Based on evaluation of the best events, it is difficult to judge the real state of the industry, but I can say that it is the best approximation to the real situation. As a member of the media jury, I review more than 50 executed events each year in the final list. This is a good 1/3 of all finalists, which this year comprised 151 from all of the 303 reported events. To be a jury member is responsible work and at the same time extremely interesting because it provides an insight into the background of the European event industry.

The finalists are responsible for raising the profile of the profession both internally and among the contracting authority. Each of the finalists staged an extraordinary event in their field. Nevertheless, there are some that stand out among them, which I am highlight below. Of course, it is just my opinion, and there is no doubt that the story will finally be unveiled in the city of Coimbra, Portugal where this year’s hard-fought BEA Best Event Awards will be held from 21 to 24 November.

“The event industry prepares to level up based on personalisation, interactivity, cutting-edge content, co-creation, digital technology and inspiration.”

Customer Journey B2B events

Great progress has recently been made in B2B events, that are becoming focused on participants and their journey through the content of the event. Personal communication before, during and after the event is extremely important, and a clear and comprehensive measurement of the ROI (added value) of the event. Perhaps the most typical example of such an event is Cisco Live, which attracted more than 13,000 participants in Barcelona in February. Personally, I was very impressed by the Atlas Copco Global Salesforce project, which, in addition to experiential learning, also sought to achieve an emotional goal and increase the level of pride and affiliation of the Atlas employees. The event took place in Antwerp, embodying modern B2B events that are enhanced with the elements of the meeting design.

Automotive events

They represent the largest part of reported events, which stand out in terms of budgets and technical requirements. This year, I evaluated eight car events. The majority did not deviate from the established patterns that the automotive industry faithfully follows. There is a great emphasis on choosing exotic destinations, winning technical support and an excellent customer journey.

Nevertheless, the Ferrari Portofino event—Open Up to a New Breed, took place in the town after which the new Ferrari model was named. The gigantic 2.5 billion euros cost has not gone unnoticed and we are certain that Ferrari quickly sold the first series of vehicles.

On the other hand, there are events that attempt to bring the vehicles closer to the millennium generation. The tools are different, for example, influencers in the case of the Czech premiere of the Mercedes A. Camp # 24Ride is a typical example of targeting millennials through live experience. Most connected cars just want a different type of promotion. It is very similar to the story in Italy, which you can look at under the hashtag #justlikeyou.

In any case, we are eagerly awaiting an event that will really change the way automotive events are organised. This year, during the submitted events, we did not recognise this type of event.

Corporate B2C events

There are many events in this category where the event is the carrier of an extensive offline and online marketing campaign. I believe that at the majority of such events, the show is more important than the actual effectiveness of the event itself. A typical example is the spectacular opening of the Belgian shopping centre Les Bastions. An even more typical example is the Costa Zena festival, where events from their cruise ships were transferred to the centre of Genoa. The event impressed the residents and contributed to polishing the reputation of the brand. It seems that the key motive is the entertainment of event visitors.

The more creative campaigns are directly connecting the audience and the brand. In this category the campaigns of the London Loop Awards or Adidas Deerupt are a perfect example, where a creative combination of online campaigns with events are well executed. A similar example is Loreal’s participation with the Cannes Film Festival, a partnership that has been in existence since 1997 and which has been thoroughly upgraded this year.

Technology vs Content at Congresses and Conferences

The key dilemma of the various conferences and congresses competing for the prize is to use technology and top-quality content. The definitive winner is quality content and those conferences which combine the two of them wisely. Among them, the most exciting thing for me was the event of Union Investment. At the Investment Aktuell event, they decoded art in an extremely creative manner and brought it closer to a rather conservative audience of financiers. It seems that there is still room for innovation and for a higher level of creativity in this area.

Cultural and sports spectacles

In terms of budget, technical complexity, and number of performers, different cultural and sporting events still stand out. Their purpose is to create a spectacle that will mark the significance of the event. But when you look at several of the entries, the same pattern is always drawn, with an element of surprise and a high degree of photogenicity and movie-like quality. This year, the prize will be competed for by all events from the Turkmenbashi International Seaport Opening Ceremony until the 2018 World Cup Opening Ceremony and Real Madrid’s Thirteenth Championship Celebration.

This category contains the maximum number of registered works.

In the end, it is the right thing to present my favourites for which I will hold my fingers crossed during the live event in Coimbra. I was much more inspired by the intimate stories than the spectacles which were inspired by more intriguing stories this year, which, with their results, are thoroughly changing the way events are organized.

Some of the best events at Bea Awards

Google Home Training Project
Indian Google has prepared an exceptional educational event for its sales team based on the concept of the escape room, where participants were able to solve the group challenges with the help of Google home application.

  • Agency: laqshya live experiences pvt. ltd. for google

Dell EMC Forum

For this year’s event, they used the entire city of Lviv, which was transformed into a convention center full of history and surprises. This event was a good example of an event that turns the weakness of the destination into an important advantage.

  • Agency: Slupsky Event Management for Dell

Unbreakable Rainbow

The campaign, which reached deep into the heart of Polish society, where homophobes burned a rainbow sculpture as a series of events dedicated to the LGBT community. The trademark and NGOs have been revived by the kothologram and as an unbreakable symbol of love.

  • Agency: 180heartbeats + JvM for Ben & Jerry’s

Frigo Pie Shoe Store

A nostalgic story that gave the wings to the legendary Spanish ice cream Frigo Pie. For the needs of the event, a pop-up store was opened in which visitors received an ice cream in the shape of a foot during the campaign. Nostalgia triggered social networks and the event achieved exceptional results for an incredibly low budget below 50,000 euros.

  • Agency: Cow Events za Unilever

25th anniversary event for Ošukalns company VO

The 25th anniversary of the company Oškulans was celebrated in its premises where all the available equipment was used in an extremely innovative way. Construction equipment and machines have become part of the scenography.

  • Agency: Skudras metropole for Ošukalns company VO

Behind the curtain

The event of merging two formerly competitive security companies is based on the merger of completely incompatible target groups of the internal public – the customers, media and influencers into a new trade show. But the event is especially noteworthy because of its reach, both online and in the media and on social networks.

  • Agency: Havas Events for Idemia

It is common for all the finalists to achieve a leap in how they use events as a philosophy and how they improve their focus on participants. There has been considerable progress in this area over the past year. In any case, one size does not fit all, so events need to be thoroughly thought out and defined, and this also applies to a competition such as the Best Event Awards.

A long-time meetings industry addict, Gorazd is the Founder and owner of marketing and event agency Toleranca Marketing. He has many years of experience in planning, preparing and carrying out large international meetings and exhibitions. As the founder of the "Power to the Meetings" methodology, he still firmly believes in the power of live events and human to human communication. He is also the author of numerous articles and editor-in-chief of the meetings industry magazine Kongres Magazine.