Reflections Conversion Hotel 2023 conference

Last weekend I have been to the Conversion Hotel conference. This was already the tenth edition of this event and I attended six of those, with one as a speaker. In this post I will share my personal take aways and some general reflections. For all notes of the sessions visit this doc.

Take aways

Michael Aagaard: was the first speaker and he shared the importance of not letting people down. We don’t want to disappointment people. Michael shared some practical tips on how you can measure the gap between expectation and experience.

Tim Stewart: we are all selling something. For some people it is a product or service, for others it is a task or idea. You can learn to sell, without feeling sleezy. Sales without the ick. Tim shared the PCMC framework. a sales methodology for understanding customer problems, offering solutions, and closing deals. It has four main steps:

  • Probe – Ask open-ended questions to deeply understand the customer’s issues. Clarify and confirm you comprehend the problems before moving forward.
  • Confirm – Reframe the issues to identify common themes. Summarize the problems and causes to ensure you understand correctly before matching solutions.
  • Match – Offer features of your product/service that solve the customer’s specific problems. Explain the benefits of those features solving those problems.
  • Close – Recap the problems, your proposed solution, and benefits. Ask for agreement to proceed based on the good fit you have shown. Use repetition and summarization to make closing easier.

Just remember PCMC or Pucca Mukka.

André Morys: some companies still don’t get data driven decision making. Hippo’s make the decisions without looking much at data. Don’t fight the hippo, but become friends. Learn the strategic priorities and make the case for experimentation based on those.

Simone Neeling: Simone shared her personal story around her recovery of Long Covid. As optimiser she took a data driven approach: setting goals, tracking progress and evaluating.

Els Aerts: 7 deadly sins of user research

  1. Business needs should drive the research questions
  2. Choose research methods carefully based on what specific insights are needed (e.g. attitudes vs behaviors, qualitative vs quantitative). Avoid common mistakes like asking about future feelings, seeking data available elsewhere, or using the wrong research approach.
  3. Beware various biases that can skew results, like sampling biases, relying on a single data source, survey response biases, and leading questions or advice-seeking in user research.
  4. Don’t jump to conclusions from limited user testing data; look for patterns instead.
  5. Pay attention to smaller response patterns in surveys, not just isolated responses.
  6. Don’t over-rely on AI; do your own analysis.
  7. Check research sources carefully for credibility before believing reported results.


Conversion Hotel is much more than the insights you get from the talks by speakers. What makes the conference so special? Some reflections.

Ton Wesseling: the quality of a conference depends on the organiser. Ton is the driving force behind the conference. He personally finds and selects all the speakers. Of course, many more people make this happen, especially the whole crew of Online Dialogue. Still, without Ton, no Conversion Hotel.

Continous Optimisation: this is one the conferences where people buy a ticket without knowing the line-up. I think the main reason is because Ton optimises each and every detail around this conference. People know that and trust they will have a good experience.

Pacman Rule: one thing Ton continually reminds people of is this rule:

When standing as a group of people, always leave room for 1 person to join your group.

Eric Holscher

Generative Slidedecks: keynote speakers are already using the generative AI tools to the max. We all know that slide decks need to contain visuals and very few words. Speakers are using the tools to create the perfect image to convey a message. Goodbye Unsplash.

Customers Language: Tom van den Berg and myself organised an unconference session to roast More than ten people showed up and indeed roasted the site. To be honest we had already identified many of the points, but hearing it from people that are the target audience, is very powerful. We now have the extra motivation to fix the issues.

Dinner Discussions: at dinner you have to opportunity to discuss what has been presented on stage. Speakers are also attendees. This is yet another thing that makes this conference special.

No Alcohol: many years I would wake up at Cnversion Hotel with a slight hangover. The party tricked me into just drinking a bit too much. This year I’m doing a personal experiment: no alcohol for (at least) 75 days. With so many good non-alcoholic options available thesedays, that is no issue at all. And not drinking also did nothing with the amount of fun I had.

Sunrise Run. around 15 people showed up for the 7:30 morning run. Seeing the sun come up while you run along the North Sea is magical.

Human Connection: in my day job I work 100% remote. I thrive with these human get togethers. I need them, once in a while. It fuels me with energy that I can use for the next months.

Possible Pivot: after 10 editions it will be time for an evaluation. Ton leaves the option open to completely stop. I think and hope he will continue. If he continues expect at least some optimisation, maybe even a pivot.

Experimentation Island: personally I opt for an official rebranding to Experimentation Island. And maybe host the event on one of the other beautiful islands we have in Europe.

Let’s see.