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From nightclub promoter to setting a £10m target, In2Events aims high

Located on the beautiful south coast of England, In2Events has been successfully creating international events for its wealth of clients for more than a decade.

What started in 2006 as two friends, Gavin Farley and Adam Baxter, wanting to put their promoting skills to good use, is now a full-service event agency delivering exceptional events on an international stage.

“My first boss when I was 17, 22 years ago, said to me that there will come a time when you realise that you’re at the best event. For me, that was at the Google Deep Mind event we put on in Seoul in Korea,” Farley explains.

“We only had a couple of months to prepare for the event because others were getting close, like Microsoft. Google wanted to be the first to launch this technology and at the time we didn’t know if the algorithms were right but we went ahead with the event,” says Farley.

The Google Deep Mind event aimed to showcase Google’s latest artificial intelligence (AI) technology at the time: AlphaGo. The technology was dubbed to be as close to a thinking human brain as possible without actually being a human. According to developers, the only way to prove that it works was to have AlphaGo beat the world reigning champion at ‘Go’ – an ancient Chinese game estimated to have more possible moves than all the atoms in the universe.

“I was in the media room with hundreds of journalist and I stepped outside into what is Seoul’s equivalent of Piccadilly Circus and our event was being broadcast on the screens,” adds Farley.

Following the successful showcase in March 2016, In2Events saw a huge uptake in technology clients, which remains the agency’s main sector. However, Farley and the team are expanding, starting with winning new clients in sectors including energy, software and telecoms with brands such as ENGIE, oracle, and Dell coming on board.

These new client wins combined with establishing a presence in London, the US and Australia, aim to help the agency reach its £10m-plus target for 2022.

“We’ve already reached our target for this financial year, four months early and we’re on the right path to reach our 2022 target,” says Farley.

And while client wins and expansions showcase the agency’s ability, Farley strongly acknowledges that without his “well-oiled” team, In2Events wouldn’t be where it is.

“I think our niche is that we have dedicated teams for every aspect of events, the only things we outsource are food and beverage, so we have full control over an event.

“We have an in-house design team, our main events team, venue finding teams, along with logistics and exhibition build teams, each of them are specialised and each client is assigned a dedicated account manager.”

However, finding experienced and dedicated event professionals isn’t the easiest in Waterlooville, where the office is based, as Farley explains. “Being outside of London makes it more difficult to get the talent and we suffer down here because it seems everybody wants to get the jobs in London when getting into the industry.

“But we’re still very selective about who we hire and we don’t dress it up to be something it’s not. One of the first questions we ask people in interviews is what they think a day in the life for an events manager looks like.”

In2Events isn’t alone in struggling to find talent as the industry reports a serious skills shortage, with both corporate event planners and agencies alike acknowledging that upskilling within their existing employees is crucial.

“We encourage our team at every stage and we’ve done a lot of research into the wellbeing of staff,” says Farley.

Along with directly asking their staff what they want and need from the company, resulting in flexible working and pizza paydays, In2Events also utilised the expertise of an external consultant to strengthen the workforce.

As well as giving back to his team of hard-working staff, Farley is also keen to give back to the industry in any way he can, explaining that he regularly gives talks at his old college. And if that wasn’t enough, he’s generously donated his services to industry charity, Meeting Needs, as an auction prize.

Get bidding now to win a day’s labour from Farley or nine other male industry figures.