Last week we joined our partner Cvent for an event that was all about the unexpected. Over the past few years we’ve had our fair share of adapting to the unexpected, from virtual awards ceremonies during the pandemic to last minute event changes as train strikes were announced. So we were really interested to hear about other people’s experiences and find out how they’d dealt with their own disasters. Held at St. Ermin’s Hotel in the Crystal Ballroom – lit by suitably crystalline chandeliers – we heard from Felicia Asiedu and Tim Sutter from Cvent.

Felicia runs Cvent CONNECT Europe, a 1000 person conference. In 2020 the pandemic pushed it into a virtual space. In 2021 they had to take the decision to run it with reduced numbers and persuade the hotel to get on board with this, again due to Covid-19. 2022 was set to be their come back, the year nothing went wrong. When the Queen’s death caused rail strikes to be arranged to clash with one day of the three day conference, organisers had to get their heads together.

Their first challenge was how, and what, to communicate with their guests. What was appropriate to send? What impact would any comms they sent out have?

Then they utilised everything they had, from the technology available to them to their partnerships. Uber, for example, was already a partner and they were able to persuade them to offer vouchers for people travelling from further away who would be unable to get in due to the train strikes. Next, the team focused on telling their attendees and potential attendees about what they’d organised with partners, as well as virtual alternatives. The audience response was an overwhelmingly positive one. Attendees saw the effort organisers were putting in to get them to the conference, and matched it with their own enthusiasm.

Felicia concluded that it was the right to decision to keep the event date as it was, as moving the event would have created more dropout. Rather than moving future events, she said she would once again bring together a trifecta or technology, partnership and a little bit of faith!

Following Felicia’s presentation, Tim spoke on how Cvent’s systems and capabilities were used to support the above, and how users can make the most of their technology to respond to the unexpected. Even in this uncertain world, Tim reminded us that events still remain one of the best ways to find out about, and engage with, your audience.

In our tables we then discussed our own experiences with the unexpected, Cvent technology and the current events landscape, over a delicious spread of afternoon tea, scones and cake! Thanks for a thought-provoking event.

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