The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers Australia
Discover how ICB Australia elevated their event engagement with the help of Cvent
Prior Bad Experience
As part of their events programme, the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers Australia (ICB Australia) runs three major events every year. First is a 9-location, 11-event face-to-face programme (that is coupled with a full-day virtual event) called the ‘Australian Bookkeepers Summit’, which runs in March every year. Next is the 2-day long ‘End of Financial Year’ event that is fully virtual and runs in June. And finally, they host the in-person ICB November Termination Workshops in November.
During COVID, the ICB team observed that the expectations of their members had increased, and they wanted an elevated engagement experience – something more than a regular video conference meeting. “They wanted to be able to engage with us in an online platform,” says Amanda Linton, CEO of ICB Australia. ICB realised they could only deliver what their members wanted through specialised event technology.
Recounts Amanda, “We ended up onboarding a platform in 2021, which turned out to be disastrous! It was not reliably backed up, the internet connection went down at the key recording studio, and there were no backups in place to be able to sort of deal with that. We had people who couldn't get on to the platform at all, and all this happened literally as we were going live! So, not only did it cost us monetarily, but reputation damage for that event was horrendous!” This is when ICB decided it was time to invest in a reputed event tech partner.
Checking All the Boxes
Following their bad experience, ICB felt that partnering with a market-leading solution like Cvent would be the best option as they believed it would take their events to a professional level. “Aside from addressing our technology needs, we were hoping that this partnership would actually help rebuild the reputation of our brand as well,” claims Amanda.
The team was impressed with the features offered by the Attendee Hub app. “We had some unique requirements for our app. We needed it to have a live Q&A within the app that our team could monitor and moderate from the back end, so the Attendee Hub app solution was a huge part of our decision to sign up with Cvent,” says Amanda.
Cvent’s ability to provide them with consistent event branding from within the platform was something ICB appreciated as they could not carry that out in the past. Another thing that put Cvent in ICB’s favour was that the platform could support both the in-person as well as virtual element of their events, which meant ICB did not need to rely on separate solutions for their Australian Bookkeepers Summit that had both components.
But above all, the thing that convinced ICB the most for Cvent’s integration capabilities. ICB had recently switched their CRM system to Salesforce, and they were looking for an event solutions partner that had the necessary integrations in place to enable them to work within the Salesforce environment.
“We found that Cvent ticked all the boxes we were looking for,” exclaims Amanda, adding, “We decided to give Cvent a go for two years, and then see whether the investment gets paid off. And it has, in spades!”
An Overwhelmingly Positive Experience
The ICB team tried out Event-in-a-Box, Cvent’s onsite check-in and badging solution, at one of the events of their multi-event Australian Bookkeeper’s Summit. They found the contactless check-in process to be a big win, as it made the overall attendee experience so much better.
For the virtual part of the summit, ICB found that they could share pre-recorded content via the Attendee Hub for their sessions, allowing them to plan their session content beforehand. Which worked well for ICB as they could then focus on managing the live components like Q&A. “We did a Q&A with each of the speakers at the end of the event. Our team was responding to the questions live and that kind of gave an overall live element to the entire event, even though the sessions were pre-recorded.”
ICB had initially planned to leverage the Cvent platform only for the summit. “But we had such an overwhelmingly positive experience with the delivery of the online event component that we made the decision to try Cvent with our End of Financial Year event later in June as well. Part of that was because of the amazing feedback we got from our members, who said they found the event platform very easy to engage with. So we couldn’t actually go back now as we had to maintain the professionalism that we got out of the first event.”
The ICB team also found notable engagement on Attendee Hub for their End of Financial Year event. “The chat function especially went nuts! Because the content itself had been pre-recorded, our team was able to sit and respond to the chat as the presentation was happening. So the engagement level in the chat went through the roof! It was the kind of engagement level that you can only dream to have in a face-to-face event,” exclaims Amanda, adding, “Those who engaged on the platform, raved about it on social media. We had people going, ‘Urgh! I wish I'd seen it!’ And because we'd run it on Attendee Hub, we had the ability to leave the event open for another ninety days, so it meant people could go back and watch it on demand as well.”
Amanda further adds, “With this, we were able to undo the damage of our previous event a bit. The positive feedback we got this time will absolutely help with future events.”
Resolving Tracking Troubles
ICB attached particular importance to the tracking of their members’ Continuous Professional Development (CPD) hours. So that was another feature that impressed them about the Cvent platform. “For anyone who engaged with the platform, we could see how much time they spent on which session. And clearly that changes from attendee to attendee. Attendee Hub gave us the ability to see the degree to which a member was engaged with the sessions to accurately ascertain who gets how many CPD hours at the end of the event.”
Amanda further recounts, “Before Cvent, we had to do all this manually. In the end, we used to just assign a fixed number of CPD hours to everyone who had registered. So in that sense, Cvent was an absolute gamechanger!”
Speaking of Cvent’s support services, Amanda says, “The support that we got from the Cvent team right from the start was great! They pretty much ran the entire event for us. From getting the event off the ground, running the release of the content on a day-to-day basis, to getting post-event reporting on engagement levels, to quickly resolving queries or issues that our attendees had – Cvent did it all. And they did it in such a way that our team could actually learn the various elements of how to use the technology.”
Since this was ICB’s first time using the Cvent platform, they were looking for guidance on what all the technology could do and what was the best way to leverage its features for their events. “It wasn't just a case of us saying, this is what we want to do. The Cvent team came back to us and said, ‘Have you thought about doing it a different way?’ And that was really important for us, because this was a whole new experience for our team, and we really needed them to guide us.”
During the entire event management process, ICB spent time with the Cvent team to learn the ropes of how the platform worked so now the team feels they will be more self-sufficient at their next major event. “As much as we would love to have professional event coordinators on deck every time we run an event, we just don't have the budget to do that. So that's why we decided to invest in Cvent’s Professional Services this year, so that we could do it a bit more autonomously going forward.”
ICB already has plans to use Cvent’s Lead Capture solution for their next Bookkeepers Summit, as well as run their member satisfaction survey from inside the Cvent platform for their future events. On that note, ICB hopes to explore more of the platform’s features for their future events. “We didn't really use polls and things like that. And that is just us learning the platform. We know there is so much capability in it. We had our team on a very steep learning curve, so we decided to come in this year at a relatively base level of what Cvent is capable of. And then next year we're going to bring in some of those critical pieces that we didn't get a chance to get to.”