Client's word : Sébastien DE HUTTEN, General Manager - Playtime Trade Show | Paris Venues
19 May 2020

Client's word : Sébastien DE HUTTEN, General Manager - Playtime Trade Show

During this period we keep in touch with our customers and give them a voice. Feelings, consequences on their business and vision for the future, they give us in a few questions their point of view on this unprecedented situation.


Hello Sebastien, thank you for taking a few minutes to answer us.
First of all, how did you experience this period of confinement?

I went through it in several phases. The very first one that plunged me into a state of near astonishment. It took me a whole week for my brain to really understand and assimilate the situation. The second week was one of reflection, the third one of preparation, and the following ones dedicated to the application of the strategies put in place. Never before in my life have I worked so hard, we had to make up for the absence of almost all of our employees on short-time working due to the cancellation of the trade shows. One small regret I have is that I feel on the fringe of all the social movements I vaguely hear about, because I have spent between 12 and 16 hours a day at my desk, 7 days a week, since the beginning of the confinement, looking for and working on solutions to help us get back on our feet after this crisis.

What do you miss the most today?  

The social link, the real one, not the substitute for the Skype aperitif which only generates more frustration! I want to be face to face with the people I'm talking to. What I miss the most today is Hell according to Sartre, that is to say the Other!

Did this situation teach you or make you realize things? 

The fragility of the structures that surround us, the strength of solidarity in the face of crises, the need to redefine precisely why we get up in the morning.

What impact has the crisis had on your own daily work?

I had been used to teleworking for a long time, so the transition was not complicated. I have been working two days a week from home for years because I live in the country, a little far from Paris. The major impact of the crisis on my own work has been to considerably increase the pace! I think many people now realise that teleworking is often linked to an increase in the number of hours worked. It's difficult, when you're at home, to stay away from your desk...

How did you reorganize yourself as a team?

Most of the employees have been put on 100% short-time working because their activity is entirely linked to trade fairs. However, some of them are "on call" for one or two days a week and priority is given to developing the digital activity with a Project Manager who works several days a week and independent developers working at full capacity!

What mission did you put on the front burner in order to respond to the current situation?

We've been working on a white label digital show for 5 years now and I'm currently being approached by many organisations who want to adapt the tool to their activity. The period we are going through will have the merit of making many of them understand that physical trade fairs must be coupled with a strong digital presence and the provision of truly high-performance tools for their exhibitors.

 What do you think will change afterwards and will never be the same again in your organization / team / field of activity?

For my team, few changes in relationships other than the conscious joy of finding each other rather than the feeling of something acquired! For my organisation, we are starting from scratch and have to rethink the way we work together. I believe that the major change in the short term will be the increased awareness that each person must put all his or her strength into the success of a collective project. Digital is suddenly taking a major place and will be there in the long term, but the most important change, and in my opinion a positive one, is in the need to honestly ask ourselves why we meet, both in the office and at a trade fair.

 What will you do as soon as the deconfinement is over?

Go back to the office, workaholic's word! 


The most important change, and in my opinion a positive one, is the need to honestly ask ourselves why we meet, both in the office and in a living room.

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