A message from Halldale CEO Andy Smith.

I am relieved to say that we will be back to live events in the very near future, in fact Av Week’s MRO America’s returned to live or ‘a proper’ event just last week in Orlando with 8,000 reported attendees. Credit to them for blazing a trail back to real events for the aerospace sector!

If we have learned anything over 2020 that is that online conferences work well, though I have registered for many more than I have been able to attend. However if networking and in-depth discussion is a key element of an event then the virtual world has little to offer; No one wants to be online for more of their day than is absolutely necessary.

Prior to the pandemic I was following theeventmechanic.com (Warwick Davies) and I always find a good deal of value from each of his posts. The Event Mechanic is for event organizers, but exhibitor event managers would find the content of use and it would enable them to ask more targeted questions of the rest of us! So I was intrigued by a recent post entitled ‘Does your event have a heart?’ because I think ours do.

Warwick’s contention is that only 5% of events are attended because delegates really want to attend, others are because ‘I have no choice’ (.org membership events?) or ‘I am not sure why’ or ‘it is my first time attending’ I would add another reason, medical and other events that offer ‘continuing education’, however ineffective/effective that is.

Organizers like me were challenged to answer three questions;

  • Do you personally know any of the visitors attending your event?
  • Do you get jazzed up when spending time with your customers at your events
  • Do you look forward to your events?

That was easy enough, YES to all three! His contention is if you answered no to any of these questions then perhaps you should be looking more closely at what you are doing.


Live in Orlando, Florida, WATS 2021 will represent pilots, cabin crew and maintenance with a full two-day schedule over 15-16 June 2021 . Pack your bag and come join us as we move Forward Together!


For many organizers, their events simply mean ‘income’ or are an obligation to satisfy membership pledges and staff are parachuted in from any-old-event to sell more booths. It is obvious they have no feeling for the event itself, no real interest in the community and not a lot for the exhibitors and sponsors whose support they require. When Chris Lehman and I stared working together on our events back in 1999, we agreed that they were to be “of, by and for our community.’ Without that they simply could not work.

Events should always deliver for the exhibitors and those exhibitors need to know that the organizer has expended every effort to make that work. (Sometimes industry cycles can still nullify all that work!)

Post pandemic it is even more critical that our goal over the past 25 years of always giving delegates and attendees actionable content to take back to the office is delivered. In our S&T space, I suspect that will mean not simply talking about the latest regulation, or technology change, but actively helping the end user, perhaps individually, to understand what they need to do to employ them. That will mean more moderated discussion and workshops and more listening to both exhibitor and end user needs!