‘In the space of a few months we reinvented ourselves!’

Of all the transformations engendered by the year 2020, the acceleration of the digitization of events will perhaps have been the most spectacular. James Debos and Camille Voisin, two of the co-founders of the professional congress organization agency Eventime tell us how with agility and strength they confronted the wave.

Camille Voisin Eventime portrait

Can you present Eventime?

Eventime is a professional congress organization agency (PCO).

After a long career in this sector, we set up Eventime in 2012, as we were keen to be able to play an active role alongside associations. Today, based in Paris and Marseille, Eventime organizes some 30 or so events each year and has recently joined the MNH/nehs group, one of the main players in the French healthcare sector.

What are the advantages of this integration?

By joining MNH/nehs we have been able to create an event pole around 2 main areas of expertise: the congress with Eventime and the trade show with our sister company PG Organisation. Today, digital technology has been added to this.

This integration allows us to enjoy both a great deal of freedom in our decision-making and a strong and secure financial base, which is invaluable in the current economic climate. Thanks to the group, we also have an excellent network in the healthcare sector, in relation to both professionals and institutions.

In 2019, our group achieved an annual turnover of 1.3 billion euros with more than 6,000 associates throughout the country.

James Debos eventime portrait

The trend for congresses in the 1st half of 2021 is digitalization: how is Eventime adapting to these new requests? How are your customers reacting to this digital revolution?

In view of the crisis caused by COVID-19, the events industry was compelled to adapt, our customers too.

The need to meet remained the same and alternatives had to be found. Our industry is agile and resilient, and the extremely rapid transformation of our business has been proof of this. In the space of a few months, we reinvented ourselves! Virtual events therefore became our new environment.

At the beginning, our customers were a bit reticent, then gradually the advantages of virtual events and digital formats became apparent: to be able to meet and enter into dialogue with others, but not only that! It is a new model that enables an event to continue to exist in time.

Physical and digital events were already beginning to coexist before the crisis but were very often limited with a simple live broadcast of the event. Today, our clients realize that their event can exist all year round due to the new formats that digital offers.

We are almost certainly witnessing a change in our business; what worked before will probably work differently tomorrow.

What is so unique about your platform devoted to digital events?

Eventime plateforme digital

Devised and developed more as a white-label content platform than an ‘events’ platform, our digital solution is based on our dual expertise: Congress and Trade Show. It therefore revolves around 3 main functionalities: content, networking, and partners.

It was essential to ensure the best possible level of involvement and interaction among participants, whether they were delegates, visitors, speakers, partners or exhibitors.

What led you to build this new tool?  

First of all, we took time to analyze the market and build a tool that was really adapted to the expectations of our participants and partners on these new formats. It has also enabled us to have the first feedback from users about the digital events of the last few months and to define precisely the best practices to adopt going forward. Having our own platform gives us greater flexibility and adaptability in terms of the great variety of events (congresses, tradeshows), as well as a significant competitive edge.

With these new virtual event formats, how do you manage the constraints of GDPR?

This is certainly an important point to emphasize and a major legal subject in our group. There are regulations and the rules regarding the data collected are precise.

Far too often, one hears certain agencies point to the digitalization of events as an excellent way to collect and monetize data from partners. That is not our objective. We refine and enrich it, but only use it in the exclusive framework of our activity in order to offer content that is continually more in keeping with the expectations and profiles of our participants. It is certainly not sold to a third party.

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