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International Confex: Sustainability matters

Returning to a live format may be at the forefront of the event industry’s consciousness but returning to an in-person event means the return of long-standing challenges.

With International Confex returning this 1-2 September, we spoke to two of the event’s advisory board about sustainability and the return to face-to-face events. The advisory board members were: Veronica Lake, associate director of events and marketing, The UK-ASEAN Business Council; and Nicola Smith, head of ITV experiences, ITV plc.

VL: “A key theme for me is understanding the tech requirements necessary to succeed in the events industry in the foreseeable future. Sustainability is also a key theme for our organisation and, as always, it all starts with education so I would love to meet who leads on this in the industry and follow their example. Another important theme is gaining more insights in automation during processes and how we can be quicker in our jobs while maintaining high quality outcome.

“Overall, the industry has changed enormously and, as it was unforeseen, we had to adapt. Now we can strengthen our backbone, consider possible avenues and choose what is the best direction of travel.”

NS: “Sustainability, recruitment, event budgets etc. Sustainability is super-important to us this year, coming out of the Pandemic we want to rebuild but still making sure we are making sustainable decisions and supporting our company targets.”

While sustainability is front and centre for many events businesses, which may create new challenges for the return to live, getting back on the show floor was vital for our advisory board members.

VL: “It’s crucial to get back to live events or at least hybrid ones, as the online extravaganza has lost its novelty and appeal. It is tangible how people are really struggling to engage online now.

“Live events have always been a diversion to the everyday admin, research, monitor-facing environment we had to adapt to full time. Many times, I thought of in-person events as a reward, something to look forward to that can remind me why I chose this career on the first place. As event organisers, our natural habitat includes stages, AV tests, live music, refreshments and of course in-person relationship building.”

NS: “Virtual has a place, but what does the live event offer that’s different? It's extremely important to get back to live delivery, virtual has it's uses and its place but the USP of an amazing experience is experiencing it! and you cannot do that effectively in my opinion if you have to do it all through a computer screen.”

Find out more and book your place at International Confex, here.