Natalie Simmons
Global General Manager
ci events

We caught up with the global general manager of ci events, Natalie Simmons, recently to get her take on the state of play in the events industry right now and what’s happening at ci events.

Q. What, if anything, will change with your new brand?

A. It has been a couple of years now since we changed the look & feel of our brand and as a strategic creative event agency we are passionate about continuously looking at our own brand and ensuring we keep it fresh and relevant.  We have also grown and expanded significantly over the past two years both in the services that we offer to our customers as well as geographically so it was time to undergo a brand refresh ensuring we globally represent this growth and offering.

The brand will still very much represent all that cievents is known for, however the new brand refresh will have a much larger focus on our people who are at the heart of cievents.  We wanted to bring more of their stories to the forefront on a daily basis so you will be hearing a lot more from our people directly and what inspires them. They are, after all, the people who everyday create experiences that engage and inspire for our valued customer base.  Another key focus area for this brand refresh is our publication of thought leadership articles and insights from various people across the brand – we are passionate about continuously adding value to our customers & our people.

Q. Your website was part of this. What does the new website offer?

A. Our website provides a great insight into the world of cievents both locally & globally. A key change with our refreshed website is the spotlight on our people across our different business areas.  As the driving force behind bringing to life all of the events we create we wanted to showcase & celebrate their varied talents.  The website is also updated with some of our recent work across various industries and of course full of thought leadership pieces.

We have built the site to ensure content can easily be updated and changed on an ongoing basis as we grow. We want to ensure it is forever evolving as we continue to create experiences that engage and inspire.

Q. What do you expect from a business perspective for 2017? Will it be a good year for cievents and the business events sector generally?

A. 2017 for cievents is shaping up to be a very exciting year.  We have a number of planned new openings globally which will see our strategic footprint grow.  Our multi-national customer base is growing quickly which is also helping us accelerate growth in our already existing markets and enabling us to expedite new services and offerings to better assist our customers in managing their full portfolio of Meetings & Events.

We believe that 2017 will see more consolidation of meetings & events calendars with a growing focus on strategy across all MICE activities – which in turn will provide the opportunity for agencies to become greater strategic partners in the business events sector.  The business sector is continually changing and I do not believe that 2017 will be any different, however, these changes are allowing for exciting opportunities for those agencies that are changing their approach to the management of business events.  2017 will more than ever focus on creating value with every MICE interaction and to be part of the business events sector is a very exciting place to be right now.

Q. Where is growth coming from for cievents?

A. We are seeing a lot of growth at the moment in our US & UK markets with the acquisition of new customers & in new industry verticals that have not been as active over the past 3-5 years which is exciting to see some of these industry sectors coming back in a strong way.  In Australia and New Zealand we are still seeing lots of growth from our traditional industry sectors with strong growth in our creative & content services as more customers are looking for integrated event services agencies.

Another key area of growth over the past 12 months has come from our multi-national sales team with a number of new multi-national accounts being implemented over the past 12 months and we have just been named as one of the top 25 agencies to watch in Hong Kong. We foresee Asia as being another growth market for us in the coming year.

Q. What are your hot pics for destinations for meetings and incentives in 2017?

A. I think that the destinations on the West Coast USA, Hawaii & Mexico will continue to see strong numbers along with NYC.  Destinations such as South Africa which is financially very affordable is coming back into consideration and Asian cities such as Singapore & Hong Kong will continue to see strong growth.  New destinations such as Cuba will we believe start to gain interest depending on the group requirements.

Q. Is there anything else you would like to comment on? 

A. The business events sector is a very exciting industry to be a part of right now, allowing us to create value and inspiring experiences through meetings & events is a real privilege.