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How Kingston Chamber of Commerce Pivoted to Virtual to Host their First Virtual Expo

Company:

Kingston Chamber

Type of Event:

Virtual

The Kingston Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest independent chambers in London, UK. When COVID forced them to cancel their in-person Kingston Business Expo event, they felt that it was more important than ever to find a way to offer local businesses the opportunity to connect and gain valuable new skills and knowledge. It quickly became obvious that pivoting to a virtual expo was the best way to still reach and engage with their audience. 

THE CHALLENGE

“Moving online was a daunting task,” said Amanda McLoughlin, who runs Events, Marketing and Comms for the Kingston Chamber of Commerce, “but we were sure that the appetite for such an event was there.”

There were 3 important factors that Amanda considered when choosing an online solution for her virtual expo: 

  • Capability of the platform – “It was important that the platform we used was a ‘one-stop-shop’ for everything we wanted to offer from registration to the day-of experience,” said McLoughlin. “It was also important that attendees could participate and engage with what they were watching and each other.” Accelevents allowed the event to still be an active experience, rather than a passive, one-sided live stream. 
  • Time/Ease of Use – “We had to reimagine the event and deliver within a few months so it was important that we could get started quickly and that the technology was intuitive for both the organizer, the speakers, and the participants,” said McLoughlin. Accelevents’ flexible self-service model allowed the Chamber to work on their own timeline and host the event whenever they wanted.
  • Cost – “As always, budget is an issue but in the current climate this was more important than ever,” said McLoughlin. “Accelevents offered a very cost-effective solution so we were able to move the idea forward quickly without needing to make a large investment.”

THE OUTCOME

“We were really pleased with the event and we had some fantastic feedback from attendees,” said McLoughlin. “People seemed to stay online with us for a lot longer than in real life, we had expected people to drop in for specific seminars that interested them – however, once online, most people stayed all day and really explored all the different activities available to them which was really rewarding and encouraging to see.”

“I think the opportunities to engage with other attendees online and via video in the networking area was the biggest success and made a real impact on the attendees. We were unsure if it would be possible to re-create the ‘buzz’ of real speed networking but it really did work.”

“[The Accelevents] product itself is very well designed, intuitive, and easy to use. Plus, the support was great – I had lots of questions about how different aspects worked and they were always online and quick to respond.”

THE FEEDBACK

Quotes from Kingston Business Virtual Expo Attendees

 

“I thought it worked excellently – in fact I probably made more connections then actually being face to face!”

“Well done for organising such a great event – maybe an online version is something to consider even when all social distancing is back to normal?”

“What a phenomenal event. So much to do. Thank you Kingston Chamber of Commerce, this is a truly brilliant achievement.”

“I think this may be the future!”

Thinking About Using Accelevents for your Next Virtual Event? 

 

Looking for advice on how to go virtual? Follow Amanda McLoughlin’s advice for making the most of your online experience: “Test it out!  We did several test events first with our team ahead of the event to really understand what it would be like as both the organizer and the participant.  We also did a test with the speakers before the day to ensure they could all access the platform and solve any issues ahead of the day.”

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