Hitting the bullseye

Rachel Parker, AEV director reflects on the industry working together and collaborating on educational resources. As the autumn exhibition and conference season swings into action and the new academic year begins, it seems fitting to touch on the topics of learning, revision and examinations from an event perspective. The popular FaceTime Exhibitor Masterclasses are back on 19 October at ACC Liverpool and 26 November at SECC Glasgow. The Masterclasses have been growing in popularity and scope since the first event, and are a great place for exhibitors to learn how to wring the greatest benefit from an exhibition presence. Topics covered include identifying common exhibitor pitfalls, the secrets of effective data capture and how to get the most bang for your exhibiting buck. Some organisers have even offered their customers complimentary tickets to these events, and well-informed exhibitors with realistic expectations are better customers for everyone, venues, organisers and contractors alike. With three Masterclasses under its belt, FaceTime has really hit the bullseye with these events, which have proved extremely useful not just for first time exhibitors, but for seasoned and successful exhibitors seeking to maximise their ROI too. While the industry strives to teach exhibitors the best way to exhibit, we are also learning about ourselves through the Size And Scale Index for Events (SASiE) initiative. We’ve started collecting data from event organisers and venues on their major trade shows, both B2B and B2C, conference related exhibitions, live music events and outdoor events. We have also contacted audit bureaux to invite them to contribute data. While our first annual report is a few months away, the response so far has been very encouraging. It’s a complex initiative that won’t fully come to fruition until the second year, when we hope to be able to provide meaningful accurate benchmarking and quality metrics for members of all three associations, the AEV, AEO and ESSA. Although the school exams are well behind us, we’ve been conducting some revision of our own, but in a different sense. The Summer 2015 edition of the eGuide has been extensively revised to update regulations relating to build-up and breakdown, catering, food and alcohol provision and sampling, electrical installation and testing, floor plans, stand construction, special effects and waste disposal. The eGuide committee has worked tirelessly to ensure the eGuide is still the ‘go-to’ document for guidance and information on regulations within the participating venues. This year also marks the first year of Construction, Design & Management (CDM) regulation enforcement. The Event Supplier and Service Association (ESSA) and the Association of Event Organisers came together with the AEV to engage with the Health and Safety Executive. Although we were unable to defer or prevent enforcement we did subject the regulations to close examination and the CDM task force was able to map most CDM requirements onto existing and established best practice. ESSA has done an excellent job managing the creating of the industry’s first dedicated CDM app for exhibitions and conferences, which was released last month. The app, which will work on any mobile device, walks users through the full set of compliance documentation required by their specific role, whether that is exhibitor, venue, organiser, contractor or main contractor. The app, CDM 4 Events, is now available online as a web app too, so there’s really no excuse for anyone to not have making CDM compliance a much more straightforward proposition for all exhibition stakeholders. These cross associations initiatives and programmes are great examples of an industry that is proactive, self-aware and committed to continuous improvement. By working together on projects like SASiE, and collaborating on resources like the eGuide and CDM 4 Events app, we are building an event and exhibition industry fit for the future, where the emphasis is on making the event and exhibition industry better for everyone, exhibitors, delegates, organisers, venues and contractors alike. This article was first published in the October issue of EN. Any comments? Email Annie Byrne
Rachel Parker
Posted by Rachel Parker
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