The events industry is changing. All professionals come to the same conclusion: “There are a lot of students and retired people, right?!”. That's because it is getting more and more difficult to call out decision-makers. Some events organizers did acknowledge that: eg. Comexposium's event “ecommerce1to1” (every year in March in Monaco and later in Biarritz). Indeed they understood that we need to set up extraordinary events to succeed. By creating the franchise "Les BigBoss", Hervé Bloch turned the events industry value proposition: he does not just offer a place to gather the teams, he is taking them skiing or on the beach. This is all about offering privileged moments to have fun and relax, along with a business space. OKWIDE did like this approach and we recommend that you read one of his interviews.

Hervé Bloch interview retranscription "The events industry and "Les BigBoss"

How is the event industry doing?

In traditional events' fairs, professionals do pay to be there and therefore they hope to meet decision-makers to present them their offers, hoping to sign a contract. In reality, decision-makers are less and less visiting the exhibitions, they give way to projects managers and middle executives that are "only" prescribers. So it is much more difficult for professionals to catch up with decision-makers and expect a return on investment... Traditional fairs are really suffering. The trend is to gather decision-makers together during conventions like there are in Cannes, Biarritz, Monaco… This is already a good step forward. What I created last year (ndlr. Big Boss) adds kind of an emotional logic: when we spend 2 or 3 fun and relaxing days with decision-makers (the ratio is usually 2/3 of decision-makers and 1/3 of service providers), this creates emotion and feelings to stimulate connections that will turn into professional opportunities. I esteem this to be the 3rd phase, the 1st one being to gather everyone together and the 2nd one being to invite decision-makers. Therefore, we seek to reach the next step: create emotions and make the most of the event to encourage future business opportunities.


During such events, there is no formal introduction

There are 2 important moments that last 2 hours each. The first one is a meeting where "BigBoss" meet service providers that correspond to their needs. The second one is a pitch when all the service providers introduce their company in 2 minutes with videos, typically in the most original way possible. The public votes with a remote control. This allows BigBoss to see every sponsor, and it allows sponsors to differentiate and stand out from others in front of this decision-makers audience. The rest of the weekend is also very well structured, so that we don't gather together people from the same field, we create groups with people that have different interests to encourage unexpected encounters that could become business opportunities.

That serendipity gives concrete results and even return on investment…

What makes the world go around is financing the event with sponsors: consequently sponsors must have a return on investment. Last year (1st edition) there were 25 sponsors and we evaluated that it generated 5 million euros in business volume (in average 200 000€ per sponsor). There is a standard deviation running from 9 000€ to 1,3 million € ; 1,1 million € for a 3 days event. So we have a very strong return on investment, and we still have contracts in the loop waiting to be signed. So there really is a return on investment, and even a return on equity: the aim is not to spend 3 days distributing brochures and business cards, but it is to relax, enjoy and make the most of the event. Business opportunities will then come out naturally thanks to the activities organized.

One can see the results obtained with these methods: How do you see the future of the events industry?

First, the events industry shouldn't be static any more or in an annual logic. For BigBoss I decided to implement 2 different offers: Winter (Skiing BigBoss) and Summer (BigBoss summer edition). Aside from that, we organise a party in Paris (Olympia in March and Place Vendome in October). Thus, we gather the community together every 3 months because the events industry is not only about organizing one big exhibition per year, but it is also to keep the community busy all year long. For instance, last year we offered ski hats and I asked BigBoss to take pictures of them wearing the hat in an exotic place to publish pics on our Facebook group. The hat did travel the world! The aim is to unite this community by gathering everyone together not only every 3 months but also by interacting with them on a daily basis with the Internet. The last news come from Marc Ménasé who just raised 23 million €, Frédéric Mazzela who raised 100 million USD and Valérie Dassier who has been elected the "Person of the year".


How to become a BigBoss?

It is very structured. Being a BigBoss requires to work in a company that makes at least an online turnover of 10 million € per year. Also, you absolutely need to be a General Manager, or have a Director position to be able to sign with sponsors. Everybody is a decision-maker. In France there are 500 websites that make more than 10 million € per year (Eg. Accor, Air France, Groupon). Half BigBoss are pure players and half are traditional players who became e-traders due to the circumstances.


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