AEV Annual Conference


Conference origins

Launched in response to member requests in 2016, the event now attracts over 200 attendees and creates a unique opportunity for venue teams to learn from expert speakers and panellists discussing relevant issues.

The content is created through consultation with members and delivered by a dedicated steering group. Our Conference is designed to give venue teams a programme of content and a forum for discussion centred on the practicalities of delivering truly world class events.

In addition to compelling content, our Conference provides excellent opportunities for getting together with peers from around the world to network and exchange ideas. The conference is open to all, including AEO and ESSA members.

2021 Conference

The 2021 conference was the first time we were able to get together for over two years.  

Held at the Business Design Centre on Friday 26 November 2021, we welcomed over 160 event professionals to address the theme ‘Disruption: the new norm.’

Thank you to our sponsor and to our partners for their support, and to our members for attending.

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2021 Highlight Video



"The sessions were fantastic and provided great support to the theme and practical ideas"

" has always been about the networking opportunity and meeting face to face this year was a huge thrill."

"...Excellent content, professional and friendly event....Catering was excellent ... Lots of information, discussion -- great!"

2021 pre-conference interview from Dan Assor with Rachel Parker, AEV Director and Max Bull, AEV Chair.

The interview covers:

Introduction to the AEV • Discussion on the return of live events including changes to venue protocols, relationship with suppliers and organisers • AEV Annual conference 2021 on 26 November • where, when, what and for whom? • Central conference themes, Disruption "the new norm"• Sustainably• Life in a post pandemic world• Security•  What’s in store for AEV in 2022?


2019 Conference

We welcomed over 200 professionals and executives to the AEV Conference at Manchester Central on Thursday 4th July.

The theme 'New Horizons' invited delegates to consider the 15 years leading up to the event, and to look forward to the next 15 years, and all the ways the world and the industry will have changed in that time.

After the conference, delegates readied themselves for the AEV's 15th Anniversary Party at Dirty Martini, Manchester's premier city-centre cocktail bar. Props and costumes created an elegant 1920's theme, and party sponsors Freeman, provided "Freemantini" cocktails created especially for the occasion. 

Thank you to our host venue, sponsors Ungerboeck Software and our event partners.

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2019 Highlight Video

"..loved catching up with industry colleagues who are fast becoming firm friends. Liked the fact it (the conference) was all contained in one room - didn't lose people!"

"Good quality keynote presenters, very topical and timely reminder of the value of the customer experience".

"Great to see the AEV team again, also our peers. Great to see everyone together"

"It was a really well put together event..found a good balance in content that would interest everyone. The quality of speakers impacted the quality of the sessions. The venue was great and it was a well organised day. The evening was a lot of fun too."

2018 Conference


Our 2018 AEV Conference was held on Thursday 28th June at ExCeL London, and the icebreaker at The O2 the evening before. Both were well attended. Thank you to our host venues, sponsors Freeman and Ungerboeck Software International, our supporters and those behind the scenes who made our 2018 conference the success it was. Coupled with record attendance you ALL make us very proud to be part of this Industry. Thank you! 

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  • Registration
  • Chair open
  • Keynote
  • Speaker
  • Conference room
  • Meeting Pods
  • Poken Wall
  • Poken Wall in action
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  • Delegate 3
  • Delegate 4
  • Break out Interaction
  • Supporter interaction
  • Catering
  • Panel (Sustain)
  • Panel (Tech)
  • Sustainable Coffee Cups
  • Cups
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2017 Conference

The 2017 conference was held on Thursday 29th June at the VOX in Birmingham and welcomed over 140 delegates.


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2016 Conference

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“It was a fantastic opportunity to host the inaugural AEV Conference, bringing other venues and suppliers together under one roof for a day of knowledge sharing and networking.

"We were very proud to be able to host so many of our peers at an event focussed specifically on the most relevant topics that we are facing as an industry and to allow other venue teams to come together to share their own experiences.” 

Kate Simpson, Head of Conference & Digital Operations, Business Design Centre Ltd


The 2016 conference was held in the Business Design Centre and was attended by 130 people from throughout the events industry. Talks included:

  • How to build a world class team
  • Project Griffin 
  • Tomorrow's technology for today
  • The role food plays in venues
  • Understanding your customer, audience and team
  • How change can impact business and brand


  • "Great day hosting our first AEV working group event!..WOW did I learn a lot and some great insights into how other venues work and the challenges they are trying to overcome. If you are a venue looking to network with other like minded professionals I would recommend looking at joining the AEV".
    Danielle Worker
    Corporate Events Team Leader, Silverstone Circuits Ltd
  • "“Great essential for a successful venue. The AEV provides a platform to establish consistent best practice in this field"
    Phil Wetz
    Retail & Catering Manager, ExCeL London
  • “The AEV provides collective representation for its member venues, turning individual commitment into a group effort"
    Paul Brough
    Venue Health & Safety Manager, Olympia London
  • "Proud to be part of this Cross Association discussion. I am confident in our ability to improve and progress our working platform through conversation".
    Amir Vered
    Head of eForce and IT, Olympia London (Chair of Cross Association Technology WG)
  • “The AEV is essential to the venue sector’s ability to cooperate and collaborate"
    Jazmin Beale
    Head of Marketing & Communications, Olympia London
  • “The AEV undertakes crucial work on behalf of event venues up and down the country to ensure our voice is heard. They reinforce the important role our sector plays in delivering economic impact, increasing trade, providing jobs and driving the visitor economy.”
    Lucy Merritt
    Head of Marketing and Communications, ExCeL London
  • AEV Membership is a key part of our business strategy; it has and will continue to be a core elements of our plan to support knowledge sharing in the industry and to develop both our team and the venue.
    Kate Vandenburg
    Marketing Director - Business Design Centre
  • Our team at ACC Liverpool feel indebted to the substantial work that the AEV do for our amazing industry. As the pillar association for venues across the country it’s a real privilege for our teams to participate in many of the working groups, learning and contributing to new processes which helps drive our industry forward on a national scale.
    Colm Graham
    Senior Exhibition Account Manager, ACC Liverpool
  • We have benefited hugely from all of the insight, discussion, events and networking, but it has also meant that we have been able to give back to the industry by sharing our unique experiences and professional knowledge and allowing our employees to help lead and shape the Association from the inside.
    Mathew James
    Head of Brand, Telford International Centre
  • “The AEV has been an invaluable asset to us as a company and the wider industry, helping to lobby on the industries behalf, consolidating and distributing information and facilitating vital knowledge sharing.”
    Charlie Hodgson
    Managing Director at The Kia Oval