Caleb Parker is the CEO of the successful Bold and is fondly known as a key visionary in the industry. A self-described American entrepreneur in London, he is proactive and has a passion for innovation and technology.
Off Limits Events sat down with Caleb and here's what he had to share:
1. Tell us about your background in the events industry?
I started in hospitality and have sort of straddled that industry and commercial real estate over my career. But I've always been entrepreneurial. I had a small media business back in the US and used to host monthly events for the local hospitality industry. But I moved to the UK in 2013 as CEO of MeetingRooms.com. That's when I jumped in deep into the events industry so to speak. Now I sit on the board of a meetings and events agency, host a TV show (Future in 15 Show) about MICE innovation where our episodes are actual events with a live audience, and of course I'm the CEO of Bold, which is just starting our new #ThinkBold event series. We'll put on 100 events annually. Phew!
2. Why did you decide to setup your company Bold?
As commercial office footprints are shrinking, the demand for small meetings is growing significantly. I spent several years in and out of meeting rooms around the world and most are tiny white sterile boxes and a hassle to book, especially for an impromptu meeting. The Bold brand changes that with inspiring design-led spaces that are easily accessible for as little as an hour, just using your mobile phone.
3. As Technology and Innovation Chair at the HBAA what are you hoping to achieve through this role?
I got involved with the HBAA four years ago and have developed relationships with some really awesome people. The tech and innovation committee has several tasks each year that all fall under three main objectives: 1) to ensure the membership is up to date with the latest industry innovation, 2) to guide the association's outward voice to the greater industry on tech related topics, and 3) to help the association adopt relevant technology to improve operational efficiency.
4. Given all your experience in the field, how has the industry evolved?
Gosh that's a big one. I'll focus on one area: disruption. The MICE sector and the greater hospitality industry has had a long run at the status quo. But we're seeing a lot of disruption happening, from alternative accommodations to online bookings for small meetings to creative and funky interior design. The good news is we're getting past the phase of ignoring disruption and seeing some forward-thinking companies getting ahead of it to compete. That's exciting!
5. What trends do you see emerging in the corporate hospitality sector?
Another area of change, but this one driven by politics and social-economic shifts, in my opinion. The days of unchecked lavish hospitality is waning, and I believe we'll see education and content being weaved into corporate hospitality to justify the expense.
6. What is your favourite team building event?
I quite like Karaoke, but that probably doesn't count? I think my favourite team building experience was on a pirate ship in Malta. There were 2 teams and we faced off against each other with water canons. It was a blast (pun intended) working with my teammates to try to aim that heavy water canon and keep the water shooting.
7. What is your favourite place in the world to visit and why?
I'm asked that all the time and it's hard to choose one. I have a top 5. Capetown was fun! But anywhere there's high views, water, good food and wine scores high. I don't ask for much :)
8. What is your favourite thing about Martin Stephens?
Ha! I have to admit I'm a fan of his fashion. He is Mr. Dapper.