Executive Summary

The Asia Pacific Advanced Network partnered with Whova in 2021 for the APAN52 Meeting to connect hundreds of attendees. Through the virtual conference app, APAN facilitated high levels of engagement, promoted attendee networking, and provided a strong ROI for its sponsors. 

Interview with the Organizers

About APAN52

The Asia Pacific Advanced Network is an international partnership of National Research and Education Networks across Asia and Oceania. APAN serves as a backbone network that links the research and education of its member countries/economies, and is a key driver of network technology and application developments throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The organization has developed an extensive member community since it formed in 1990 and hosted the 52nd APAN Meeting virtually from Yogyakarta, Indonesia in August of 2021. 

The 5 day virtual event featured dozens of livestream and recorded sessions, including a variety of keynote speakers, presentations, training workshops, discussion panels, and more. 

700+

Community Board messages

2,000+

Agenda Web Page views

~1000

Tickets sold through Whova

250+

Personalized agendas created

150,000+ 

Sponsor impressions

Challenges

  • Managing a large international audience virtually 

The APAN52 Meeting had nearly double the amount of attendees than had attended previous in-person meetings. With thousands of members in the Asia Pacific Advanced Network spanning across 20 countries, the organizers of APAN52 were challenged with hosting a huge audience at the online event.

  • Organizing an extensive list of speakers 

Over 200 speakers were registered to speak at APAN52 over the course of the five day event. It was important to be able to efficiently manage all of the conference’s speakers, and the organizers sought to find the best virtual system for doing so. 

  • Encouraging virtual interaction and engagement

Maintaining international networking connections was a key objective for the Asia Pacific Advanced Network. So, even though they weren’t going to be able to network in person this year, it was critical that the organizers continued to provide effective channels of communication and opportunities for attendee interaction during the virtual APAN52 Meeting.

  • Securing high ROI for sponsors at a virtual event

Sponsorship is a critical part of keeping the event running, so it was essential to offer the APAN52 sponsors a strong return on their investment in this year’s virtual meeting. It’s not always easy for sponsors to see the value in sponsoring a virtual event, so providing them with great visibility was a high priority for the organizers. 

Solutions

  • Registering hundreds of attendees with Whova’s ticketing

With Whova’s ticketing system, the conference organizers were able to register a large number of attendees without having to worry about using any third party systems. Once attendees registered online through Whova, they were automatically integrated with the virtual conference platform, where they could access the conference and necessary information.

Using Whova’s registration system also makes managing attendee lists easy for the organizers. For example, the direct integration gives them the option to do things like categorize attendees based on their answers to registration form questions, or send announcements and surveys to attendees based on their ticket type.

  • Personalizing attendee agendas to organize plans 

Even with a packed meeting schedule, APAN52 attendees stayed organized by adding sessions to their own personal agenda. With Whova’s personalized agenda function, participants could plan which sessions to attend and even add it to their own calendar with the click of a button.

Attendees could easily add the sessions they wanted to attend by clicking the icon to the right of each session. 

From the mobile app, attendees can view the session details, and decide to add them their personalized agenda. 

  • Creating unique session tracks

Attendees were easily able to filter and search the agenda by the type of session they were looking for. The organizers used Whova’s Agenda Track Manager tool to efficiently configure the complex conference agenda by labeling each session with color-coded tags like “Tutorials/Training/Workshops,” “Plenary/Keynote,” or “Social Time”. 

  • Using the Speaker Center to set up speaker profiles

Using Whova’s Speaker Center made it easy to stay organized with a list of hundreds of speakers and saved the APAN52 organizers from the time-consuming task of filling out all of the speakers’ information. Instead, Whova generated a personal link sent to each speaker, where they could update their own profile with contact info, affiliation, bio, and upload a profile picture. 

  • Gamifying attendee engagement features

Attendees at APAN52 were inspired to post a variety of discussion topics and create a ton of virtual meet-ups throughout the event. Whova’s Leaderboard Contest, a competition for attendees to earn points based on their level of participation in the Community Board, sparked a lot of connection between the participants to create a much more interactive experience at the virtual event. 

  • Increasing sponsor visibility through the app 

Using Whova’s sponsor tools helped the APAN52 organizers provide their sponsors with greater visibility. With sponsor banners featuring the company name and logo throughout the web and mobile app, and digital booths where sponsors showcased their company and shared resources, the organizers could ensure that the sponsors’ brands would be consistently present throughout the event. 

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