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Aventri Virtual Event Platform Success Story - Washington Tourism Alliance

 

After a 10 year hiatus, WTA was able to bring back their annual tourism conference in a month's time with Aventri

Washington Tourism Alliance's (WTA) Washington State Tourism Conference was making its big return in 2020, but the world had other plans. WTA needed to move quickly to find a virtual solution provider that would be able to work with their tight deadline and day-of-event support provided by virtual event experts. Aventri provided both, working side-by-side with the WTA team every step of the way to make sure that their return to events was a success. The results? WTA saw a 90% registrant to attendee conversion rate and secured multiple elected officials as speakers that they would not have had if not making the pivot to a virtual event experience.
Location: Seattle, Washington Founded: 2011 Employees: 10+ Industry: Membership Non-Profit

The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) is a membership-based nonprofit organization that was established after the closure of the Washington State Tourism Office in 2011. Since that time, the WTA has advocated for the reestablishment of a statewide tourism effort. In March of 2018, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law E4SSB 5251 which establishes framework and funding for a statewide tourism marketing program for the first time in seven years. The sole purpose of the Washington Tourism Alliance is marketing Washington to tourists. In order to accomplish this, the activities of the Corporation will include, but not be limited to advocating, promoting, developing and sustaining destination tourism marketing for Washington State.

Challenge
Solution
Event

Washington Tourism Alliance Challenge

After a ten year absence, 2020 was the year that the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) was going to bring back a statewide tourism conference to celebrate and share new ways to add tourism into the state. Originally meant to be a large in-person conference that invited tourism professionals from across the state, the 2020 Washington State Tourism Conference changed courses quickly. Once the pandemic started to take hold, WTA needed to look at alternative solutions to host their grand return to the state conference. Plan B was to host a hybrid event where attendees could choose to attend either in-person or virtual, but once things in the world started to take another turn, WTA knew that they needed to decide to pivot to a 100% virtual conference.

Their event goals changed from a conference set to celebrate the return of tourism to the state to an event that needed to provide support to tourism industry professionals hit hard by the pandemic. They needed to provide value to their attendees through their content and needed a solution that would be easy to use on both the admin and attendee side. Not to mention, since they decided to pivot last minute, they were looking for a provider that could work with a truncated timeline.

"If we were asking people to sit at their computers all day, we needed it to be easy and worth it," said Diana Thibado, Director of Operations for WTA.

Washington Tourism Alliance Solution

Once it was decided that they needed to move virtual, the WTA team needed to act quickly to research and source a virtual event platform provider. They were looking for a solution provider that would be able to get their registration site built in a short timeframe, but also provide virtual event experts the day of the event to assist with the production of the Washington State Tourism Conference. Speaking with a variety of solution providers, Aventri was the clear winner for WTA based on their needs. "Aventri was the only platform that could handle the accelerated timeline and give us multiple team members on the day of the event to make sure everything went smoothly," said Thibado. 

During the initial conversation with their sales representative, WTA appreciated Aventri's candor when it came to what would be realistic to create tech-wise when it came to the conference. This reassured them in their decision to move forward with Aventri and the entire process continued to be a collaborative effort between the Aventri and WTA team. WTA worked hand-in-hand with the Aventri Professional Services team to get their registration and virtual websites up and running. Acting as an extension of the team, they worked through various iterations of the websites to ensure that the flow of the event made sense. Since WTA was not sure of the turnout that they were going to get for this event, they also needed to ensure that they could easily pick between event formats that allowed for large one-to-many sessions or smaller breakout sessions. Aventri provided guidance to WTA and assured them that the platform would be able to handle both set ups with ease.  With both Aventri's quick turnaround for the registration site and guidance for the event design, WTA could now spend the next four weeks getting their agenda and speakers prepped for the conference. 

Washington Tourism Alliance Event

The 2020 Washington State Tourism Conference used a variety of virtual content types to keep their attendees' interests high. Through Aventri, they utilized the one-to-many presentation mode for their panel discussions, which contained pre-recorded videos that they streamed during the session, with a live Q&A panel taking place after the recording using the Aventri platform. Utilizing the Aventri "Ask a Question" feature, they received tons of engagement during each of the eight-panel discussions with an average of a 67% engagement rate overall. 

For their breakout sessions, the Aventri collaborative meeting mode worked to facilitate discussions in smaller groups. After their large keynote panels concluded, they grouped attendees based on their region or industry sector to catch up and engage with each other with their cameras and microphones on. This allowed them to meet their goal of providing a space for the tourism professionals to share their concerns and discuss the future of tourism in the state. WTA received positive feedback from attendees on both the content and format, praising how substantive and informative the event was. 

The event would not have been as successful without the assistance from the Aventri Professional Services team, who helped with both pre-event and during-event support. Pre-event, Aventri set the WTA speakers up for success, making sure that they knew what to expect the day of the event and how the platform would work. The conference contained event speakers that are elected officials from all over the state and country that don't usually have the time for large in-person conferences, so it was important to WTA that they felt supported and comfortable throughout the event. 

During the actual event, the Aventri live support team was critical to ensuring that every session went as planned and every attendee had what they needed. Because of the live support, the WTA felt reassured during the event that if any issues did arise that the team would solve for them swiftly. "I don't think our event would have been successful without them [the Aventri live support team]," said Thibado. 

WTA is excited to utilize Aventri in the future for more collaborative and interactive events with their audience. 

Diana Thibado Director of Operations

Key Statistics

48 virtual event sessions available

90% registrant to attendee conversion

1 month turn around from inception to live event

Products Leveraged

Virtual Event Platform

Professional Services Team

Event Registration

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