Wolters Kluwer

Becoming strategic business partners with innovative event technology.


growth in global events

12 - 18%

average savings 

$6.2 million

negotiated savings

Wolters Kluwer is a global provider of professional information, software solutions, and services. The GBS Global Event Management team at Wolters Kluwer manages a variety of internal and external events across the organization.  With over $44 annual spend in events, conferences, and tradeshows, the program was originally disjointed and siloed. There was little data to benchmark or support program growth, and no way to track meeting spend or budget. “We did not have line of sight or visibility into any of our events,” notes Director of Global Event Management Carrie Cliggett.

The fractured teams utilized twenty different budget templates and had limited communication. Divisions were siloed with different registration providers, survey tools, and onsite solutions. Piecemeal programs meant data was not integrated between systems. Event Operations Manager Krysten Leshin explains, “Cvent was originally used only as a registration tool. Users were self-taught, no one policed the process, and everything was largely manual.”

Carrie notes there was little understanding of the team's contribution to the business goals. “When I started this journey with Wolters Kluwer, it's very much that demand management where they came to us with an order and then we fulfilled that order,” notes Carrie. “All of our stakeholders really wanted us to operate at efficiency and expand this function so it wasn't just people doing whatever it is they wanted to do. There were a lot of rogue planners out there.” The team needed a single platform solution to help streamline processes and provide data that would prove the value of events in line with business goals.

Expanding Event Expertise with Technology 

In 2016, the team began incorporating new Cvent solutions into their tech stack. “We are using a lot of Cvent’s great features,” notes Krysten. “We started out with using Cvent for registration. That really helped us streamline our processes and have data to go back in time and look at what we did in years past.” Adopting the Cvent Supplier network to centralize sourcing created valuable increases in negotiated savings. In just three short years with Cvent, the team has increased negotiated savings from $1 million to over $6.2 million. 

To satisfy attendee expectations for self-service and automation, Cvent's Passkey has been key. Krysten notes, “We've been adding on all of the different pieces of software. We just recently implemented Passkey and we love it. It’s really making that portion of our event planners’ world more efficient while cutting out the back and forth between the hotels.” Carrie agrees, noting that the team leverages Passkey to support their global program growth. “Attendees want ease of access. They want to book their flights, they want to book their room, and they do it a lot from their handheld device,” she explains. “They click ‘register’ and boom, they book their housing right then and there. They’re not waiting on someone to get back to them, and when they get on site it’s all in the app. So, that's going to change the entire landscape of attending management as well.” 

Capturing Data to Prove the Integral Value of Events

Cvent’s Strategic Meetings Management tool not only helps gauge resource requirements, but provides visibility into the total number of events while capturing accurate spend.  Having data flow seamlessly from one system to the next has been a key efficiency for the GEM team. “We start with the meeting request form, and from that everything flows through,” explains Krysten. “It goes right to our event as attendees are registering. We can easily flip on CrowdCompass and then all of our attendee information that's living within the event goes right to CrowdCompass, straight out through to the reports.” 

Elevating the onsite experience for attendees has been a key way the GEM team ensures buy-in from attendees and internal stakeholders. “We use Cvent OnArrival so that we can capture our attendees. It’s just overall really streamlined that check-in process for us on the back end, and also for our attendees. We really use Cvent end-to-end when planning our events,” adds Krysten. “We definitely see the benefit of everything living in the same place and flowing through, all starting with the meeting request form right through to the end.”

CrowdCompass allows the GEM team to engage attendees through real-time push notifications and survey feedback. It also allows the small team to strategically support business goals. “As a green, sustainable company, the app has completely revolutionized how we support our ‘Green is Green’ campaign. We do not print anything. It's the app or nothing,” insists Carrie. Capturing data allows the team to benchmark their growth and demonstrate achievable KPIs for senior leadership. “We do a session scanning on site. We offer LeadCapture and we do RFID screening. So, we really used a lot of the platforms that Cvent has to offer," Carrie adds.

Leveraging Event Technology for Global Visibility 

By fully leveraging the power of event technology, the team has been able to vastly streamline their internal resource requirements and processes. Saving hundreds of hours through automated processes means the team has more time to scale their program for global success. “Gone are the days of sending out invites through Outlook and hoping people accept or decline. This is the way to capture the information and have it at your fingertips,” explains Krysten.  By leveraging the integrated reporting features within Cvent, the team is able to translate those key savings into measurable goals for senior leadership. “Now that everything's living within our Cvent instance, it allows us to run any types of reports that are needed. The custom reporting is a really great tool because everybody needs to pull different information at different times, so that’s what has made things more efficient too.” 

Becoming Strategic Business Partners

The team’s success is now more visible than ever for their stakeholders. They have grown the scope of their events by almost 300%. Carrie explains, “When I started in 2016, the team did fourteen events. Right now we're pacing at about fifty to sixty events for 2019.” While they have scaled for growth, the team has proven 12 – 18% average cost savings per event. “This is because we have the right people in the right jobs,” notes Krysten. “They’re negotiating those hotel contracts and those discounts, and they’re true event professionals. Our team has done a great job in saving the company money overall.”

Their efforts are not only being recognized, but have shifted how the team is perceived within the organization. The GEM team is now advocating for other departments and helping them to be more successful through the professional expertise. For example, a major event two years ago failed to leverage the team’s expertise. That year, the sales team sold zero subscriptions. The next year, they used Cvent to manage registration and onsite experiences. The sales team sold four subscriptions that year, worth $600,000 total. The year after, they sold $1.5 million in subscriptions. “They told us they would not have sold anything without our team’s involvement,” smiles Carrie.

Elevating Events with a Voice at the Corporate Table

As a result of their work, the paradigm has completely shifted around events at Wolters Kluwer. “Our stakeholders are really noticing,” notes Krysten. The team proudly acknowledges they are now viewed as direct contributors to the business. “Cvent right now is really the gateway to how our foundation is being built. I told my team to start thinking of themselves as strategic partners. When I said that word, ‘strategic partner,’ my team didn't understand what I meant by that. They are empowered now to have a voice at the table,” says Carrie. With other departments regularly seeking their technology expertise and advice on event strategy, they are fully able to measure return on investment for the business.

Carrie and Krysten feel they have found a seat at the table with a strategic line of sight into the business goals. Next year, the team will be shifting into a global event management team because of this success. Krysten explains, “We are seeing our stakeholders take notice that our team is helping them save money, give a great client experience, and make the process streamlined and easy for the attendees. They know when they get on site, it's going to be executed successfully.”