AEO - Association of event organisers

Much Ado about Everything


Much Ado about Everything


The events industry is going AEO Excellence Awards crazy, which is fantastic as we love to celebrate the achievements of the industry but our members know that there’s more to us than a cracking celebration.

Many of the positive initiatives we champion for members are born out of our Working Groups and ultimately focus on helping organisers create a smoother, more meaningful customer experience. Over the past 18 months, the AEO has introduced more Working Groups, all with very clear objectives and desired outcomes identified by active and engaged individuals from across our membership. That all sounds great, but what does it really mean? I’d like to share a little insight in this column on just some of the activities which have been keeping us busy recently.

We’ve been looking at how we can support members and their customers in response to new regulations that will affect the industry. The first is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into force in just under a year’s time. This will have an impact on all areas of business and requires a rigorous process of tracking and managing data use.

We’ve released a guide advising steps that need to be taken by our members in the first instance. We’re seeking guidance from data experts and event marketers via the ‘Live Event Promotions Group’ and FaceTime initiative to understand what changes will need to come into force. It’s important that changes to processes can be implemented in line with GDPR without restricting normal event marketing or business development practices.

AEO is also organising webinars so that members will have the opportunity to ask any event industry specific questions. We will be providing information that members can pass on to exhibitors, advising them of any additional precautions they need to take when gathering data at events.

The second regulatory area involves new applications in food hygiene regulations that will affect catering at events, in particular on stand catering and sampling. Representatives from the AEO Ops Working Group and AEV Catering Group are looking at what this means for organisers and exhibitors. We will keep members informed through our normal communications channels. As always, we welcome member queries at any time, so please give us a call if there’s anything we can help with.

These are two areas that we’re currently working on but I’d also like to share some progress on other projects. The first is the Stop the Drop campaign promoting safe working at height. It is working exceptionally well with the support of our sister associations AEV and ESSA with more and more members committing to promote the cause. Whilst we’ve been out and about at events around the UK we’ve seen that the resources we’re providing are being used by organisers and venues to promote safe working environments. There is now an e-learning video which we’ve recently developed and posted on the website for the contractor community to use during staff briefings.

We’ve also just published a study on event advocacy which highlights the importance of attracting high influence visitors to an event, both in creating greater awareness but also a greater return on investment for exhibitors. The study, conducted by Explori on behalf of FaceTime, took place over eight months, involved 12 shows and 13,366 visitor surveys. The difference in spending power of high influence visitors compared to an average visitor is staggering. We’ll be providing all AEO members with copies of the research which we hope will prove invaluable during discussions with exhibitors.

Some of our members like to get involved in everything we offer and others pick and choose depending on what their business needs are.  No matter how they like to work with us, we’re here to represent their best interests. Thanks to the engagement from our membership we can ensure our resources are pointed directly at activity which helps them not only grow their businesses and the industry at large, but also continue to provide improved experiences and value for their customers.

We mustn’t forget that we can let our hair down occasionally. We’re looking forward to doing just that in a couple of weeks’ time when we spend an amazing afternoon with everyone who can make it to the AEO Excellence Awards. 


Chris Skeith, Chief Executive, AEO 

  • "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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