#WeLoveEvents Talks: Chris Skeith

The future of events is very, very bright

29 June 2020

We had the pleasure of talking to Chris Skeith, the Chief Executive Officer of the AEO (Association of Event Organisers), the leading association for organisers of events in the UK and internationally, about growing recognition of the industry, the power of collaboration and the bright future ahead for events.

Chris started his career in media auditing at the Audit Bureau of Circulations, where he later led on the development of their auditing products for the event sector. In 2006 Chris moved to the Events Industry Alliance, overseeing the merger of AEC & BECA to form ESSA (Event Supplier & Services Association) and the launch of the highly successful ‘Use an ESSA Member’ campaign. In 2010, he also became Director of ESSA’s sister association, AEV (Association of Event Venues), driving venue engagement through numerous special interest groups.

Chris holds a seat on the Government’s Events Industry Board Committee and is Vice Chair & Treasurer of BVEP (Business Visits & Events’ Partnership), a partnership of all leading associations in the event industry, representing the sector to government and regulators. He is an UFI Board Member and chair of their associations.

Chris explains how he and the AEO are rising to current challenges to make positive progress, “The last few weeks have been very much about building trust and confidence in our ability to manage people to work on events and to try and get a hand on a pen that writes that important guidance that creates the environments for when we can reopen the events when it's safe to do so of course.”

He adds, “We're really working on that work with government at the moment…it's about trying to grow really increase that recognition for the value of the sector, it's really significant importance to the whole of the economy.”

Chris tells us one of the reasons he loves events, “If you step back and look at the impact it had on the exhibitors and the partners and the sponsors, you've really got to know those people through the journey, you understood what they need to achieve and then you delivered it in spades to the actual event and then you can see the impact that's had on their business.”

Looking forward to 2021 and beyond, Chris predicts a rosy future for the events industry.

“I think the pandemic has shown is that we're missing meeting people, that businesses are desperate to meet, they're missing that trade, their supply chains … so I think that it's actually really amplified the power and the economic driver of events…I think that the future is very, very bright.”

 “I think all the USPS live events and just going to get heightened.”

Sharing some positive words of wisdom, Chris says, “Through these times of crisis we've collaborated together we've presented unified voices to government, we've created documents together to get ourselves going so keep that collaboration going because we are together, we are stronger and ultimately we've got a great opportunity to build going forward and keep that collaboration going.”

Watch the full interview:

Join the conversation, follow us @farnborough_int #weloveevents and register for our upcoming panel discussion "The Show Must Go On: The New Era of Innovation & Creativity in Events" on 2 July 3PM BST, click here to register.

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