Leveraging Cvent technology and powerful integrations to grow business success
top and bottom-line growth YoY
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Conference Catalysts is a conference and association management agency focused on providing full-service conference management, operations management, and digital solutions. “We’ve been in business for 16 years now,” notes Chris Dyer, Chief Executive Officer. Having partnered with Cvent for more than seven years, Conference Catalysts relies on several Cvent solutions to help power virtual, hybrid, and in-person events for their clients. “The core product that we have used with Cvent is the Event Management platform, specifically Registration,” explains Chris. They also utilize the Cvent Supplier Network and Onsite Solutions across various client events. In addition, the team uses an API integration between Cvent’s Registration solution and their internal virtual platform to ensure a successful onboarding experience for their conference attendees.
Innovating event tech solutions in the face of a crisis
Conference Catalysts has long sought to ensure the successful execution and growth of their clients’ events. Chris explains, “One of the expectations of our clients is to continually grow the attendee base of the conferences we are managing, and having a seamless registration process from start to finish ensures that we do not lose any potential attendees along the way.” During the pandemic, these goals remained consistent, though they needed to navigate several new challenges along the way. Conference Catalysts had more than 40 client conferences slated for 2020 and were projected to serve over 15,000 attendees. “Within the first couple of weeks, 25% of those canceled,” Chris says.
Facing uncertainty, the team refocused their priorities to ensure their clients felt confident in the quick pivot to virtual. At that time, Conference Catalysts was actually in the midst of developing a digital platform. They sped up development to complete the tool as quickly as possible so it was ready to deploy for their clients’ virtual events. “It ended up being one of the best things we ever did,” notes Chris.
Finding opportunities to increase efficiencies with Cvent solutions
With the virtual platform now supported by Cvent’s Registration solution, they were ready to begin pivoting their clients’ events to virtual. One specific example Chris offers is the International Ultrasonics Symposium. “We had already begun processing registrations for the in-person conference that was to be held in Xi’an, China and had to quickly change everything,” Chris says. With an expected onsite attendance of over 2,000 people, efficient change management was paramount. “We were trying to make sure we were one step ahead of any issues that would arise for our clients,” notes Shelby Lussier, Vice President of Conference Management Operations.
They first needed to adjust registration pricing and ensure all attendees received appropriate refunds. They initially began this process by manually adjusting each registration and providing the discount, requiring days of manual labor from their conference manager. “After working with our Cvent support team, we quickly identified solutions to assist us with this process,” notes Shelby. Their Cvent team demonstrated how they could also easily update the fee tables in Cvent to prevent any the need for future refunds. “The process to update and publish the fee table was quick and seamless,” Shelby says. “We were able to start marketing the new fees to our prospective attendees immediately.”
They also needed to manage a complex registration process by providing unique discount codes for various attendee groups, as well as accounting for multiple types of fee grants for students, keynote speakers, tutorial speakers, and other committee personnel. Previously, this manual process had taken up a tremendous amount of the team’s valuable time, so automation became key. Shelby explains, “We were able to navigate these challenges easily by setting up various discount codes for the different groups and providing these to the relevant individuals. This took a matter of minutes to set up in Cvent and the entire registration process became seamless for these attendees.”
The importance of using integrations to automate workflows
Conference Catalysts then needed to create user accounts for registrants, relying again on what Shelby describes as a “painstaking manual process” that involved manual data entry and validation. This led to human error and potential mistakes that could mean users didn’t have accurate login access to the platform. Ultimately, these processes led the Conference Catalysts team to create a custom API integration that would sync user data with Cvent’s Registration solution, allowing the team to manage registrant details more easily. It also meant the registrant would be able to access relevant details within the platform based on their registration type and admission items. “This integration has saved countless hours and headaches as it has made the entire process extremely smooth for our attendees and stakeholders,” adds Shelby.
In fact, Chris notes that relying on Cvent technology has helped Conference Catalysts navigate their clients’ needs not just during the pandemic, but over several years. He says, “Event technology has always, really since we started partnering with Cvent several years ago, been a consistent part of our backbone. It ensures reliability with that process and quality reporting that’s critical to our clients.”
As an example, he cites IEEE, the largest professional association in the world. With more than 400,000 members in their membership database, IEEE requires Conference Catalysts to use the API integration to manage member rates for registration. “We have an API with that membership database and we are thus able to authenticate in an automated fashion,” Chris notes.
Shelby agrees, noting how valuable those integrations are in saving the Conference Catalysts team untold hours of manual labor. “I think we’ve seen how valuable these APIs are with our virtual platform for taking out the manual side of things,” she explains. “Knowing we can have an attendee who registers in Cvent and they’re automatically synced to our platform, it’s the best-case scenario for our attendees.”