Event of the year? For me it was the Dubai Airshow, hands down.
Having recently worked within a leading global airline’s corporate communications team I have been in the wings (pardon the pun) of organization of an airshow but this was my first experience as a delegate.
And it was nothing short of wonderous.
If I thought I was an #avgeek before, this experienced confirmed it. The big, beautiful draw of the open skies, the roar of an immensely powerful engine and the smell of jet fuel burning as each bird ascends from the runway up into the vast horizon. The romance, the thrill, the exhilaration. I can only wax lyrical!
As a former event manager however, I can’t help but wear my old hat and notice details, large and small. For example, the trap which companies fall into with their designated 3m x 3m white box. Sure, it “ticks the box” but from a delegate’s POV there is often nothing memorable about it; it makes me question the ROI measures that companies apply to their participation. Which is why I was absolutely delighted when we happened across the Boom Supersonic stand. Conceptualized by a Dublin-based company called Catapult, it completely disregarded everything typical about exhibition stand layout and created an experience that delegates were automatically drawn to. Minimalist yet compelling. Below is a snap of the finished product and not a rollup banner in sight!
Image Credits: thisiscatapult.com
Now I shall retire my events hat for the moment and swap it for my communications hat.
We went to the airshow with very little agenda, seeking instead to ensure we remained up to date with what’s going on in the industry. One thing that we were so pleasantly reminded of is that there really is nothing like a good old fashioned conversation. In fact, the conversations – and hospitality – that we enjoyed with various people and companies across the two days was such a highlight. CAE, Boeing and Alsalam, we’re looking at you!
Now this may be quite un-millenial of me to admit; but I often feel that, in this hyper-connected world we live in, we forget the value of face-to-face interaction with people. In this age of screen-time overload, people are genuinely so refreshed by face-to-face conversations. And somewhere like the airshow, in an out-of-office setting, you don’t feel like you’re encroaching on people’s time or burdening them by just dropping by. It was really refreshing to meet new people (Meredith even got to meet her hero Sir Tim Clark!) and share stories. It should come as no surprise that at Bravo Romeo we love a good chat, we are after all storytellers by trade.
Bravo Romeo’s CEO Meredith Carson (pictured on the right) and Communications Manager Katie Rose Cuthbert
Lastly, there’s a reason it’s on for a week. It is vast! If you’ve only blocked a day to go, believe me when I say it is not enough. The expo is absolutely huge and that’s before you even make it outside to the incredible static display. Organize meetings in the morning and make sure your 2pm is open so you can catch the magnificent air display. I considered trying to describe the full wonder of the display, but as I type I’m reminded of a quote from screenwriter Micheal Parfit who once said, “Can the magic of flight ever be carried by words? I think not”. So I’ll leave it to your imagination, and see you on the tarmac in 2019.