The IFA organises roughly seven conferences for their members every year across several different cities. Their event planning team is tasked with managing all the logistics for these events, which means they have to be in constant touch with suppliers for food and beverage orders, audio-visual requirements, as well as with their delegates to make accommodation and travel arrangements. Registration in particular was a major challenge for their large annual conferences. With roughly 1,500 delegates attending each of these events, staff had to manually update the registration lists, which involved the tedious task of constantly removing the cancelled participants and adding in new ones. Badging was also an issue, as the team at IFA had to prepare all the badges in advance - getting the name tags printed and assembled before the day of the event. This ponderous task had them working late nights stuffing and arranging badges-and then transferring them to tables in alphabetical order near the registration desks.
Each event also brought with it heavy expenditure. For annual events, the IFA's planning team had to print 50-page lists of its attendees to include in their conference kit. Printing these lists cost a lot of time and money, plus, they were almost never up-to-date on the day of the event due to last-minute cancellations or registrations.
One day, the IFA received an email from Cvent offering a demo of its event management technology solutions. After reviewing the products and taking note that the simplicity of the solutions offered was just what they were looking for-the events team decided to attend the demonstration. And the rest they say, is history. Before Cvent, the IFA already had an event registration website in place, as well as software for registering their conference delegates. The IFA also had a separate system to print badges and a mobile event app to offer to their delegates. What the team immediately responded to was that they could now have all these disparate solutions integrated into one system, offering them the ability to seamlessly synchronise all data across the various components.
They first started using the online event management tool for registration, and then later decided to adopt the CrowdCompass by Cvent mobile event app because it enabled them to synchronise their speaker and programme information directly into the app, saving the time and effort they spent manually copying and pasting the data from one application to another. Additionally, this also enabled them to keep information on their event website up-to-date by just updating the app. With the app, they were also able to send push-notifications to delegates of any last-minute changes or updates to the event agenda.
Having industry-leading onsite solutions allowed IFA to provide an ideal check-in experience for their attendees and also ensured their hostesses no longer had to deal with long queues at registration. "We used to have at least 15 hostesses manning the registration desks and it took up a lot of space as well because we had like a big U-shaped formation of desks with letters for alphabetical order. [At a recent event] we cut this down to 5 hostesses, with 4 iPad stations, and there were no queues," says IFA's lead event planner Jessica. The new onsite system made a great impression on the delegates, and among the first feedback IFA received was that the system was "really, really good and really easy to use".
Simplifying the Planning Process
The IFA is now able to build an online registration process to manage all their requests through one system, saving all that time they spent on compiling participant and rooming lists, creating badges, and working on reports. Having delegates register for sessions online helps the team track the number of people attending, which aids in breakout and session room selection, and allows for last-minute changes with the hotel/venue if needed.
Cvent's onsite solutions (which included an on-demand badge printing system) have helped make their entire registration and check-in process seamless for everyone. It elevates the event experience, giving off the impression of professionalism to delegates. Cvent's solution also enables delegates to update their registration information, something that wasn't possible in the past. And since the event management system is synchronised with their app, the IFA always has the most up-to-date attendant list on hand.
The reporting feature has been a real bonus as well, as it allows IFA to analyse statistics from past events and compare them to their current events. Previously they spent countless hours on cross-planning reports, now they manage all their event reporting with a click of a button.
The support provided by Cvent both at the event and beyond has left quite an impression on IFA. "Cvent customer support has been very good. ...They are always available; they always get back to our emails rapidly. We also know that we can contact the 24-hour customer support team and whenever we have a bit of time in between events, we also go to the Cvent Community where we have access to tutorials and lots of videos that help us work with the system better," says Jessica, adding, "the onsite support person for OnArrival was also really friendly and helped us with all of the equipment. He did all the setup and even helped us with other questions that our attendees had -even though that wasn't his primary role -and he was also there to lend a hand to the exhibitors. Some of our exhibitors were using the lead retrieval solution, so he was also helping them with that. The support onsite was really, really handy."
The CrowdCompass app has been a hit as well among organisers and delegates alike, due to its user-friendly interface. "The app adoption has been really good and it keeps rising. At the moment, we're at 65% adoption rate and we're working on getting more and more app users, and our aim is to reach 98% or 100% of our users because it really helps the event planner. It's a great communication tool with the attendees and, compared to emails, it's a lot more effective," affirms Jessica. Aside from sharing speaker bios, programme updates, speaker presentations, and post-event surveys, the IFA uses the mobile app to collect feedback from delegates to improve their experience at future conferences.
Having had such a positive experience, the International Fertilizer Association plans to continue its partnerships with Cvent for years to come. They already intend to keep using Lead Capture and CrowdCompass at all their major events and are also considering Passkey for future events. The IFA team have also expressed an interest in becoming an early adopter of Flex -Cvent's revamped website and registration management tool. "We saw a demo during Cvent CONNECT, and it looks very user-friendly and we look forward to using it."
The IFA feels Cvent's solutions have truly been a game-changer for them and advises event organisers to give Cvent a shot as "it will really simplify their life and all of their event planning... it makes an event organiser's life much easier."