The Southeast Regional Institute on Deafness (SERID) hosted a hybrid training conference in Tennessee using Whova’s all-in-one event management platform.
Since 1971, state coordinators have worked to bring together professionals, advocates, and community partners working with the Deaf and hard of hearing through the conference. The organizers successfully facilitated attendee networking on the app while guaranteeing great exhibitor return on investment.
About Southeast Regional Institute on Deafness Tennessee
Government State Coordinators for the Deaf from 8 Southeastern States, including Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina & South Carolina, have worked together for over 30 years to train health professionals working in the field of Deafness.
In 1970, the University of Tennessee Region IV Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program (RRCEP) turned the conference into a regional training “institute” to make a country wide impact. Now an official corporation, SERID State Coordinators for the Deaf work to educate and expand the skills of professionals who serve individuals with hearing loss.
By partnering with Whova, the SERID organizers made sure training sessions ran smoothly and attendees could easily communicate with each other.
- Ensure exhibitor ROI
With many prominent exhibitors, such as National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), Helen Keller National Center, and Gallaudet University, the organizers wanted to provide high-quality virtual booths to help exhibitors attract more leads.
- Check-in attendees
The organizers needed to check in and keep track of over 190 remote and in-person attendees.
- Manage a packed agenda
With almost 50 speakers, the organizers needed an efficient way to organize and categorize speaker sessions.
- Coordinate in-person event logistics
The SERID organizers wanted to provide an online space to help attendees make travel plans and coordinate any in-person logistics like ride-sharing.
- Help attendees network
Attendees came from across the country to meet other professionals and improve their knowledge in the field of deafness. The SERID organizers wanted attendees to have ample opportunities to network and set up meetups.
- Check-in attendees with Whova’s platform
Whova’s online check-in feature helped the SERID organizers quickly check attendees. They instantly obtained comprehensive check-in lists generated from attendee information already stored in Whova’s platform. From there, it was easy to check in attendees as they came into the event.
The organizers could also print automatically generated name badges as they checked attendees in, with just the click of a button.
Whova’s platform constantly updates the number of checked-in attendees so that the organizers had no problem keeping a general headcount during the event. At any point, the organizers could export the check-in list for record-keeping purposes.
- Grab attendee interest with virtual Exhibitor Booths
The virtual exhibitor booths were an excellent tool attendees used to access exhibitor information. Exhibitors included many attractive features on their booths, such as promotions, giveaways, photos, and product information to gain attendee interest.
Attendees were automatically recorded as leads when they liked the booths, signed up for promos, or messaged the exhibitor staff.
Besides efficiently collecting leads, Whova’s online exhibitor center also helped decrease the organizer’s workload. They used Whova’s pre-made email templates to invite exhibitors to upload their information onto the platform.
To help attendees easily find the in-person booths, the SERID organizers uploaded a floor map onto the app with pinned locations of each booth.
Attendees could virtual exhibitor booths on the web or mobile app
- Network on the Community Board
Whova’s Community Board encouraged networking on the virtual chat forum through discussion topics, shared articles, and more. Attendees posted job openings or set up meetups to grab dinner during and after the conference. The ice-breakers were an especially popular discussion topic attendees used to introduce themselves in a fun way.
Many attendees also liked and shared photos on the Community Board, or shared them to social media directly through the app.
Besides facilitating attendee networking, the Community Board was also beneficial for the organizers. Any announcements they made were automatically preserved under the discussion topic “Organizer Announcements”.
“It was easy to use the app and beneficial for our participants to interact and engage with others in terms of networking!”Tiffany Kelley
- Coordinate in-person logistics on the Community Board
The Community Board made coordinating event logistics quick and effortless for in-person attendees.
The Ride Sharing feature allowed attendees to create groups and share airport arrival times so they could coordinate rides. To make the feature accessible to attendees even if they hadn’t signed up for the app yet, organizers could post a link on their event website that led attendees to the ride-sharing discussion topic.
Whova also sent out an automatic email to attendees, reminding them to use the ride sharing feature to their advantage.
Attendees posted ice breakers on the Community Board to get to know each other
- Organize sessions under track categories
The organizers took advantage of Whova’s track manager to categorize sessions under broader event topics. They then easily organized sessions under topics that would appeal separately to interpreters or educators.
Track names showed up in the agenda for each session they were tagged on, where attendees could easily see and follow throughout the conference. Attendees could filter their personal agenda to show certain tracks, making it convenient to find topics that interested them.
The organizers easily created tracks and added session in the track manager