Deutsche Aktuarvereinigung e.V.
Going hybrid with a large annual conference
Increase in attendance
Having partnered with Cvent since 2017, DAV is no stranger to the importance of a well thought out event programme to bring together their 6000+ members. Together with Cvent’s support, they deliver 8 annual events, ranging from 100-2000 participants.
Their most recent was the 2022 annual meeting, their flagship event, which drew over 1,800 attendees across 3 days of networking, technical sessions and sharing of expertise. Traditionally a purely in-person event, the pandemic forced them to go virtual, while 2022 saw DAV take the event hybrid for the first time. The last in-person conference in 2019 attracted over 1,200 participants.
DAV has a long record of trying out multiple event formats. Michael Steinmetz, CEO, explains that: “Even before the pandemic we were experimenting with different event formats. We had traditional on-site events, but also regular web sessions, and the pandemic will certainly lead to more hybrid events in the future.”
Alongside virtual formats, DAV were well ahead of the curve in introducing hybrid elements to their events before the pandemic struck. “We have been prepared to host a hybrid event for years,” shares Martin Oymanns, Project Manager. “We always hired an A/V company and recorded all presentations, but never livestreamed them or uploaded on-demand. A long time ago we burned them to DVDs and distributed them in our member magazine.”
Delivering a successful hybrid event at this scale, however, required an expert implementation of event technology.
Deploying an all-in-one technical solution
The annual conference was a great success. Of the more than 1800 attendees, 600 joined in person at the Maritime Hotel in Bonn, Germany. DAV made use of Cvent OnArrival 360 to handle attendee check-in and badge printing, along with Attendee Hub as the event’s virtual platform, to which all sessions were streamed live and made available on-demand. They also implemented the event app, Attendee Hub’s mobile counterpart, which in-person attendees could use to check the agenda, their own schedules, receive live updates, participate in Q&A and network with all other attendees.
Henning Wergen, Managing Director, saw value in using a single united platform to cover multiple event functions: “Cvent offers an all-in-one solution –we have on-site check-in, registration and the event app. As organisers it’s a huge benefit to us to have this functionality, and data, in one setting.”
An all-in-one approach also increased the efficiency of the pre-event preparation. “Having this functionality under one roof means we can streamline our preparation. We can have one meeting to prepare, for instance, check-in and our livestreaming, and don’t have to run from one company to the next for every aspect of the event,” Martin explains.
Using Attendee Hub to support both in-person and virtual audiences
Attendee Hub and the event app enable all attendees, whether in-person or virtual, to interact with one another and actively participate in sessions.
DAV found the use of a single platform for both the in-person app and streaming platform to be an efficient approach: “The Attendee Hub and mobile app are a great help. We don’t need to duplicate efforts across the app and the streaming platform,” explains Martin.
“It’s a very usable and flexible platform –a great tool to organise and present your live-streamed programme. It can support a basic Zoom webinar, which doesn’t need a trained technician to stream, alongside a large session filmed by a professional A/V team.”
As well as streaming live, Attendee Hub enables event organisers to offer recordings on-demand for 90 days.
Streamlining check-in with OnArrival 360
As the highest tier of Cvent’s OnArrival, OnArrival 360 covers not only event check-in and badge printing, but also a Cvent Project Manager to keep things running smoothly. “The Cvent check-in process is a great improvement,” Martin shares. “We used to pre-print our name tags, meaning you had to sift through and find a participant’s badge when you saw them approaching. Now we just let our on-site Cvent Project Manager setup the printers and the kiosk, where all participants can print badges themselves and update them if needed.”
OnArrival also enables organisers to check at any time who has checked in and total attendance numbers at a given moment. “Having a Cventer on-site is a great plus too,” Martin continues. “It’s helpful to both have an extra pair of hands when a lot of attendees are arriving, but also to provide quick, direct support if any issues come up.”
Moving ahead with hybrid formats
After the first hybrid annual meeting drew the largest number of participants in the event’s history, DAV have no plans to drop the format. “We are convinced there is no way back from hybrid, and that the combination of being on-site and online will be the perfect combination to reach our members and achieve our goals,” Michael notes.
That’s not to say there were no learnings to take forward for future events. “One thing we will do next time is divide the attendee list into on-site and online participants,” explains Martin. “While everyone can interact on Attendee Hub, it’s useful for those who are there on-site to understand who they can physically meet and make the most of the in-person networking opportunities of the format.”
As DAV look forward to their next major project, a virtual conference in September, Michael reflects: “The technology we’re using right now is really helping to make participants proud to be part of our association, and to join such professionally organised events.”