Cvent a market-leading meetings, events, and hospitality technology provider, brought together thousands of industry professionals online on 10 and 11 November for its annual customer conference, Cvent CONNECT Europe.
This year’s virtual event saw a more than 400% increase in registration over 2019’s in-person event, highlighting the deep desire for meetings and hospitality professionals to hear from industry leaders and learn how to prepare their organisations for the future. Given the virtual, on-demand nature of the event, registration and attendance continue to increase each day as more people look to take part in the virtual experience and consume the conference content.
Cvent CEO and Founder, Reggie Aggarwal, opened the conference with a galvanising message for attendees to seize the digital transformation opportunity in front of them to drive the industry’s recovery in 2021 and beyond. By leveraging the unique opportunities in all three event types – in-person, virtual and hybrid – industry professionals can uncover untapped potential across their entire event programme.
“We will emerge stronger, more connected, and better equipped to harness the power of events. The events industry will not only recover, but together, we will transform it and usher in a Golden Age of events,” said Aggarwal.
Expert-led educational content:
Cvent CONNECT Europe featured 30 breakout and general sessions offering exclusive insights delivered by a broad mix of prestigious industry leaders and Cvent experts – giving attendees the most up-to-date information they need to fuel their future success. Topics included virtual and hybrid events, MICE and transient business recovery, event programme design and event marketing strategies, hospitality and travel trends, and delegate safety, security, and privacy.
Cvent used its own virtual event solution, the Cvent Virtual Attendee Hub®, to power the entire two-day conference. Attendees experienced first-hand the newly launched all-in-one platform, leveraging it to manage customised agendas, schedule 1:1 appointments with Cvent experts, engage with exhibitors, visit virtual trade show and product booths, submit live speaker Q&A, and more. In addition, the product roadmap general sessions offered delegates an insider’s look into comprehensive new features and solutions the company will be unveiling across both its Event Cloud and Hospitality Cloud platforms throughout Q4 2020 and into 2021.
Cvent brought renowned external keynote speakers to the main virtual stage including Keith Barr, CEO of IHG; Federico González, CEO of Radisson; Gloria Guevara Manzo, CEO of World Travel & Tourism Council, Hugh Brasher, Event Director for London Marathon Events; Julian Agostini, Founder of Mash Media; and Maud Bailly, CEO Southern Europe, Accor; among others. All echoed Aggarwal’s message and highlighted the importance of preparing now for a brighter future ahead.
Key sessions from the conference include:
· The Event Industry Stands Together in 2020 – Are Policymakers Responding?: A panel including Chris Skeith, CEO, AEO and Cecilia Lavin, President, ILEA UK discussed the state of the industry, and the actions being taken to influence policymakers to restart the ‘organised gatherings’ supply-chain safely. · What Venues Need to Know to Host Successful Hybrid Events: A new survey; the “Cvent 2020 Planner Sentiment and Sourcing Report: Europe Edition” reveals what event organisers across Europe expect from venues when planning and managing events in the current environment. This session explored how venues can prepare for hybrid events, while giving their property an edge on the competition.
· Travel 2021: The CEO Outlook: In a panel discussion, Gloria Guevara Manzo, CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council; Maud Bailly, CEO Southern Europe, Accor; and Sebastien Tondeur, CEO, MCI Group; shared what they have learned during the pandemic, how they have adapted their strategies, and what conditions they believe are necessary for recovery in 2021.
· The 2020 Challenge - The 2021 Opportunity: One of Europe's largest sporting events, the London Marathon, transitioned to a hybrid event and one London's largest exhibition venue became the largest field hospital in the UK. Hugh Brasher, Event Director, London Marathon Events, alongside James Rees, Executive Director, Conferences & Events, ExCel London, presented the closing keynote which highlighted the common challenges faced by venues and event organisers, the lessons learned, and their plans for 2021.
What Cvent CONNECT Europe Virtual attendees had to say:
"An event that was well prepared, offering good quality with a positive vibe… educational and focused on exactly today’s pain-points and trending topics which connect planners and suppliers.” Martin Neervoort, Manager Meeting & Events Distribution, Radisson Hotels
“A fantastic virtual experience! Great sessions full of ideas, insights and solutions and inspiring to see how creative meetings and event professionals are in such challenging times. The quality and scope of the technology showed us that the possibilities to create engaging virtual events are endless. Never going to replace in-person events, but this has set the bar for what can be achieved in the virtual world. We’re already planning some internal events via the Cvent Virtual Attendee Hub ® and look forward to seeing how it evolves and what more we’ll be able to do with it.” Nichola Rimmer, Global Category Manager Travel & Events, JTI
All of the sessions from the event are available on-demand on the Cvent CONNECT Europe Virtual website. Registration to view the content is free and open to anyone.