Spiro Anemogiannis, Managing Director of Informa Australia, has been in the commercial conference industry for 24 years. "I started off with a company called IIR in 1990 and then worked for a company called AIC, which is now called Terrapinn, and for the last 17 years I have been with Informa Australia, which is part of Informa PLC Group. When I joined, it was a public company and still is, but then it was known as IBC Group PLC. So I have been running this business for 17 years with Informa. During my early years, after finishing university, I worked for the government in industrial relations and human resource management."
According to Spiro, the largest challenge for Informa has been the increase in disruptive technology and the barriers of entry into the industry. "To give you an example: 20 years ago, the number one, most important, and hard-to-attain asset to start up or run a business like this was the database. It was very hard, costly, and time consuming to actually build or find a database because it was predominantly direct mail in terms of how we attract attendees to our events. With the advent of technology and so on, it is very easy, quick, and cheap to get lists and databases and acquire names from all sorts of avenues. So the biggest challenge firstly over the last 10 or 15 years is that there has been a lot of low-cost competitors coming to the market and increasing the competition at the lower level."
"What disruptive technology has done over the last 10 or 15 years most certainly is that a lot of content can be found online somewhere. Secondly, the networking: the next generation networking is done by technology, by computers, or by hand-held devices. The landscape is changing in terms of events, in terms of the drivers for why middle or senior executives would want to attend or send someone to an event. Our objective is to create a must-attend experience around all our events, because it is very easy to say, 'I can network by doing this and I can find a contact by doing this'. Our biggest challenge is to add value in other ways to entice the next generation of middle and senior managers to want to attend an event."