Q&A on the new edition and the evolution of ReFuelForum Europe
OpenRoom Event Founder and Managing Director, Fiona Horan, talks about what lies ahead for the third edition of the event, transitioning from PetroForum to ReFuel and expanding its format to new regions.
ReFuelForum Europe 2022 is less than two months away, the exclusive two-day networking event will be celebrated on June 13-14 to connect energy companies and independent fuel distributors across Europe with innovative suppliers and start-ups. next generation ups. Fiona Horan, Founder and Managing Director of OpenRoom Event, discusses the focus of this year’s edition, changes in OpenRoom events over the past 20 years, and industry developments.
OpenRoom has developed many events for the fuel dispensing industry. The European edition is your newest with only two editions. What is the objective of the June edition?
It’s all about innovation, whether it’s payments, digitization or mobility. And our agenda reflects that. For example, we have three leading manufacturers discussing how they have adapted their product offering to embrace alternative fuels and we have a session on Next Generation Technologies which are short 5 minute presentations around some of the new solutions on the market.
How does Refuel Europe complement other continental events such as UNITI expo?
Our events are so different from major trade shows that they can only be complementary! Instead of manned booths, the ReFuel forums center around a 15-minute meeting program between fuel retailer and seller, much like professional speed dating. We believe in a myriad of avenues to market and believe there is a place for continental events with several thousand visitors, and a place for our organized gatherings with less than 200 delegates.
What have been the main changes in the ReFuel (formerly PetroForum) event over the past 20 years?
The industry is at a crossroads and the ReFuelForums reflect the changes taking place. Alternative fuels, electric vehicles, urbanization, shared mobility, AI, IoT, robotics, digital technology – all of these factors are reshaping the fuel retail landscape. Alongside our established suppliers, we welcome a whole new range of suppliers and manufacturers to the event.
What does the new name – ReFuel – mean?
The old name of the event was PetroForum – outdated and offline! The new name encompasses forecourt, cloud and convenience. But with so many changes in play, we wonder if we should have used the word “energy”!
You move on to much more discursive content with panels rather than presentations. What does it bring?
Much more delegate engagement. The last two events featured fascinating discussions chaired by Shell Global’s Oscar Smith Diamante and Hisham Khan – and with delegates now able to submit questions in real time via our event app, there’s no shortage of debate.
Europe joined the APAC, MENA, UK and Africa portfolio. What about North America and LATAM?
The US highway market size is expected to reach $126 billion by 2024 – and given the favorable environment, fuel retailing remains an attractive business with a large number of adjacent and emerging value pools. OpenRoom’s biggest dental and veterinary events are in North America – and we see a major opportunity to expand our fuel retail format in the region. LATAM is still a few years away – and in the meantime, we’re busy recruiting Spanish and Portuguese speakers to the team!