Suwannee River Area Health Education Center
Supporting business growth for any and every event with Cvent solutions
total business growth YoY
increase in team size due to business growth
leads generated at one hybrid conference
Suwannee River Area Health Education Center (AHEC) is a public health nonprofit with a Meeting and Association Services department, partnering with organizations nationally to develop and execute professional events. With a team of five event managers, Suwannee River AHEC provides a range of services including event websites and registration, venue coordination, webinars, onsite management, speaker and exhibitor management, and session facilitation for in-person, virtual, and hybrid events.
Creating automated efficiencies with event technology
Laura Moore, Program Manager for Meeting & Association Services, and Amaris Spina, Professional Education Coordinator, have seen the scope of their program expand significantly over the last several years. “Our meetings program has evolved over the last 10 years with technology,” Laura explains. Their previous processes were largely manual, creating inefficiencies for the organization. She says, “We used to have a highly manual process to collect registrations and download the registration reports.” She adds that Suwannee River AHEC couldn’t easily track payments or send automated emails, resulting in potential human error. “It was very manual and very time consuming, with a lot of manual data entry, pulling Excel lists, and so on,” Laura notes.
Using an automated event management solution was key in helping the organization increase their efficiencies. By adopting the Cvent Event Marketing and Management platform, the Suwannee River AHEC team found they were able to ultimately grow the scope of their program. “We are saving a lot of time with Cvent compared to what it was seven or eight years ago,” notes Amaris. She adds that they previously sent manual invoices, which could take up to four weeks to process. This left the organization without payment for already completed events, meaning accounting was often behind and lacked efficiency. “One of the main points to our leadership when we adopted Cvent was it was so valuable because it was saving so much money in terms of time,” notes Laura. With Cvent, invoices could be automatically processed and payments were always up to date. “That was huge in terms of time savings and I think it became clear that these were the tools we needed to effectively do our job,” Laura insists.
Adopting virtual solutions to navigate through the pandemic
When the pandemic first began, Amaris and Laura foresaw significant challenges in navigating the quickly changing event landscape. “When COVID first hit, we were worried that if we couldn’t have events in person, then we may not even have a job,” Laura says. They realized they needed a platform to support the new shift to virtual events. With an attendee base that may not necessarily be quick to adapt to new technologies, the platform needed to be user-friendly and easy to navigate. They also wanted a platform that would automate processes for maximum efficiency and provide detailed metrics to evaluate event performance in light of overall impact to the business. “Beyond attendee engagement or a balanced and profitable event, our largest metric of success is our client’s satisfaction and return business,” Laura explains.
Suwannee River AHEC initially relied on a technology platform that ultimately did not have the ability to scale. This became apparent as virtual and hybrid events became increasingly complex. Laura explains, “We first used a tool that did not integrate with our registration site and was intended to be an onsite app. We were only allowed to have the site open for two weeks post-conference, though we wanted to give attendees 30 days to watch the recorded materials.” With these limitations, they knew they needed a more comprehensive and flexible technology solution.
They soon adopted the Cvent Attendee Hub platform to support their virtual events. “Adopting a virtual format and onboarding with Cvent to use the Attendee Hub actually helped us take on more clients that needed our services,” Laura shares. Amaris agrees, noting that learning the platform has also increased their skillsets as event professionals. “It’s been so exciting to see how Attendee Hub has evolved to allow us to take on even more functionality and more offerings for our clients,” adds Amaris.
Amaris explains that they use nearly every offered feature in the Attendee Hub to support their various client events. She says, “We use Discussions, Exhibitor Management, sponsorship features, live streaming, webinar format, Premium Surveys, and more.” They now also offer the Mobile Event App, the native app version of Attendee Hub, for their in-person and hybrid events.
Supporting virtual and in-person experiences with the Cvent Attendee Hub
Using Attendee Hub and the integrated Registration tool, they are able to send automated emails to help drive registrations. These tools ensure all virtual and in-person attendee data is automatically synced in the backend for data accuracy. The intuitive registration process reduces friction for attendees and has eliminated untold hours of manual labor for the Suwannee River team. Automated dataflows mean the team doesn’t waste time manually updating attendee information, modifying registrations, or syncing attendee lists.
Within the Attendee Hub, attendees can view sessions, use engagement tools, and access exhibitor information. They can also view custom cards and pages, complete surveys, manage their appointments, and participate in networking. For those using the mobile app, the personalized home screen allowed for easy access to session materials, speaker details, sponsors and exhibitor information, and much more. They can also access engagement features, view exhibitor information, chat via direct messaging, and provide feedback through embedded surveys.
Each session in Attendee Hub includes session details and speaker information, as well as associated documents and links. Push notifications ensure event organizers can communicate with their attendees in real time. Moreover, attendees can connect with one another through one-to-one messaging directly in the tool. Digital networking is even easier thanks to Discussions, where attendees can meet via collaborative video chat. They can also connect via instant networking and attendee recommendations.
Engagement features like moderated Q&A allowed attendees to ask questions in real time and even receive written responses while upvoting favorites. Polling gives speakers a pulse on attendee sentiment and gamification encourages specific attendee behaviors like completing surveys. Also, session chat ensures attendees feel engaged with one another. Embedded event and session-level surveys allow for deeper insight into performance, while quantifiable engagement metrics can be coalesced into an engagement score for more targeted follow-up.
In addition to sponsored sessions, sponsors and exhibitors can reach more attendees through virtual booths. These allow for embedded videos, document uploads, and collaborative video chat. Moreover, sponsored sessions give exhibitors more visibility in front of attendees, with sessions being featured on the homepage of the Attendee Hub. Exhibitors can also drive inbound leads through contact forms and embedded social media links designed to foster continued engagement. Cvent’s Exhibitor Resource center ensures sponsors and exhibitors can self-manage key tasks like uploading content, updating staff details, setting up email communications, and managing appointments. Exhibitors are also able to access detailed reports via the Exhibitor Portal to track leads and measure engagement.