Hi Andreas, how are you? How are the preparations for the upcoming hybrid TES Affiliate Conference coming along?
Hi, thanks for having me! Things are going well. No, actually, things are going fantastic. The respective Andaluz and Spanish governments just confirmed to us that we will be allowed to host a minimum of 500 guests at our upcoming TES Affiliate Conference from 2-5 July 2021 in amazing Marbella, Spain. What better news could there be than that?
Where will the live part of the hybrid TES Affiliate Conference be hosted? And how does the preliminary schedule currently look like? Will there also be parties as well?
The live part of the hybrid TES Affiliate Conference from 2-5 July 2021 in Marbella, Spain will be hosted outdoors (to keep everyone safe and relaxed) in the tropical gardens of the spectacular Don Carlos Resort & Spa in beautiful Marbella, Spain.
The preliminary schedule looks amazing – and it is the strongest we have had in the past 12 years – by far. We have never ever had a lineup of speakers stronger in their respective fields than this time around! Regarding parties we will take an educated decision last minute.
How many entrance tickets are you planning to sell for the live part of the conference? And, what Covid-19 measures will be taken for the conference?
At the current moment we are planning to sell 500 entrance passes for the live part of our hybrid TES Affiliate Conference. But this number might go up on June 21st, 2021 when we will receive the new maximum attendee numbers allowed from the respective Andaluz and the Spanish governments. I do not know how things will look in the future since Andalusia is planning to drop all Covid-19 measures on June 21st, 2021 (when 70 percent of their population is expected to be vaccinated) but even currently you only need a valid PCR test and you are good to enter Spain.
Traveling during times like these can be really challenging, will you be able to provide attendees/participants with a visa invitation letter in order to help them ease their travel plans to Marbella in July 2021?
Yes, of course. Walter and I will – as always – help our clients with whatever we can.
Obviously we will extend visa invitation letters to people who are in need of one, and hold a valid entrance pass to the live part of the hybrid conference.
What will be the price for a live entrance pass? And what will be the price for a virtual entrance pass? And when will registration open?
The entrance passes for the live part of the hybrid TES Affiliate Conference will cost 399 Euro per person, and will go on sale on June 1st, 2021 at 08:30 am Madrid time. The virtual entrance passes for our hybrid TES Affiliate Conference are free until 19 May, 2021. Afterwards the virtual entrance passes will go up and cost 29 Euros.
Please set your alarm for 1 June 2021 at 08:30am Madrid time if you want to get your hands on one of the limited live entrance passes. We do NOT expect that there will be sufficient entrance passes for everyone who would like to attend.
So, if I understand you correctly, you advise that people should NOT buy their flights and book their hotel rooms just yet?
No. Do NOT book your flights and hotel rooms unless you actually hold a fully paid for entrance ticket for the live part of the hybrid TES Affiliate Conference in your hands!
At what rate are currently registrations coming in?
We had 500 registrations during the first 5 days.
How many live attendees do you expect to be physically present at the conference? How many additional attendees do you think will join the conference virtually via the Internet?
We expect to host 500+ people live at the Don Carlos Resort & Spa. Regarding the number of virtual attendees Walter and I got an internal bet going. Walter says that there will be 3.000 virtual attendees. I say that there will be 5.000 virtual attendees. Historically speaking I tend to win such internal bets.
The conference is scheduled for 2-5 July 2021, with the 4th of July being a huge holiday in the U.S. Did you take this into consideration, and if so, how did you solve this huge dilemma?
No. We did not. At least at the beginning. Amazingly Walter and I really overlooked this completely! But, luckily our clients are watching our backs, and made us aware of our mistake.
Therefore the virtual part of the conference will now take place on July 2nd and July 3rd, 2021, and finish at 10:00 am Los Angeles time so that everyone in the U.S. can head out on July 3rd, 2021 for a nice 4th of July celebration lunch or a holiday with their loved ones.
Will there be any interesting speakers this time around?
Too many to tell you here. That would need an entire new interview by itself. But feel free to check out the amazing lineup which we managed to recruit already until now. It is for sure the strongest speaker lineup we have been able to present during the past 12 years that our TES Affiliate Conference exists by now.
Okay, but you will have people from all around the world as well speaking at and also listening to the speeches this time. How are you planning to cope with all those different time zones involved?
From 10:00 am until 12:00 noon Madrid time the speakers based in Asia and Australia will be on. This is during their evening hours – but not at night for them. So, all good. From 01:00 pm until 03:00 pm the speakers based in Europe and Africa will be on. That is problem free. And from 04:00 pm until 06:00 pm the speakers based in the Americas will be on – which will be in the morning hours of the Americas, but not at night. So, all good once again.
To come back to what we spoke about at the very beginning of this interview, isn't it extremely expensive to host a virtual conference? Between the costs for the virtual platform, the live streaming production company, the live chat software for the Q and A's, the live chat moderators, etc., etc. this must be a huge cost position. How will Walter and you manage to not make a major loss on the virtual part of your hybrid conference?
We will not. It is a calculated loss in order to keep the brand in the market, extend our international reach outside of Europe, and in order to give back to the global affiliate community.
Sometimes you have to take a calculated loss in order to make money in the future.
Well, times are unpredictable, what if someone buys a sponsorship, but then is not allowed to travel to Spain in the end? Or even worse, what if you have to cancel the entire conference last minute due to a new wave of Covid-19? Will the sponsors then lose their entire investments?
No. You will never lose any money with Walter and me! Your funds are 100% protected by our amazing Covid-19 cancellation policy.
What else can our readers do to support Walter and you?
Talk about us. Speak about us. Mention us. Recommend us to all your business friends. That is how we have managed to grow the conference over the past 12 years from 250 attendees to now over 2.000 attendees per conference. Positive word-of-mouth. That is it. Nothing more important to us than that. If you like us, talk about us. Mention us on your website, in your emails, on your social media channels, in your newsletters. Say “Meet me at the upcoming TES Affiliate Conference” in the signature of your emails, in a social media threat, in one of your newsletters, in the “upcoming events” section of your website, etc., etc. This is what really, really helps Walter and me the most in order to stay in business, and in order to grow the conference (and it is even “for free”). Which is in the interest of everyone in the global affiliate industry. More new people – more new business. The more, the merrier. It is as simple as that.
If you like small, family-style, mom-and-pop run conferences, and want to keep them in business – support them by spreading the word. That is easy and does not cost you anything. Thank you very much!
Andreas, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us. We do appreciate it.