Established in 1986, cievents is an award winning, full-service event management agency. The global team works with a diverse range of clients across industries to meet and exceed the goals of their clients.
The events team has grown their expertise within the event technology function at cievents over the last several years. “Our pre-Cvent days were very manual,” explains Ali Roberts, Technology Leader. The organization did not previously have a team dedicated to building their technology solutions, a role Ali has grown into while managing their Cvent partnership. “The goal with event technology is to personalize the attendee journey as much as possible, from the registration process through the event,” she notes.
Managing Manual Processes and Pressures
Previous manual efforts often resulted in delays and inaccurate data sets that directly impacted client satisfaction. Sourcing for major events like the Growth Incentive required days of manual searching and sending emails across regions for local staff insights. There was no visibility into costs year-over-year or between regions.
In 2015, cievents managed their client’s Worldwide Conference. Held every three years for over 3,000 attendees, they found complex registration processes to be unmanageable. “Our registration site was pretty much nonexistent,” explains Hayley McMeeken, Director of Business Improvements. Manual data entry into Excel resulted in frequent errors with no way to track updates across teams. Registration required cross-checks, phone calls, and emails to every single attendee. The results showed significant areas for improvement. “You all kind of feel it personally when an event doesn’t go so well, so it took a little while for us to regroup,” says Hayley. There was a heavy financial impact as a result, lapses in duty of care, and undue pressure on an already overtaxed team.
New Technology for a New Registration Experience
Adopting Cvent’s Event Marketing and Management platform has allowed cievents to radically scale their processes. Features like the Meeting Request Form are now crucial to business success. The form allows coordination amongst different teams, improving workflows. The data also syncs directly with the RFP and registration system, minimizing manual headaches and increasing client satisfaction.
For the 2018 conference, the team partnered with their Cvent account representatives to create a concrete plan for registration. The new registration site combined two previously separate experiences, significantly reducing cross-checks and data errors. A sophisticated network of parked reports, planner alerts, and event emails notified the relevant registration teams of any changes in real-time. “This meant that 99% of our cross-checks were done by the system, so we saved around about 500 hours of manpower during the registration,” explains Hayley. “It meant when we came to the confirmation letters, it was a single click of a button and they were all sent, rather than our manual 3,000 people send out from Outlook.” Building the site saved over 55 hours, or $6,875 per event. Another 180 hours were saved on attendee management processes.
For the registration site across other events, the team relies on custom data tags to create consistency and ease of understanding when pulling reports. Planner alerts help manage registration for hundreds of sessions, regardless of registration pathway or language requirement.
To improve the sourcing timeline, the team now sources venues through the Cvent Supplier Network. RFP’s are easily submitted to viable venues, giving the team visibility into all submitted RFP’s and room rates across the organization. Improved negotiations with hotels guarantee the best rates, decreasing room rates by 20% per room, per night as a result. With automated technology, the team has reduced sourcing timelines by an impressive 43% overall.
Integrating Technology for Event Management Efficiencies
The flexibility of the platform in integrating with other tools is invaluable to the cievents team. “In terms of integrations with Cvent, it's always something that we’re looking for…anything that makes our job easier,” notes Hayley. “We have the Concur integration. We have merchant account integration, and we also have miMeetings.” GDS automation helps ensure changes to flight bookings are automatically updated in Cvent. As a result, they eliminated 120 hours of manual work for the Worldwide Conference. Concur allowed the team to auto ticket select flights, saving an additional 50 hours in the booking process. A miMeetings integration also enabled the team to eliminate tedious processes of booking transfers to avoid the possibility of errors. The merchant account integration created a seamless process that allowed guests to securely process their payment and shored up cost leakage due to uncollected payments in 2015; they ensured 100% of payments were collected in 2018 as a result.
For the Growth Incentive event, the team simplified payment processing with a Stripe integration. This ensured PCI compliance and allowed the team to actively reconcile budgets during the planning process. A GDS integration ensured ease of travel management with 100% accuracy of data within the system. Data flowed seamlessly between updated flight information to the Event Management system, giving the planners up-to-the-minute insights into changes via planner alerts.
A Modern Mobile Solution
Using Cvent’s CrowdCompass mobile app for client events helps the team better engage attendees onsite and prove return on investment. “We’ve been utilizing CrowdCompass now probably for about five years. We do at least twenty apps a year now,” explains Hayley. To maximize the functional use of the app, the cievents team uses polling, SocialWall, activity feeds, gamification, push notifications, and much more. “I don’t think there’s anything we don’t leverage. We use the app as much as we can use the app!” Hayley insists.
To ensure closed-loop feedback from attendees, the team moved from post-event manual surveys to feedback surveys through CrowdCompass. This not only helps capture relevant feedback from attendees onsite, but allows the team to segment survey questions by attendee experience. For a recent event, the team measured 38,000 points of engagements within the app and saw a 96% adoption rate. The high adoption rate allowed the client to move towards a paperless event, supporting their sustainability initiative while creating valuable savings for the organization.
Creating a Culture of Transparency
To ensure transparency for client satisfaction, the cievents team leverages the portals feature within Cvent. Clients can actively monitor sourcing, registration, travel, and payment processes in real-time. “Pre-planning an event used to be a stressful time, but with the proper use of Cvent tools we are able to seamlessly kick off an event with the best foot forward, benefiting all those involved,” says Ali. The results speak for themselves, as the team has increased hotel options by 95% due to timely sourcing, and increased client satisfaction by 50%. A 20% improvement in negotiated hotel rates now creates key savings for their clients, reducing lost revenue by 80% for reallocated meeting space upon cancellation.
Moving from Excel to parked reports to track bookings, registration, payment processing, and more helped streamline the event management process while offering visibility into daily workflow. The team could easily gate data or reports as needed, curating data visibility based on stakeholder identity or business function. Data tags alerted the team to potential registration errors on the part of attendees, and they could easily amend issues within the registration pathway in the backend.
Ensuring Client Success with Cvent Technology
The automation of the Worldwide Conference through event technology vastly improved client satisfaction with cievents. Thanks to the success of their 2018 event, they pre-secured the contract for the 2021 event and increased scope of work for 2021 by 50%. “Seeing how far we’d come from 2015 to 2018, we knew that we had the right team, we had the right systems, and the right integrations with Cvent,” says Hayley. They delivered an additional cost savings of 20% from 2015 to the client, and reduced the amount of lost revenue due to data errors by 454%. They saved on average $244 per person per flight, creating a total cost savings of $732,000 on travel costs.
As they demonstrated expertise in managing the 2018 event with Cvent, cievents was granted an additional scope of work that increased revenue by 31%. They increased productivity by 2,600%, saving over 500 hours of staff time. This equates to $60,960 in staff productivity costs. “We have the best data that we've ever had and the client has the best data that they’ve ever had. Our client already awarded us 2021 event, which was unheard of. And the exciting thing is with all of our data that we've got from 2018, we can really put in some more cost savings because we know exactly how to budget and how to contract for the 2021 event,” Hayley adds.
The impressive results have only further cemented the team’s investment in event technology as the future of the industry. The key to that investment, notes Ali, lies in maintaining a strong relationship with their technology partners. “The biggest thing we look for in our vendors is really having a partnership, as opposed to looking at them purely as a software provider,” she explains. “When it comes to Cvent, we don’t ever find that we have to go to them and drag them on the journey with us. They’re really the ones who are leading the way, so we’re lucky.”
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