USC - Cultural Relations & University Events
increase in registration
increase in attendance
increase in mobile app adoption
Trojan Family Weekend: A Family Affair
At the University of Southern California (USC), Trojan Family Weekend is a family-filled affair. Over 4,000 people attend 200 different events across four days. The Office of Cultural Relations and University Events is responsible for presidential-level events, where they help drive recruitment and campus engagement. Event Coordinator Emma Suffridge explains, “We like to be inclusive of whatever family means to you.” Event Coordinator Kim Sapone adds, “Trojan Family Weekend is a big deal at USC. We try to offer programming that works for everybody, and make it an event anybody can attend.”
To meet the goal of growing registration and attendance by double digits each year, the team of two knew they needed a technology partner for registration and onsite success. “One of our ROI points is if we increase attendance, we do get more revenue and are able to provide a better event experience,” notes Kim. “We want representation from every department and every school, which is a big return on investment because we’ll have people who are happier and will then return,” she adds.
Fostering Campus Engagement
The team found it difficult to engage their campus stakeholders in such a mission-critical event, much less accurately track speaker submissions via Excel. Manual processes created data gaps and a difficult workload for the small team. “With over 200 events in four days, not only do we have to manage within our own department, but also within all of the other departments at USC,” notes Emma. The registration site was managed by a different team, meaning Emma and Kim couldn’t make updates on their own.
With registration data that failed to integrate with the mobile app, few sponsorship opportunities, and a manual check-in and badge printing process, attendee and sponsor satisfaction was low. They also needed to benchmark the program to prove ROI for stakeholders. “If you don’t have that data, you’re kind of shooting in the dark,” Kim notes.
Increasing Campus Buy-In with a Better Event Experience
In 2017, the team adopted Cvent’s Abstract Management tool to solicit and house more than 200 submissions from their campus partners in a single location. “It’s been a lot easier for them to become more engaged using Abstract Management,” explains Emma. Importantly, “these submissions can transfer over to our events website, which also integrates with CrowdCompass. It’s more streamlined and a lot easier to work with,” she adds enthusiastically.
By engaging their campus partners more directly, the team increased session offerings by 50%, and 77% of schools increased attendance by double or triple digits. “It’s always our goal to increase attendance to all of our different events during Trojan Family Weekend. The best part about Cvent is that it’s helped us keep track of that increase,” explains Emma.
To simplify the registration process, Cvent’s Event Management solution offered an on-brand registration website with a sleek design for a better user experience. “One of our ROI points is if we increase attendance, we do get more revenue and are able to provide a better event experience,” explains Kim. Automated emails efficiently and effectively targeted different attendee groups. “We love Cvent’s email marketing abilities, especially with the data reporting,” says Kim. “Because of the way that Cvent is set up, we have the ability to target different people and email them with a specific message. We think through all the different pain points that would stop people from attending, and attack those directly through our email marketing.” The team saw an impressive 19% increase in registrations as a result, with 69% of attendees learning about the event via email.