Meetings & Events Australia (MEA), the peak membership body for the country’s events industry, has lined up 30 local and international speaking talent for its National Conference, 6-8 May 2018.
More than 500 delegates are expected for the conference, to be held at the newly expanded Adelaide Convention Centre.
This year, MEA have changed its approach to the traditional Special Interest Groups (SIGS). This sees smaller industry-focused SIGS replaced by new larger issues-based sessions that will focus on issues identified by delegates as the top burning issues for the meetings industry now. The name will change from Special Interest Groups (SIGS) to MEA Industry Forum.
The programme will range from technology to entrepreneurship, drones and data.
Over three big days and nights, organisers say delegates can expect to learn how the curious, the creative and competitive can change transform their business and the landscape of the events industry now and into the future.
The MEA 2018 Local Champion is journalist and author and proud South Australian, Annabel Crabb. TV panellist from ABC TV Carolyn Miller will be conference MC.
Global futurist and innovation strategist Anders Soorman-Nilsson will speak on the topic of ‘Digital Minds/Analogue Hearts’. He will teach his five steps for designing attractive B2B/B2C customer journeys; how to successfully position and differentiate events in the emerging transformation economy, and and how to use big and small data to drive ROE (return on events).
Blockchain and bitcoin are on the agenda, with economist and portfolio manager at Lessep Investment Management, James White set to offer insights on how blockchain can do the job of an electronic bureaucracy.
Hugh Forrest, chief programming officer for South by Southwest (SXSW), will share his strategy, stories and struggles with delivering nine days of panels, presentations, brainstorming, networking, deal-making, socialising, creating, innovating, and fun to 70,000 industry creatives at SXSW in Austin, Texas.
The Conference concludes with the Meetings & Events Australia National Awards.
The MEA will also release the results of its research with partner Executive PA Media, for the second year, into event trends for Executive Assistants.
Their survey of 55,000 Australian-based PAs and EAs consisted of seven sections and the research findings will be presented exclusively at the MEA National Conference on 7 May.
Russell Peacock, chairman of executive PA Media, said: “People who organise corporate events for their businesses as part of their other job responsibilities far outnumber dedicated in-house event managers by a high margin. Most are executive assistants, of which there are over 55,000 in Australia. They aren’t familiar with industry terminology, have little formal training, but nonetheless they are highly experienced events managers. This survey, now in its second year, provides an opportunity for the events industry to better engage with executive assistants and to work with them as business partners on their events.”
Robyn Johnson, CEO of MEA added: “Executive Assistants are closely aligned to the meetings sector with almost two-thirds of the respondents having event management as part of their job description.”
MEA says A$30bn (US$22.58m) is spent on business events in Australia each year with the majority of this spend coming from corporate events. Executive Assistants are responsible for large event budgets and independent research has shown that they have average travel and meetings budgets of $394,000, but other than that very little is known about this sector and the value they provide to the Australian events industry.
The initial survey in 2017, carried out by Executive PA Media, was the first study into the value of executive assistants to the meetings and events industry and the findings have proved to be extremely useful; so much so that the document has been used at state government level to lobby for resources and funding.