EuBEA Exclusive: Michael Leslie Ahlstrand

Michael Leslie Ahlstrand (Danske Bank Group) discusses event industry’s current issues and talks about EuBEA

Michael Leslie Ahlstrand (image), Head of Events in Danske Bank Group, today is in charge of a full in-house events department with a staff of five people. He has been a dedicated member and member of the Board in MPI Denmark Chapter since 2004, and is one of only three Certified Meeting Professionals (CMP) in his home country. Along with his position in Danske Bank Group, Michael also runs a career as an excellent professional magician. He has even been President of The Magic Circle in Denmark. He’s one of the jurors of this year’s EuBEA and we interviewed him to talk about the most recent changes and issues of event industry.

Why is it important to participate to the European Best Event Awards?

For several reasons. If you have a good show case, why not let the world know? You might gain new customers. But also to help inspire and develop the industry. Musicians have always been inspired by each others. So should event planners. 

What is the evolution of event industry from the creative and productive point of view in your country?

Over the last couple of years, we have seen an education project in Denmark called Meetovation spread like fire in the bush. The promising result is that most Danish quality venues today have staff who is trained in the key elements of Meetovation, which are active involvement (of the participants), responsible thinking, creative setups and local inspiration. Quite a help when planning your next event. 

Which are the current problems of the event sector?

Reduced budgets due to the economical crisis. In my country it leads to less events. The positive aspect is that some organizers get even more creative when they have to stretch budgets, and that everyone must pay close attention to the Return on their Meeting Investment (ROMI). 

What do you think has been the most dominant trend within events in the recent years? 

Well, technology is always on the menu, don’t you think? Lighting design, projection power, LED technology, visual effects, sound quality. Right now LED seems to be King. And Wi-Fi is the new toilet. Guests expects to have Wi-Fi access everywhere, anytime, at unlimited speed and free of charge.