Over 330 marketing, ops and sales professionals from 90 event industry organisations attended this year’s AEO Forums at BDC London on Friday.

Under the theme of Tales of the Unexpected, the Forums’ speakers covered everything from customer experience, GDPR, incident management, storytelling, sustainability, teamwork, trends and real-life examples from the industry.

Chris Skeith, Chief Executive of AEO, says: “We’re absolutely delighted with the breadth of attendees we had at the Forums this year, 70% of AEO members were represented which is absolutely fantastic particularly as event season is now in full swing. We work hard to balance the sessions, providing some food for thought for each of the audiences as well as including practical, industry specific learnings from the panel sessions.”

He added:“We ran some poll questions via the AEO Forums app this year and found that 35% of the sales professionals, 31% of the marketing professionals and 24% of the operations professionals in attendance have already been involved in the management of a critical incident or emergency in the course of their work. This highlights the importance of incident scenario planning and crisis management training for all of the functions involved in staging events.”

Here is some of the feedback received from this year’s delegates:

 “There was some inspirational information from the sessions by Marc Priestley, Steve Kemish and Richard Robinson that will encourage me to focus on the detail and embrace change”

 “Phil Boas and Rob Nathan had some interesting thoughts about exhibitor co-marketing which were valuable takeaways”

 “Having group discussions in the Think, Don’t Panic session was good as it encouraged networking within the room and provided an opportunity to find out more about CMP best practice which can readily be applied to our own companies”

 “It gave an opportunity to be inspired and provide some key takeaways which can be applied back to business”

 “I attended some very interesting and insightful talks and discussions which have made me re-evaluate the way things are run within my own organisation, allowing me to bring some new suggestions to the table”

 “Excellent day, a great opening speech, I was engaged throughout and took home several learnings”

 “A worthwhile day out of the office given the high expectation attached to an AEO event”

 “Found the speakers very interesting and engaging, I have taken a lot away from this year”

 “I enjoyed the sessions by Marc Priestley, Brian Neil and Chris Ginnelly, I thought they were very inspirational. I took a lot of notes and learnt new approaches”