The Challenges of Planning our Customer Conference
The Qube Global Software Customer Conference is a big event. Sure, there are bigger events in the property industry (most of which we exhibit at) but these are often run by professional conference planners.
At Qube Global Software, the majority of the planning of our Customer Conference is done by just two people – myself and Lucy Smith. It’s a lot of pressure and hard work for both of us but, by keeping the event planning in-house, we maintain the personal touch – which we think is vital for the success of the event. (At least neither of us has to present – that’s a whole different kind of pressure and hard work for those guys!).
The event is held in October and planning starts straight after the previous year’s event with the search for a venue. Lucy and I have visited every suitable venue in London, sometimes more than once, as well as plenty that have turned out to be unsuitable. With our requirements of a large hall and quite a number of breakout rooms, the choices are surprisingly limited.
This search has presented us with a real quandary for the last couple of years. We want our venues to be exciting and varied (previously we’ve been at The Tower of London, The Royal Opera House, London Zoo, The Oval cricket ground and many more) but, ultimately, they need to be fit for purpose.
This year’s event is hosted by Kings Place in London – for the fourth time in the last six years. Admittedly, this doesn’t tick the variation box but it really is a great venue. Just five minutes’ walk from Kings Cross St Pancras, there is nowhere – quite possibly in the entire country – that can claim to be as accessible, certainly by public transport.
Its spaces are modern and in fabulous condition but crucially for us, they all sit off one central hall. Moving people around is one of the key challenges on conference day, but at Kings Place this just isn’t a problem. The other clincher for us is the AV. A lot of the day is taken up with showing software – in Kings Place’s two main halls, the display is crystal clear.
So this is our problem. People like and want variety – but we can’t compromise the quality of the event for that. And so we are back at Kings Place. Again.
The venue, though, is just the start of it. The conference exists for us to show off the latest release of each of our products. Nobody can remember whether the annual release cycle or the conference came first – but they fit in very nicely together.
As a business, we’d love to be able to demo, display and train all day long – but the reality is such that the presentations take a huge amount of time to create. And besides, the feedback we get indicates that attendees enjoy the variety.
So while our product sessions do take pride of place, but they are supplemented by a number of third party speakers. We’ve had some great keynotes over the years, including Leo Johnson, Tim Harford, Doug McWilliams and Lord Mawson. This year, Lord Daniel Finkelstein takes to the stage to talk about the politics of property – we’re rather hoping that he might provoke a lot of debate.
Also lending considerable knowledge to the day are what we call our ‘Industry Speakers’. Qube Global Software has customers from every part of the property and facilities management industries. We try to provide specialist presentations, focussed around these industries from industry experts – be they consultants, professional bodies, the big property advisers and so on.
So, we’re really excited about this year’s Customer Conference and it promises to be one of our best yet. We have a great venue, some brilliant presentations and wonderful help from our friends in the industry. We’d therefore recommend you register very soon if you’d like to come or you may end up disappointed.
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