Transitioning a large program to virtualAustralasian Exploration Geoscience Conference 2021
Event: Australasian Exploration Geoscience Conference 2021 (AEGC 2021)
Dates: 15-20 September 2021
There was much to organise when, with six weeks until its conference, the Australasian Exploration Geoscience Conference decided to turn its 2021 edition fully virtual for the health and safety of all participants. This was a sudden pivot after a two-year lead time and also followed a postponement of dates from April to September 2021. With a very large program planned, the challenge was to retain a majority of speakers and registered attendees, along with sponsors and exhibitors.
All speakers, delegates and sponsors and exhibitors were advised of the change of format and outlined the possible choices; to keep their place and receive a partial refund, divert their payment for the 2023 in-person event or receive a full refund. The marketing campaign was adjusted and documents created to demonstrate the value in attending, to persuade participants to support the virtual conference. Sponsors and exhibitors were also offered 1:1 demonstrations of the platform along with the features and capabilities. For a smooth transformation to virtual, speakers were asked to submit a pre-record of their presentation, which involved further support from organisers.
The tactics were a success, with the vast majority of attendees choosing to attend the virtual 2021 conference despite early hesitations. As much as 78% of sponsorship and exhibition revenue was retained, with 80% of exhibitors choosing to convert to a virtual position. Registration was equally strong, with targets exceeded by 30%. The majority of speakers remained in the program, including 8 of 9 keynotes and 130 concurrent session speakers.
We had a really positive experience and we are especially grateful to have the benefit of Arinex’ event planning experience and industry connections as we navigated multiple changes due to Covid. The team’s experience and professionalism were instrumental in our delivering a successful event.