At the start of each new year, a number of us are faced with the task of mapping out our conference calendar for the next twelve months or more, a challenge that never seems to get easier despite the number of years we’ve been in the industry.
Since the merger with iGaming Business, Clarion Events is now the producer of more iGaming events than any other organizer, with Shona ODonnell at the helm as Events Director. With ICE and LAC just around the corner, the conference season is back up and running and there are still some questions we need answered before making final decisions on what to attend and what to skip this year.
LAC: Overlap with ICE, new & improved registration system
I only just noticed the first day of the London Affiliate Conference (LAC) overlaps with the third day of ICE’s expo, a first in both events’ history.
“One of the things we were getting a lot of feedback on was that people wanted us to take the shows off the weekend. Obviously we’ve seen a change in the industry and with the industry maturing, so we made the decision to take the show off and we do have an overlap day with ICE”, shared ODonnell.
“We think that it will be really positive and it will bring a lot of people who might have attended ICE in the past and have an interest in the affiliate side of the market, but it couldn’t necessarily be their primary focus. We are hoping that now with the overlap, it will encourage them to come and attend the show and see how important the affiliate market is to gaming as a whole”, she added.
Of course with both ICE and LAC taking place at the ExCeL since 2017, a move as drastic as overlapping days is not too disruptive to those who wish to attend both events.
Another update for 2018 comes in the form of the registration system, a typical “new venue growing pain” that upset a number of LAC delegates last year.
“One of the things I’m quite excited to let everyone know is we’ve invested tens of thousands of pounds in a brand new registration system. I made a very public apology last year about some of the problems we had with the queues, so we have invested very heavily this year in our registration system and process”, ODonnell revealed.
“So hopefully there will be no queues or very minimal queues, perhaps for people who haven’t registered online. I would always encourage everyone, please, please take the time out now and register online before you turn up at the show, it will make your journey into the event so much faster and easier”, she added.
iGB Affiliate Awards: Havana Nights Theme
The LAC will close out this year with the iGB Affiliate Awards, a celebration for all registered delegates with table booking opportunities for those who desire a more “VIP experience”.
“We’re really excited about the awards and I can probably reveal exclusively to you that our theme this year is going to be ‘Havana Nights’, so it’s a really sultry, sexy set and we’ll have Michael Caselli hosting as usual, we’ve still got some tables available so we encourage anyone who’s interested to get in touch with us ASAP”, ODonnell said.
“It really is a brilliant celebration of the achievements of our industry over what I think has been a particularly challenging year as we’ve seen lots of change happen”, she added.
MiGS: Re-launch May 2018
We were surprised last year to hear the annual MiGS was going to be postponed until 2018 and some predicted the event was actually finished. ODonnell has confirmed MiGS will be moving forward as planned in 2018 and her team is working hard to ensure the right people will be there.
“With us taking part of the ownership of MiGS last year we decided to take a year out and have a think about it, have a refresh, it was very close to some other events on the calendar and we had a lot of people complaining about that”, she explained.
“MiGS will be back and we’ll be re-launching that immediately after ICE, it will still be taking place in Malta, that is the home of MiGS and a real hub for gaming so it’s a brilliant place for people to visit. It will be taking place in May and we’ll have more information on that coming in mid-February”, she said.
“We want to make it a very senior level event, very focused on doing business, creating incredible opportunities for people to network with the right people in order for them to find business growth in 2018 and beyond”, ODonnell added.
Autumn Affiliate Conference: YES ITS HAPPENING
With so many busy affiliate-focused events taking place throughout the year, some of us have been wondering if there is still a need for an Autumn Affiliate Conference (formerly known as “BAC”). The answer to this question is a resounding YES and ODonnell’s research has proven the industry wants an autumn affiliate conference and thrives on events taking place in different cities around the world, with perhaps a new destination for 2018.
“The autumn event is absolutely happening, I can assure you of that. There is definitely a need for that show. We will be announcing right after LAC finishes where that will be, so this is a watch this screen and we’ll be coming to you with information on where that will be”, she promised.
NAC: Moving to Copenhagen
The Nordic Affiliate Conference (NAC) was launched last year as a more niche affiliate-focused event, but the interest in attending this conference was overwhelming and ODonnell is looking forward to hosting a bigger and better event dedicated to the Nordics in 2018.
“The Nordic affiliate conference for us which was a first last year was incredibly exciting. The response we had was to the point where we actually had to waitlist people”, ODonnell shared.
“Because this is a really true regional event, we are actually moving from Stockholm this year and I can tell you exclusively that we are moving to Copenhagen. The event will be in April, we’re very much excited about the second edition and I think its something the industry is really interested in as well, so another exciting change for 2018”, she said.