Pre-event planning: UK-based Sports Business Group, which provides information and marketing services for the sports industry, held its first iGaming France conference last year. Aimed at French affiliates, operators and service providers in the online gambling market, as well as other international operators in the sector, the event focuses on key industry and regulatory issues, with sessions held in French and simultaneous translation in English. Delegate feedback from last year's inaugural event indicated a demand for greater networking opportunities, so these elements were built into the 2012 conference.
Objectives: The event aimed to provide insights into the French online gambling market, a key European market that has recently been affected by regulation, as well as offer delegates the opportunity to network and exchange ideas.
"The conference content and speakers are all focused on discussing the local market, the key industry issues and current regulation that are affecting France," explains Kiera Goymour, event manager at Sports Business Group.
Challenges: Last year's event was held at the The Courtyard by Marriott Paris Neuilly.
For this year's event, Sports Business Group wanted a slightly bigger venue, but one that was still within central Paris and on a similar budget. Working with the Pullman, it managed to negotiate a competitive delegate rate to include the room hire, coffee breaks and a hot buffet lunch. However, when discussing the terms and conditions of the contract with the full intention of signing, the venue confirmed another client for the conference dates without informing Sports Business Group.
Solution: Sports Business Group revisited its second and third options for venues to see whether they could still accommodate the conference and match the Pullman's rates, but this was not possible.
"Despite the initial problems with the Pullman, we continued negotiations to find another suitable date and managed to negotiate an additional discount on the room hire charge," says Goymour.
The two-day event included a series of presentations, workshops and panel sessions. Networking lunches were held on both days and delegates also took advantage of additional networking opportunities, including a drinks reception at the hotel bar and a dinner at the Bistro Champetre in Rue Saint-Charles.
Client verdict: Goymour says the conference went really well, with plenty of space for networking and informal meetings. "The simultaneous translation for those that didn't speak fluent French was great, involving all our delegates," she adds. "The good weather really helped and meant that our drinks reception on the terrace was well attended."
Post-event analysis: Goymour says that attendance was a little lower than the company had anticipated, due to the not-so-positive evolution of online gaming regulation in France.
"Moving forward, we will be watching the industry closely in the next six to eight months in order to make an informed decision as to whether we repeat the event," she says.
Company: Sports Business Group
Event: iGaming France
Group size: 209
Date: 26-27 March, 2012
Venue: Pullman Hotel Tour Eiffel, Paris
October 2011: Three venues shortlisted
November 2011: Pullman Hotel chosen
January 2012: Registration opens
February 2012: Conference programme drawn up
March 2012: Event takes place