Lessons from the Aviation Events Industry

AviaDev’s Jon Howell Talks Events, Marketing and Much More


Take a peak behind the scenes of the aviation industry with Jon Howell of high-profile aviation events company AviaDev.

Jon, speaking during a ProfileTree interview, also explained how he came to develop a specialism in the unique field of African aviation conferences.


He began by reflecting on his path to creating AviaDev.

“AviaDev is an African aviation events company born in a bedroom in Manchester about four years ago.

“I graduated about 15 years ago from Newcastle University with a marketing and management degree. I spent time living abroad doing various tourism jobs.

“I came back to the UK in 2012 and fell into an events company, that happened to work in aviation, and caught the bug as my family was heavily involved in the aviation industry.

“From there, I’ve developed the concept.”

Jon outlined the major event AviaDev proudly offer each year within their sector and revealed how it is delivered.

“Once a year we bring the stakeholders in the industry together.

“This year’s event in Cape Town will be our fourth African event, the first two were in Rwanda and last year we were also in Cape Town.

“We provide a platform for the airports and the airlines and the tourism authorities to talk together about how to develop air services.

“There’s a very complicated piece of software we’ve developed we use to matchmake these people together.

“The format of the day is that we start in the morning with a conference, we’ll talk about the industry and what’s happening day to day and then in the afternoon we move into one-to-one meeting sessions.

“In the evening we have networking receptions and wine tasting and music and all that sort of stuff.

“The idea is that it’s all about building relationships supported by an ecosystem of content through the year as well.”

The AviaDev founder added that the event is deliberately kept to a specific size and level.

“We’re expecting probably about 250 delegates, so we keep it quite niche but high-level. So it’s CEOs of airlines, heads of civil aviation authorities and airports and then the ecosystem that surrounds that, so we have people like Embraer, ATR, Bombardier, Airbus, Boeing and those kind of companies.

“Then all of the infrastructure as well, so the guys who sell the engines on the aircraft and the people who sell the data products.”

LinkedIn and content marketing have played a major part in how Jon has built his company’s network.

“When I started the business four years ago I had very few resources.

“To run an event on a different continent you aren’t going to be able to just nip over there to talk to people, so I was looking for a solution that would allow me to engage. More than that, when I started to search for content around the African aviation market there wasn’t anything.

“So I saw an opportunity to fill that void. I was looking for it, so there must be other people looking for it.

“I also used to invest an hour, or an hour and a half, every day prospecting for people who would be interesting to have in my network and now my network is very valuable to sponsors.”

“The business works, but it takes a heck of a long time is probably the honest truth.”

To discover more insights from Jon, including examples of successful aviation sector marketing, explore our full Business Leaders interview.

AviaDev – www.aviationdevelop.com

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