The Electronic Retailing Association

Short Interview with Sandra Weiser, ERA Europe's Conference Director

Sandra Weiser, ERA Europe's Conference Director (right) and her team Lena Steinbüchel (left) and Franziska Siebald (middle).

Hi Sandra, this was the fourth conference you have organised as ERA Europe's Conference Director. How did the conference go this year from your perspective?

I personally think that the conference itself ran very smoothly.  The closing down of ERA U.S. was a big shock and it meant that we had a hard time just before the Seville conference.  It was a challenge as we were inundated with calls and e-mails because the attendees were worried that Seville wouldn’t take place.  However, I think we managed to make the best out of the situation because we have received really good feedback which I am thankful for. If the attendees are happy, then I am too.

The importance of keeping an overview - the EMMA awards ceremony set up from above - only a few hours to go and its taking shape!

Does it get easier every year?

I always enjoy working with the people and after 4 years I’ve established some good relationships and contacts. I find it easier when you know exactly who to contact directly for certain things. As we are in a different location each year, we try to improve the service and implement some new ideas (i.e the speed business dating event).  It’s important to have a challenge and new concepts to ensure it doesn’t get boring.

Sandra taking part in the final check session with the hosts of the EMMA awards, Dr. Julian Oberndörfer and Astrid van der Staaij.

Did Seville work well as a conference location?

Seville is a beautiful city with a great atmosphere but I think the flight connections were a little challenging for some companies. The hotel set-up was great but unfortunately there were not a lot of taxis available regularly which meant a long waiting time even if you had pre-booked a service. We just had to adapt to the Spanish laid-back way of thinking 😊 Overall I think Seville didn’t disappoint.

What was your personal highlight?

That’s an easy question! Definitely the EMMA Awards. The garden, the set-up, the atmosphere – everything was just lovely!  We have some great ideas for next year already so watch this space!

What can we look forward to in Budapest?

Where do I start?!  Budapest has a lot to offer - fairy-tale architecture, lovely pubs and a great mixture of history, charm and hipster vibes. The hotel service is excellent and the meeting facilities are perfect.  It is also walking distance from restaurants and bars which is a great benefit.