Fostering AAHRPP’s hybrid event success with the Cvent Attendee Hub

The Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, Inc. (AAHRPP) is an independent, non-profit accrediting body. “AAHRPP uses a voluntary, peer-driven, educational model to ensure that human research protection programs meet rigorous standards for quality and protection.” explains Lori Kravchick, Director of Administration.

For their Annual Conference, AAHRPP brings together both accredited and non-accredited participants to share best practices in human research protections. They offer educational content, networking, and information regarding accreditation. The multi-day conference typically consists of keynotes, breakout sessions, networking opportunities, an onsite expo, and an awards program. While many attendees were eager to return to in-person, AAHRPP knew their 2022 event would also need to account for those who couldn’t join onsite. As a result, they decided to move forward with a three-day hybrid event hosted both virtually and in-person in Denver, Colorado.

Powering AAHRPP’s hybrid Annual Conference with the Cvent Attendee Hub

The hybrid event included a pre-conference day that was focused on networking and the exchange of ideas. The second day consisted of keynotes, an awards program, poster presentations and a networking reception. The final day of the conference included 25 breakout sessions across five different tracks. This unique three-day structure deviated from their previous in-person programming in order to accommodate both viewing experiences. “We’ve typically interspersed our sessions throughout the conference,” explains Lori. “This time, we livestreamed our keynotes for the online attendees, pre-recorded all pre-conference and breakout sessions, and then decided to livestream the largest attended breakouts to the virtual audience.”

This undertaking meant they were “essentially planning two conferences,” Lori notes. With nearly 500 registrants, they needed a cohesive platform that would provide a consistent user experience. They also needed to manage 33 livestream and pre-recorded sessions within the platform. Using the integrated Cvent Attendee Hub, Registration tool, Mobile Event App, and OnArrival ensured a seamless user experience for 270 virtual attendees and nearly 230 in-person attendees, all while allowing their team to manage high-quality session content.

Within the Attendee Hub desktop experience, virtual attendees could easily build their agenda and access all relevant sessions with a single click. This allowed the attendees to feel more connected with one another throughout the conference. Virtual attendees were even able to engage with in-person attendees during livestream sessions through chat and Q&A, creating a valuable sense of community. All attendees also gained access to session content for a year through the on-demand video catalog within the Attendee Hub.

Onsite, attendees were able to use the Cvent Mobile Event App. This native app is the mobile counterpart to Attendee Hub, creating a consistent user experience for all attendees. Within the app, onsite attendees could access the same engagement features like Q&A and chat as well as additional resources like session documents, venue information, and surveys. Within both the app and the Attendee Hub desktop experience, event managers could customize the home screen with custom cards and add curated pages for items like health and safety requirements. They were also able to use push notifications to communicate with attendees in real time, while attendees were able to connect with one another through one-on-one messaging right within the app.

Driving value for exhibitors with event technology

One unique requirement of the conference was the inclusion of poster presentations. For the virtual exhibitors, they were able to utilize the exhibitor feature within Attendee Hub to provide information within their virtual booths. In addition, poster authors were able to upload their posters and information in the online format “The posters were great, and a few of them even produced videos as a nice way to enhance the attendee experience,” notes Lori. They could also connect with attendees through collaborative video conferencing or utilize chat as needed. In addition, sponsored sessions helped drive further engagement with attendees. Seven virtual exhibitors and 17 posters were featured on the Attendee Hub in total, with seven exhibitor booths and all 17 posters onsite as well. The hybrid format helped exhibitors and poster authors maximize their investment and reach as many attendees as possible. “It was really nice for them because the virtual information will stay right on the Attendee Hub for the full year as well,” Lori adds.

To simplify the exhibitor management process, AAHRPP used Cvent’s Exhibitor Resource Center. Here, exhibitors could self-manage tasks like uploading files and updating contact information. It also ensured the AAHRPP team didn’t waste valuable time on manual processes. “Rather than having to send multiple emails back and forth, it was so helpful to utilize the exhibitor portal,” notes Lori. All told, AAHRPP tracked hundreds of poster and virtual booth visits, providing quantifiable metrics of success to their exhibitors and poster authors through on-demand reports in Cvent.

Increasing event management efficiencies with Cvent services

With only two AAHRPP staff managing the planning process, Lori relied on the support of the Attendee Hub 360 and Event Builder services teams from Cvent. Together, these teams made sure AAHRPP was supported throughout the entirety of the event. “I highly recommend the Attendee Hub 360 Project Manager, as he was a fabulous addition to our team,” Lori says. The Attendee Hub 360 team provided reporting guidance, webcast support, speaker training, and other custom services.  Lori adds, “They really took the time to understand where we needed to be and what we needed to do to execute a successful event.”

In addition, all speakers received dedicated training and support from the Attendee Hub 360 team to ensure their sessions were as polished as possible. Speakers could also easily self-manage required tasks using Cvent’s integrated Speaker Resource Center. Here, they could upload presentations, enter their bios, edit their contact information, and more. Using the Speaker Resource Center also meant AAHRPPP event managers could track progress and send automated follow-up emails as needed.

The addition of a virtual experience allowed for greater flexibility from an event architecture standpoint. For example, one particular board member who was slated to speak onsite unfortunately contracted COVID just before the event. Within a matter of hours, the Cvent team was able to flip the session to virtual in Attendee Hub and broadcast it as a livestream session. They were able to create a solution in just a matter of hours that ensured the speaker could still deliver quality content for attendees. In fact, the overall feedback across the virtual experience was overwhelmingly positive. “We received great reviews from our virtual audience and they were happy about viewing the sessions through the Attendee Hub,” notes Lori.

Expanding event technology to scale for the future at AAHRPP

Using this feedback meant Lori could evaluate event performance as they looked to plan the following year’s conference. Session and event-level surveys gave the AAHRPP team valuable insights into attendee preferences. They were able to deep-dive into session performance to evaluate trends as well as determine which content and speakers resonated most with their audience. In conjunction with the rich engagement data available through the Attendee Hub, her team is now able to better plan for future iterations of the conference. Lori explains, “We use that data - feedback, interest, exhibitor reports, etc. - to help inform our strategy for next year.”

Given the success of the conference and the use of these integrated Cvent solutions, Lori has identified new opportunities to utilize event technology across their portfolio. “We do three webinars per year as a series, which have open registrations,” Lori explains. AAHRPP is now utilizing the Attendee Hub to power this webinar series. This has given the team the ability to produce high-quality webinars with integrated engagement tools like polling, chat, and discussion groups to capture audience interest.

With the successful use cases of their annual conference and ongoing webinar series firmly supported by Cvent solutions and services, AAHRPP is able to continue growing their program’s success. With this in mind, they are actively planning their next conference and looking forward to expanding  their use of event technology in the near future.

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