Oregon Women Veterans Conference: Success Story with Whova

Executive Summary

The Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA) partnered with Whova to securely and successfully host their conference this year. The Oregon Women Veterans Conference effectively facilitated networking connections, educational opportunities, and provided a high return on investment for vendors. 

About Oregon Women Veterans Conference

The Oregon Women Veterans Conference is the state’s largest gathering of women veterans. The event connected veterans from every branch of the military to virtually celebrate the contributions of women who have served throughout history. 

The conference included both live streamed and pre-recorded video sessions with a variety of keynote speakers, educational workshops, networking opportunities, and breakout sessions. The affairs of this one-day biennial event strengthened the Oregon Women Veteran community, and upheld the state’s leadership in honoring women’s unique contribution to the military.

200,000+

Sponsor Impressions

~300

Exhibitor Leads Generated

3,000+ 

Messages Exchanged

100+ 

Attendee Profile Matches

Challenges & Goals

1. Creating a secure and authentic experience in a virtual setting 

As an event that takes place every other year, it was especially important to guarantee a smooth and valuable experience for all participants. The organizers of the Oregon Women Veterans Conference wanted to provide a virtual setting where the attendees could learn, listen and feel connected. 

2. Preventing Zoom bombing

It was important for the organizers to provide secure access to the live sessions to ensure that the meetings would be available only to the conference guests.

2. Effectively communicating with attendees remotely 

Making sure attendees are kept up-to-date and immersed in the conference experience is an expected challenge when it comes to hosting a virtual conference. The ODVA wanted to keep attendees well-informed about all of the important and exciting aspects of the conference. 

3. Encouraging attendee engagement and networking 

Offering accessible channels for interaction at a virtual conference is essential, and the ODVA organizers sought to maximize the value of their networking opportunities. 

4. Providing virtual vendors with a strong ROI

Some vendors worried about getting enough visibility at an online event. So it was necessary for the ODVA to come up with the best virtual solutions for sponsor and exhibitor visibility.

Solutions

The ODVA hosted a successful remote conference by finding the most efficient ways to streamline the virtual event management process. Here’s what they did to achieve this goal: 

1. Offering access to live streamed sessions and recordings

To ensure reliable access to the event content, the conference organizers scheduled live stream sessions directly through Whova. Embedding the Zoom sessions into the app prevented the possibility of anyone unintentionally leaking access to them, as the meeting links weren’t directly visible to the audience. They also added the session recordings in the agenda for attendees to view them afterwards through the app. 

2. Creating session polls to engage the audience and understand attendee perspectives 

The virtual conference set up a number of live polls to spark further interaction during sessions and receive participant thoughts and feedback in real time. This effort made for a more dynamic conference experience and increased communication among organizers and attendees. 

3. Keeping attendees informed with notifications through the app 

The conference organizers were able to share details about the event contests, survey links, live poll updates, session reminders, conference merchandise info, and more throughout the event. Utilizing Whova’s Announcements feature made it simple to consistently and effortlessly distribute essential information. ODVA encouraged registrants and vendors / exhibitors to begin using the Whova app as soon as they registered. This allowed attendees more time to get familiar with the app, start having conversations and socialize in the community groups well before the conference began.

4. Gamifying the app to encourage interaction and engagement 

By participating in discussions, meetups, and social groups during the conference, attendees could earn points towards winning the Community Leaderboard Contest, which inspired tons of networking and interaction. The organizers incentivized attendee engagement by offering points for responding to surveys, polls, and session feedback. 

Attendees at the Oregon Women Veterans Conference were able to coordinate a variety of virtual and in-person meetups through the Community Board

Attendees also had the chance to compete in the event’s Photo Contest, where participants shared pictures that reflected their experiences as women veterans. This competition was an exciting way to foster a strong connection within the remote audience.

5. Increasing exhibitor booth traffic with Whova’s Passport Contest 

The Oregon Women Veterans Conference organizers were able to ensure a stable flow of attendee traffic to the exhibitor booths with the help of another one of Whova’s creative contest features. The Passport Contest allows organizers to gamify the exhibitor hall so attendees can earn “stamps” for each booth they visit. 

6. Maximizing vendor visibility with in-app banners and live showcases 

To ensure they got plenty of visibility in the virtual format, sponsors’ names and logos were featured in digital banners in different locations throughout the Whova app. The organizers further promoted the sponsors by setting up vendor visit breaks in the conference agenda so attendees could check out each of the vendors virtual booths. 

Vendors were easily able to upload all of their links and resources in their own virtual booths, host live showcases, and connect and chat with attendees. 

In the virtual exhibitor booths, attendees viewed live showcases, directly accessed resources, and chatted with vendors. 

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