A Foray into Virtual
The Australian International Education Conference (AIEC) is a preeminent event for the international education sector in Australia that has been connecting people and ideas for more than 30 years. This conference welcomes many delegates, speakers, and chairs from the education sector, from around the globe every year.
After the disappointment of having to cancel the 2020 in-person iteration of the event, IDP hoped to move their2021 event to a hybrid format. However, their plans were dashed. With the ongoing effects of the pandemic and only 10 weeks out from the conference dates, there was no real choice but to run AIEC 2021 in a fully virtual format. As the official organiser, Think Business Events (TBE) had to move quickly and execute their back-up plan to ensure a seamless switch to virtual.
Transitioning with Confidence
Confidence Spread over 4 days, the virtual conference was expected to have over 230 speakers, 70+ sessions and a virtual expo with over 50 exhibitors. Despite the complexity of the event, Think Business Events was confident they would deliver. Having used Cvent previously for several other virtual events, the team at TBE knew that transitioning AIEC from a hybrid to a virtual format would be completed with minimal fuss, and they would get timely support from the Cvent Client Services team.
The Virtual Experience
Along with pre-conference processes such as registration and speaker management, the AIEC team utilised the Attendee Hub, Cvent’s virtual event platform, and several of its in-built features like gamification, seamless transition overlay, session duration tracking, feedback survey, and push notification, for both the live days of the conference as well as before and after the live event. Some of the key features that made an impact to the event were 1:1 appointments and messaging, both of which were heavily used, and which led to the creation of 1,873 virtual appointments between attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors.
To ensure everyone got ample opportunities for engagement, the organisers made sure to have inclusive family-friendly social events as part of the programme. This was particularly helpful for those delegates who were in the midst of home-schooling and lockdown. Inviting children and other family members to attend these sessions made the conference agenda more manageable for everyone and created a point of difference.
To boost engagement, the AIEC team and TBE created an on-demand video catalogue to showcase their ‘Inspire’ and ‘World in Focus’ video presentation series, which comprised 60 pre-recorded content-driven sessions. These videos were available on the Virtual Attendee Hub when it was launched two weeks prior to the live event. To prolong the life of the event content, the live session recordings were added to the on-demand catalogue and all 200 sessions (50 hours of learning) were made available up to 3 months after the event.
Proving the Value of Virtual
By leveraging the end-to-end solutions offered by Cvent, coupled with the flexible and expert conference management from the Think Business Events team, AIEC was able to successfully meld virtual networking, learning and fun into a single education conference for delegates from across Australia and the globe.
The virtual conference had a total of 1,225 registrants and saw an overall participation rate of 85% with average session attendance of 56%. The sessions received 9,200 live views and an additional 5,221 on-demand views after the event.
The TBE team also valued the assistance provided by Cvent’s dedicated project team, who helped with everything from troubleshooting and speaker prep to green room and on-the-day support.
All in all, the event marked a successful collaboration between IDP, TBE and Cvent.