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Michael Heipel - Sparking inspiration with event technology

Michael Heipel - Sparking inspiration with event technology

Introducing the TikiTaka Ticketing Speaker at Eventex Congress 2015. Michael is already an influential event blogger who now launches a business consultancy company.

How does your job relate to the event industry? I am part of the events community since more than 20 years, having worked as an association planner (World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers), as a product manager at a venue (Cologne trade shows in Germany), as MD at a subsidiary of Deutsche Messe AG and as a Senior Project Manager at one of the leading German event and PR agencies, creating PR events for brands like Volkswagen, Deutsche Post or Deutsche Telekom. I have now started my own company, specializing on business development, digital marketing and innovation management for planners and associations.

What are your most important duties? In order to launch a new conference, trade show or B2B event successfully, or in order to breathe new life into an existing event portfolio, creative ideas are needed. Technological advances and the networked economy have pushed the boundaries of what planners need to bear in mind when developing their market strategies. Together with my customers, I work on such strategies and their successful implementation.

How do you describe your work style? I am a team player with a passion for digital technologies and tools, but I implement them where they help human beings getting things done more efficiently and where they spark inspiration. Technology is never an end in itself, but there are plenty of ways where technology will support human networking and contribute to work efficiency.

What is the biggest professional risk you have taken? Obviously, starting your own business as a consultant is a somewhat risky endeavor. However, when you have a passion for what you are doing, it is the right thing to do what your heart tells you, and therefore I look forward to launching successful event campaigns together with my customers. Apart from that personal risk, I once had to take a pretty tough decision: Moving a 300-odd exhibitor trade show from one country to another - half a year before the event was scheduled! That really gave me some sleepless nights, and the communication strategy had to be worked out in detail and executed without fail. At the end, it was the right decision and not everything, but most things went well.

How do you see the growth in the European event market? The competition in the B2B events market (trade shows and conferences) is fierce. Most importantly, new competitors are entering the market that have not been there before. While in the past, mostly business associations, specialized conference organizers and some publishing houses were dominating the B2B conference market, nowadays some pretty cool events are staged by independent networks. The rise of digital technology made all this possible. Access to specific target groups is not a privilege of a few anymore. That makes the times very exciting for entrepreneurs!

What do you like the most about Eventex Congress 2015?First of all, I am excited to be on the speakers list of this prestigious event! From my network in the events industry, I have heard a lot of respect and esteem for the Sofia Congress, making it one of the top events to go to in Europe, with an international flavour, lots of interaction and a highly engaged audience. I really look forward to Sofia!

Can you give us a brief outline of what you are presenting at Eventex Congress 2015? One of the core processes of event organizers is ticketing. Actually, I believe this is a topic that is never 100% solved, because when you think you have the right solution, new payment methods, new technologies (particularly in the mobile sector) and other market requirements like social ticketing come up that make it necessary to reconsider the way you sell tickets for your events. My session will give an overview of the current state of ticketing solutions, present the most important suppliers and provide the delegates with a list of decision criteria when choosing a new ticketing system or planning to develop one themselves.

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