Mike Pickford, Executive Director, ASN Events Pty Ltd and National Councillor of the Professional Conference Organisers Association Australia (PCOAA) shares his thoughts on how AEG people have helped him organise innumerable successful events.

Interviewed by Rochelle Uechtritz 

“The best conferences we run have the ‘X-Factor’ that allows a positive vibe to touch everyone involved. Delegates are happy, our staff are happy, the venue and suppliers are happy.” Mike Pickford, ASN Events Pty Ltd

Tell us a little about ASN Events?

ASN Events is 28 years young and manages 60 plus conferences and events annually, the majority of which are from the bio-medical and scientific association sector. Whilst Australian based, ASN manage an ever-increasing number of events elsewhere in the world and looking after the needs of clients from many continents.

How does your academic expertise as a biological scientist assist in organising conferences?

In the service industry, empathy with the client is key to delivering appropriate services that are relevant and work for the client. Our scientific background has enabled us to quickly and appropriately engage with our clients on common understandings and has significantly contributed to our company’s success.

What are you looking for in a convention location?

The association market we cater for is looking primarily for a venue which allows them to have an affordable and memorable meeting, however the conference program is the critical factor.

The location itself must not be an obstacle to their participation and the main obstacle is cost in current days when scientific budgets are being tested in many laboratories.

“That said, if a delegate can go home after a conference to their friends and family and talk about where they went, it is probably more useful than trying to talk about their research.”

The inference is that an interesting location will work for a conference with a good program.

Share your top factors of an ideal convention venue?

For an international meeting, the convention centre should have the following:

  • High quality and modern facilities
  • Responsive staff
  • Great catering
  • Be close to a range of accommodation options (walking distance)
  • An easily accessed international airport
  • Be affordable
  • On the doorstep of iconic ‘must visit’ attractions
  • Be safe

Describe your experience with AEG Convention Centres?

ASN has worked with AEG for more than 15 years across multiple AEG Convention Centres. AEG has been a terrific partner as host venues for many of our successful international and national conferences. The strong, trusted, long-term relationships we have forged along with the consistency and quality of AEG people and facilities is of paramount importance.

What do you believe is the AEG Advantage for clients?

It’s all about the expertise of well-trained people who understand the success of a conference is not just in the client’s interest, it is also in theirs. We find AEG’s teams to be highly responsive and solution focussed. It makes our job easier and more enjoyable, and removes considerable risk on deliverables.

“The unexpected can happen to any of us, and it is how we deal with the unexpected that define the quality of our services. It is so much easier to deal with people you know and respect. The ultimate benefit for the client is not knowing there was a problem!”

What do you believe is the secret of a successful convention?

The ‘X-Factor’ isn’t a single thing; it’s a reflection of many things which fall into place. It’s not so much a secret, but getting them to fall into the right place is a reflection of the attention to detail and comprehensive planning. This can only be done with great people and that’s why we continue to work with AEG Convention Centres.

How do you see the future of the convention industry evolving?

The conference marketplace has become incredibly busy and in times of great financial challenge for many researchers, the plethora of small meetings threatens the viability of them all. Increasingly experienced committees are realising there is considerable upside to exploring a specific theme attracting colleagues who might normally meet under a different discipline. Efficiencies readily bring a financial sharpness to these events and reduce financial risk – but the research outcomes when good scientists brush shoulders with others who have tackled a topic from a different direction are where the real advantages lie.


For more information, image requests or media interviews, please connect with: 

Rochelle Uechtritz, Director, International Market Development AEG Convention Centres 

P + 61 400 253 392 

E ruechtritz@aegworldwide.com 

3rd May 2017