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Confex Future Focus: is it for you?

Chantelle Dietz explores what visitors can expect from Confex Future Focus, but is it for you?

Discover future trends

Part conference, part exhibition Confex Future Focus will offer attendees an exciting opportunity to experience for themselves what the future has in store for the event industry in a live, interactive environment. The two-day event will see Manchester's Victoria Warehouse transformed into treasure-trove of inspiration for event buyers looking to implement the latest creative ideas and technological innovations into their events. 

Event technology specialist Cvent has signed up as the headline sponsor and will be sharing its insights for the future of the industry.

Do business in a unique environment

The event will showcase a broad mix of local, national and international agencies, venues and suppliers within the unique, industrial setting of Victoria Warehouse with its exposed brickwork and original features. “Victoria Warehouse fully encapsulates the values of Confex Future Focus with its marriage of heritage and mission to be the UK’s most creatively ambitious event space,” says show director Simon Farnfield.

Attendees will have their pick of the UK's top hotels with event facilities The Grand Brighton, The Principal Manchester and The Mere Golf Resort and Spa in Cheshire providing just a sample of those exhibiting. They can also expect to see academic venues aplenty, with The University of Sheffield, York Conferences and The University of Manchester among those signed up to take part.

Visitors shopping for agency partners will find many of the best names in the business represented, from big-players like WRG Live and mclcreate – which will be hosting its own private VIP area – to local organisations like Make Events and Meet & Potato.

Learn from the best

Central to the show is its free-to-attend programme of educational seminars and debates. Visitors will have the choice of two theatres, each offering a packed schedule of thought-provoking and inspirational content delivered by highly-knowledgeable and experienced speakers working within the industry.

The Keynote Theatre will explore how the future will shape business events through a diverse range of topics. Themes including the currency of experiential, the venue of the future and the agency model of tomorrow will be discussed in detail by industry experts like WRG's head of live, Tim Collett, Manchester Central's CEO Shaun Hinds and mclcreate's creative director Jamie McAffer. Delegates can also expect to see live case studies and presentations from brands such as Swinton Insurance, ITV, Pernod Ricard and Autotrader, as well as some high-profile keynote addresses, which are yet to be revealed.

The Theatre of The Future will focus on the exciting advances being made in the digital and technological industries and how these can be utilised to make events even more engaging and innovative. Both current and future trends will be put under the microscope and practical advice will be given on how to implement them. Highlights include a talk on the tech tools that can add value to your events without losing the human touch hosted by John Martinez, CEO of event management technology software provider Shocklogic; a session on immersive technology with Sheffield-based creative agency Milk Lab; and a seminar on increasing engagement through play, led by Cari Kirby, marketing manager at online game developer TeamCooper.

Dig deeper into the content

In addition to attending the seminars and debates, attendees will have the opportunity to come together in smaller groups and take part in a number of intimate workshops and roundtable discussions hosted by industry experts. On Day One of the show, EventWell co-founder and EWL managing director Helen Moon will lead a workshop on wellness, sharing practical advice on how to improve your work/life balance. A roundtable session specifically tailored to help event planners overcome any data issues following the implementation of GDPR will take place later that day. 

On Day Two David Preston, CEO of event industry training provider Realise, and Lucy Pittaway, lecturer in events management at Manchester Metropolitan University, will host a discussion on nurturing the next generation of talent. 

Stand-up comedian and artistic director of The Comedy Trust Sam Avery will deliver a workshop on creating a happier, healthier workforce through humour to round off the day.

Make connections and network

International Confex has long been a forum for event professionals to gather in the south of England and Confex Future Focus will offer the same opportunity for event professionals based in the north. “The north, and north west of England in particular, is a hugely vibrant and innovative hub of the UK events industry, where both corporates and agencies are producing ground-breaking and spectacular events across the globe,” says Farnfield. “It’s an amazing opportunity to tap into Manchester’s scientific heritage and showcase the latest innovation and tech that underpins the successful delivery of impactful events.”

Just like its older sibling, Confex Future Focus will present plenty of ways for delegates to grow their networks and build new business relationships, ensuring they leave the show having had a productive day.

Join the excitement

Tim Collett, head of live, WRG: “WRG are excited that Confex Future Focus will be coming to Manchester this year. As a future-focused agency with its home in Manchester we know this city will be the perfect home for such engaging and thought provoking content. The world around us is changing at a faster pace than ever and this is a great opportunity to discuss how we as an industry can not only keep up with the change, but be ahead of the curve to help us meet the challenges of tomorrow.”

Collette Mellor, head of communication and marketing, mclcreate: “Mclcreate are delighted to be involved in Confex Future Focus; we are looking forward to welcoming clients old and new to the VIP area, where we will be sharing our insights around the future of events, as well as hearing from other industry leaders during panel sessions.”

Holly Moore, founder and managing director, Make Events: “It is really indicative of Manchester's place in the Events Sector that Confex have decided to do a spin off event in our city. I am delighted it is not just to be a smaller version of the Confex we all know and love.”

The details

Where: Victoria Warehouse, Manchester

When: 9:30am till 5:30pm, 4-5 July