Sustaining a Business Through Events
The Northwest Food Processors Association (NWFPA) is a trade association that acts as an advocate and major lobbying group for food and beverage manufacturers located in the Northwest United States, including Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Its annual events educate, unite, and promote key stakeholders in the industry, and focus on six dedicated streams of information: Energy, Sustainability, Environmental Issues, Government Affairs, Workforce Development, and Food Safety.
The association hosts five events throughout the year, along with approximately 35 educational and training seminars and two to three smaller topic-specific workshops. Their largest event being the Annual Food and Beverage Manufacturers Expo and Conference.
The NWFPA team uses events to create an "information-sharing highway," notes Sarah Emerson, Events Manager at NWFPA, in order to gain trust with policy makers and food and beverage providers.
Furthermore, the annual Expo is responsible for generating approximately 50% of the organization's operating budget through event-generated revenue year-over-year. Leading up to their switch to Cvent, it became increasingly more apparent to Sarah and executive leadership that the organization needed to transition to event technology in order to stay effective and remain confident that they would achieve their goals.
Moving Away from Manual Processes and Failed Tech
After years of becoming reliant on paper applications for onsite event registration and implementing a faulty mobile app with a preceding technology company, NWFPA members were weary that a fully cloud-based system could be an advantage as opposed to an interference to their event planning process.
While their goal has always been to improve their guests' and clients' experiences, when investing in event technology the first time around, Sarah explains, "The most painful moment was having to cancel the old mobile app two days before our biggest event, which made us look very unprofessional."
Despite the hesitations, Sarah was convinced that there was a better option, and that a fully integrated cloud-based solution was the answer. Just a couple of months after their app with a previous provider failed, NWFPA began its partnership with Cvent, each side committed to developing a long-term event success strategy and business relationship that would help NWFPA not only meet, but exceed their organizational growth goals. NWFPA jumped in head first with Cvent technology.
Technology that Drives Attendance
With a Cvent partnership in place and the annual Expo right around the corner, NWFPA quickly launched its event website within 30 days of signing the contract. The ease of the platform, newly formed targeted email campaigns, and branded social media strategies led to a 22% increase in registrations and a 37% increase in pre-registration at the annual Expo right off the bat.
With event planning logistics and reporting made infinitely easier, the team was about to focus on two of its main priorities: improving overall engagement and, while onsite, securing registrations for next year's Expo. This was a luxury they never had the time for in years past.
The CrowdCompass mobile event app, Sarah says, was a critical to improving overall engagement for attendees. "The app's intrinsic value is networking. Attendees are often overwhelmed by all the content and not able to visit everyone. With the CrowdCompass app they have immediate access to everything and everyone. And then last minute changes are also updated in real time. I never have to worry about the app". The value was also seen by sponsors and exhibitors with in-app banner advertising producing more than 26,000 impressions during the event.
David McGiverin, President of NWFPA, explains how Cvent's solutions gave NWFPA the foundation for a delightful event stating, "On multiple occasions I was stopped by both the exhibitors and the attendees to congratulate us on having such a great system to make it easy for them to be able to receive their badges and get through the door as quick as possible."
With the help of OnArrival360 check-in, NWFPA could easily handle everything from on-demand badge printing to session tracking and access control. David mentions, "From the time they register to the time they leave the event, it has to be the go-to event each year. So when they go back to their company, they budget for next year and encourage others to attend." And with the support of Cvent, NWPFA was able to deliver on its attendee satisfaction promise.
Using OnArrival360, registration staff processed last-minute payments, and "in just two hours, we were able to handle $5,700 of purchases without paperwork or credit card slips," adds Sarah. They had significantly fewer staff dedicated to the registration desk, which led to over $42,000 in labor cost savings from their annual expo alone."
If you're part of our industry, you have to be part of this event," David declares. "We see Cvent providing us with that seamless experience to enhance the value of our show to our membership base, hence increasing participation and success year after year."
The Platform Advantage
Sarah sums up the team's experience overall, "The instant nature of Cvent's connectivity across its main platform, CrowdCompass, and OnArrival has made our jobs so much easier, and it's made our events look much more professional. Our deadlines are met without mitigation, helping the team work seamlessly together."
Through its major investment in the complete Cvent Platform, from event management and marketing tools, mobile event apps, and a suite of onsite solutions, NWFPA has successfully revolutionized its major annual event and has since started transforming some of its smaller educational events from the inside out.
By using the entire platform, David explains, "we attracted and engaged key industry stakeholders and worked together to get closer to becoming the content, education, and policy authority for food and beverage." NWFPA remains confident that with tools that unite the event experience, event-generated revenue will continue to fuel their work in the industry, while the organization itself develops and grows.
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