It’s been a couple of days since a4uexpo Europe in Barcelona, and the huge pile of business cards in my a4uexpo bag are waiting for me to look at them. First things first though – a review of the event.
The Hotel Rey Juan Carlos I is an impressive venue. Walk through the revolving doors and you’re greeted with an awe-inspiring lobby and a lady playing the piano while people lounge around on comfy seats. The conference was held in a building adjacent to the hotel, accessible through a leafy garden walkway. It was perfect for the event – a busy expo hall with plenty of places to sit, work and network. Three main rooms hosted the speaker and panel sessions – sound quality was great even at the back of these rooms and none of the speakers I saw encountered any technical glitches. The venue was on a par with the a4uexpo London, as was the food, the freebies (Google lip-balm anyone?), the speakers, exhibitors and general vibe. Well done to the excellent A4u staff who kept everything running so smoothly throughout.
The pre-event drinks party was held at a bar just off the Avinguda Diagonal near the famous Nou Camp stadium. Neverblue sponsored the event and gave a short initial presentation. It was a good chance to meet people before the main event although I expected to see a few more familiar faces there – their absence was apparently due to one or two of the larger networks hosting their own meals/parties.
Towards the end of Day 1 was the speed networking event. I’ve been to three a4uexpo London events now but this was my first speed networking experience. Things like this are bound to be hit and miss, and it becomes obvious within seconds whether you can actually do any business with the person sitting opposite you, but it’s only a few minutes with each person and I made a few good connections - even with a fellow publisher sat next to me who overheard me talking about mobile lead generation.
The main networking party was held at Shoko and it was truly stunning. Most people gathered on the beachside terrace to network, watch the Mediterranean sunset and watch England beat Ukraine on the big screens. The food was delicious and there was a free bar until midnight. Entertainment included fire dancers and fireworks on the beach. 3am was the point at which I decided enough was enough, but many stayed there until gone 6!
Exhibitors & Speakers
There was a good mix of exhibitors this year – the usual suspects with quite a few new ones too. Google Affiliate Network was a popular stand, as was TradeDoubler and Affilinet. As for the speakers, most were excellent. Kevin Edwards from Affiliate Window gave a very informative talk on the EU Privacy Directive in the Performance Marketing Workshop section of the a4uexpo hall. Sri Sharma and Scott Seaborn were also personal highlights, both of whom spoke about mobile. In fact, the number of mobile-related sessions this year had increased since last October’s London a4uexpo – mobile has suddenly become a mainstream aspect of affiliate marketing. As Urban Gillstrom of TradeDoubler said in his panel session, “The mobile phone has invaded our lives and become omnipresent”.
This was my first a4uexpo Europe and I have to say that it’s the best a4uexpo I’ve attended so far. My initial concerns about the cost of the trip compared to what I would get out of it were completely unfounded – I made loads of new connections, spread awareness of my own company and learnt a lot from the sessions I attended. I’m really looking forward to the next London event in October.