AEO - Association of event organisers

AEO Centenary


Details of the live event will be announced in due course. Watch this space.

aeo centenery header

A rich history

Over the years, the mission of AEO has transitioned and developed, to align with current issues.

A century on and the original collaborative ambitions are not too dissimilar from the AEO’s current objectives, albeit on a much wider and ambitious scale. It is run by its members for the benefit of its members through an elected council, specialist working groups and a fulltime secretariat.

Our working groups have seen a transformation, offering more diversity than ever. We’ve gained recognition from government bodies like never before. Collaboration across our great industry is something we and every one of you should be proud of.

Founded in 1921, registered with Companies House in June 1982 and headquartered now in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, the AEO comprises 87 national and international members.


  • To work collaboratively on industry related issues in the UK.
  • To develop cooperation among amongst trade fairs.
  • To lobby Government or Customs & Excise on tax for imported goods and other issues.
  • Negotiate collectively regarding excessive rail and transport rates (The ‘Railway Clearing House’), which successfully reduced travel fares in 1927.
  • To tackle venue related service issues; parking, waste collection, water and electricity fees.
  • To negotiate and provide cooperative insurance for its members
  • Create a list of approved contractors to exclude undesirables (only Union labourers were employed).
  • To collectively leverage the national press, in order to revitalise the industry during the interwar period.


  • To be the voice of the now multi-billion pound event organising industry.
  • To provide members with guidance on issues such as; health & safety compliance, security, sustainability and other technical and commercial issues.
  • To represent the collective needs of event and exhibition organisers and to promote the interests of our members and the industry at large.
  • To organise a broad-ranging schedule of events that provide networking opportunities for industry professionals and the platforms to share ideas and experiences.
  • To provide members with research regarding the industry, offer educational support and deal with issues of common interest.
  • To drive standards in the UK & Globally for the industry and its customers.
  • To work in partnership to drive exhibitor performance, value & return.

Planned activity for 2021

2021 marks our 100th anniversary! And hasn’t it been a journey?

To mark the occasion, we’ve got some activities in the pipeline:

  • 100 AEO social posts campaign. This includes looking back on history, highlighting the great work we do with our members and some throwbacks for a sprinkling of fun.
  • Interviews with members. Whether they’re our oldest, newest, biggest or smallest member, they’ll be sharing what AEO means to them.
  • An AEO celebration in the fourth quarter, with the hope of bringing our communities back together in person! We’ve missed your faces.
    *Subject to government guidance at the time.

AEO Sessions

As part of our centenary activation, we’ll be sharing interviews and discussions on important industry topics, AEO memories and much more over the year. Here’s what we’ve done so far:

AEO Interviews: Simon Parker and Carina Bauer

International Women's Day 2021: Women in Exhibitions

AEO Interviews: Simon Kimble and Jo Burton

Get involved!

Send us your stories or share them on social using #AEOCentenary

This isn't our celebration. It's an industry celebration. We'd love to use our platform to share your messages!

If you have a story to share about an event, some interesting history, or just a fun events fact, please use the button below to get in touch. We would love to hear from you.

Share your story

  • "Broadway Events joined the AEO on the Enterprise Membership. We’ve already taken advantage of the many benefits including the excellent FaceTime Masterclasses and training guides for exhibitors."
    Emma Barrett
    Broadway Events
  • "We are a member of the AEO because it is a proactive association for the events industry. As an organiser it provides us with high value ideas, networking, guidance and information."
    David Harrison
    PPMA Group
  • "This year, the association has led working groups to address industry issues and put on some amazing events full of insightful content for both organisers and, through the AEOs FaceTime initiative, exhibitors. In addition, the AEO has represented the industry at a Governmental level to raise awareness of the importance of events to the UK economy."
    Paul Byrom
    Upper Street Events
  • "I genuinely believe that if you’re involved in organising events you should become a member of the AEO."
    Simon Kimble
    Clarion Events
  • "Our membership of the AEO represents real and tangible value for UBM - it provides fantastic networking opportunities, practical training for our team as well as valuable insight into the state of our industry."
    Simon Parker
    Informa Markets
  • "As an Association business, we appreciate the excellent work the secretariat of the AEO do for our community. From the events side of our business, the AEO provides an excellent return on investment, providing thought leadership, fantastic networking, brilliant awards, excellent research and FaceTime, a valuable tool to tell our markets why exhibitions and events should be an essential part of the marketing mix."
    Neil Felton
  • "AEO’s networking and member meetings are valuable for individuals at all levels within our organisation. The promotion of our sector to the outside world, to government, authorities and business at large is another vital aspect of the AEO’s purpose for members, many of whom, like my company, work on events throughout the world."
    Stephen Brooks
    Mack Brooks Exhibitions
  • “Knowledge is power and the AEO dinners are certainly powerful, there is always a wealth of knowledge at the table. Insightful presentations make for a constructive and extremely social way to learn from the experts who’ve done it before. I attended the Japanese evening and gained really valuable insight about the culture and how best to communicate with a local audience.”
    John Whitaker
    Vice President Marketing, Data & Digital , dmg events
  • "We have the opportunity to contribute positively to the industry as well as gaining valuable insight and advice. There’s no need to spend valuable time and money reinventing the wheel when you have so many experienced professionals in AEO membership to learn from”
    Emma Cartmell
    CHS Group
  • "JOINING THE AEO HAS BEEN FANTASTIC! Being able to gift our customers with free places at the FaceTime masterclasses, learn alongside industry peers and seek advice to common challenges is invaluable”
    Sharon Azam
    GovNet Communications
  • I just wanted to send my most sincere thanks for everything that you and the AEO team are doing to help navigate the events industry through the pandemic. The working groups and communication from the AEO have been excellent and I’m really appreciative of being part of such a wonderful organisation.
    Simon Burns
    ICHF Events
  • I think what the AEO has been doing during this tough time has been exceptional.
    Greg Cherry
    QD Events LTD
  • It is so useful to hear from your peers at this time. Please pass my thanks to Ruth and the BTIG panel
    Dan Assor
    CloserStill Media
  • Just wanted to thank you and Ruth this morning for the Zoom meeting - it was really interesting to hear how things are moving along in the virtual/hybrid meeting/exhibitions. All very new to me, so a lot to digest.
    Maureen Wright
    Optic UK
  • The session this morning was fantastic. We are right in the midst of this and the information was so useful. We can apply it immediately
    Claire Adams
  • The AEO provides an opportunity to make a difference, to work with other companies for the good of the industry as a whole, but beyond that, it provides it’s members with valuable insight and tangible benefits to grow your business, upskill and engage your teams. For those reasons, our membership is in indelible ink on the each annual budget. In short, if you aren’t a member, you are missing out.
    Ed Tranter
    73 Media




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