal shared with us the main lessons he learned on the way.

Lessons for entrepreneurs

Find a pain point and create an aspirinmany entrepreneurs today make the mistake of creating a vitamin, which means creating a product that is “nice to have”. When starting new business entrepreneurs should find out the pain point and create an aspiring for it, something that the customer needs and cannot “live” without.

Entrepreneurship vs. Intrapreneurship – not everyone should be an entrepreneur. One of the main reasons for it that it can take up to a decade to build a successful company and you shouldn’t do it just for the money and be patient. On the other hand, there are many opportunities for intrapreneurship – acting like an entrepreneur within the organisation you work in.

Build a solid foundation – only recently Cvent is getting momentum in the UK market and there is a reason for that. For 8,5 years Cvent has concentrated on their domestic US market before going global. As an entrepreneur, you should scale the business only after you have built a solid foundation within your close environment.

Last but not least, don’t forget where you come from – when you start out small, don’t forget your origins, the difficulties and the people who contributed to your success and went with you through ups and downs. Act like a start-up and build an entrepreneurial culture.

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Future of events

Before concluding, he also shared what he thinks the future of the events industry is.

Social event discovery – people will discover events through personal connections on social media, based on the event content.

Single sign-on – not only your event registration will be online, but at the same time you will be able to check-in into the hotel, avoid registration queues, wirelessly print out your event badge, exchange seamless business cards and get on-demand keynote speeches. Last but not least, we will experience more augmented reality and wearable technology.

To conclude, technology enhances event experience, not replaces it. This keynote for example, by no chance can be transferred into real time experience via this blog and YouTube, no matter how detailed or with how many pictures I can support it. I still hope that I could fulfil this gap to some extent, inform you and hopefully inspire you.

What other lessons, based on your own experience, can you share with event entrepreneurs?

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Party, Russian Style


If I wouldn´t write an event management blog, I would be a food blogger. That´s also the reason that time to time I tend to post what I just cooked or baked. After all, food is one of the most important aspects of event management (but of course everything is important).

If you followed my previous posts you know that I spent one year as an exchange student in Germany. At the host university, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, every week we organised themed events which represented the different cultures of the exchange students. So each semester I teamed up with my Russian friends and we cooked for fellow students.

The event had two objectives, to raise money and to represent the Russian culture, which were both successfully achieved. The event design was different from the previous time. In contrary to last time when we hosted a formal dinner, this time we decided to go for finger food. We had to be creative and serve the chosen dishes in small and easy to handle portions. We also wanted to avoid serving sweet food, as the event took place in a bar and salty dishes are more suitable for someone who drinks alcohol.  Here is the menu and the  program we included on our invites:

It’s your chance to get familiar with the Russian culture, namely:

1. With Russian games and traditions

2. Learn some Russian phrases

3. Try the legendary Russian cuisine


Olivier Salad – Russian Tenderness

Must have of a real Russian feast

Vinaigrette Salad – Red Pleasure

The essence of Russian friendship

Blini – Fish Revolution

Pancakes with special sauce and smoked salmon

Evening’s special: Survival Kit – Shproti (Smoked sardines in oil), Vodka and Kampot


White Russian

For drinks we made white Russian (even though it´s not a traditional Russian drink, it sounds Russian and contains vodka). It was a best seller last time so I just made it again. It is very simple to make and requires vodka, milk and coffee liqueur. We couldn´t find Kahlúa liqueur at the local grocery shop, so we just made one and it was quick and easy. There are many recipes online, and the main ingredients are vodka, sugar, coffee and vanilla extract. It was delicious and best seller again.




Last but not least, we wanted to teach the non- Russian speakers some words in Russian, so we made small cards with basic Russian words and phrases in Russian, English and how to pronounce it in Russian. That was fun and interesting for our guests and they were happy to learn something new.


Such event is very engaging because people also come and ask questions about the culture, the cuisine, the language etc. People event came to us and say they have Russian relatives or tell us about their travels to Russia and share other experiences.

As last time I had great time organising the event and now have even more ideas and inspiration for future Russian parties.