Making 100.000 people happy is a quite a challenge! The secrets of successful event management, ISPD+ Expert Interview

Thomas Knes highly successful CEO & Event Manager

Making 100.000 people happy is a quite a challenge! The secrets of successful event management

ISPD+ Interview with the CEO of Frei-Stil, Thomas Knes

The ISPD+, Innovation in Diplomacy Network, recently welcomed Mr. Thomas Knes, the young, dynamic, sportive and highly sympathetic Founder and CEO of the Austrian “Frei-Stil” Event Agency at The ISPD+ Premisses in Brussels. We had the pleasure of discussing Mr. Knes’ career as an event manager, the developments and perspectives on modern event concepts, the link between corporate world and protocol and what we can expect from “Frei-Stil” in the near future. Frei-Stil operates in the entire region of Alpe-Adria and Europe.


ISPD+: Thomas, thank you very much for your time for sharing your expertise on modern event management with the ISPD+ community.

Thomas: Thank you very much for the chance to speak with The ISPD+ Innovation in Diplomacy Network and to share my experience with the ISPD+. Frei-Stil enterprises was founded by my personal intention to become entrepreneur in the event management sector.

The principal ideas to found an enterprise for events and event management had already risen up during my school time – when I attended the tourism and boarding school between 1996 – 2001. This school provided me with the fundamental skills for the event management business. So finally, Frei-Stil was founded 2010. The name already existed since 2004 and during my studies. I did a Master in Geography with main focus on Business Processes. I had already started with smaller projects in Event Marketing from 2004 onwards – during my studies – and I discovered my passion for this working field.

So finally, Frei-Stil was founded 2010. From then onwards, I have been working together with Mr. Christian Blatterer and we decided to focus on “Event Management” with our enterprise. This includes the event organisation itself of course, as well as the planning, the internal and external processes, the maintenance, the communication with clients, sponsors, governmental entities and human resources management.

We can do events from A-Z, from small 10-20 people, or big events for 20.000 people. We are proud to be able to implement projects either 100% based on our own ideas and concepts or to offer our service and knowhow to our clients like Red Bull, Segafredo Zanetti Austria, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles including brands like FIAT, Alfa Romeo, Jeep, Abarth and Fiat Professional. We are able to offer to these clients: concept and brand communication, planning and implementation of events, innovative concepts, promotion, sponsorships and Public Relations services.

From 2004 to 2016 we were part of the core organisation team, who organised the FIVB Beach Volleyball Tournament Grand Slam in Klagenfurt at Lake Wörthersee. A few years ago in Tokyo, the tournament won the price of being the world ́s best organised Beach Volleyball Tournament, attended by approximatively 100.000 participants. In 2017 we also supported the organizers of the event at the World Championship of Beach Volleyball in Vienna.

Another Frei-Stil own project we started in 2013 is “The White Nights” event happening every July, to which we expect around 30.000 international guests coming from Austria, Germany and Italy and of course many VIPs.

ISPD+: In your opinion what characteristics should one have to become successful in event organisation or to become an event manager?

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