AEO - Association of event organisers

The AEO Ops Working Group extends thanks to venues and suppliers across the industry


The AEO Ops Working Group extends thanks to venues and suppliers across the industry

06 Dec 2021

Dear ESSA and AEV,

The AEO UK Operations Working Group met recently to discuss our recent experiences of being back on-site at events, and given how closely all branches of the EIA have been working together, we wanted to share our feedback.

Our events, as a whole, have been welcomed back by our exhibitor and visitor audiences, clearly indicating the importance of Business Events within all of the markets we serve, and the true value of face to face marketing.

The pent-up demand that exists across the board has been clear to see: All manner of stakeholders were keen to get back into the halls, meet, network and trade with each other, in a way that is hugely reassuring to us all following the enforced hiatus brought on by the pandemic.

There has never, in our lifetimes, been such a huge challenge for us all.

None of us could ever have imagined quite how difficult it was going to be to get our industry back up and running.

Yes, we all could see that it wasn’t going to be pretty, but there was no way of knowing just how steep the hill would be to climb.

As a result of the present challenges, The AEO UK Ops Group, unanimously wanted to acknowledge the unbelievable performance of every single company and individual involved in the staging of these events – from the largest of the [venues and] contractors down to the smallest of the sub-contractors and freelancers.

We are fully aware of the stress and pressure that the [service and] supplier community have been working under. Desperate decisions had to be made across the sector to navigate through lock-down and the following periods when no events could be staged, for then the tap to be turned back on with little confirmed notice - not with a trickle but with the hugest torrent.

As organisers we have seen the difficulties that our counterparts have all had in securing labour, in managing transport, in securing materials and stock. The challenges brought about by the rise in oil prices and materials. We have seen the compression of the majority of the event calendar into three short months, resulting in long and exhausting work hours, and we recognise the fallout created by last minute decisions and order making as a result of a lack in confidence that the events really would go ahead.

We wanted to extend a huge thank you to all of your members, and both the contractor and venue communities as a whole. Thank you for all of the effort, the dedication, the patience, the calm heads, the imagination, the problem solving, the pride, the unbelievable flexibility. The ripping up of the blueprints, the sheer bloody-mindedness to get things done. Thank you to all of the individuals, every single one. There may have been times where you wondered if we had seen you. We may, amidst the pressure we too were facing, have not always said thank you and well done when it was needed. We hope we did, but it would have been impossible to do it enough.

We know that the road ahead is not going to be a smooth one. Whilst we celebrate what we have achieved together, we recognise that the pattern of the last 3 months is not a sustainable one and the welfare of our event partners is very much in our minds as we look ahead.

However, we are confident that the closer ties formed between the Organiser, Venue and Contractor communities over the last 18 months - securing the future of our industry - will enable us overcome the difficulties ahead.

We are looking forward to working alongside each other more closely than ever before – being open about the challenges and finding ways to help each other.

Thank you, you are all appreciated

Kind regards

The AEO UK Operations Group

  • "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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