The last time I was back in the Arora ballroom at the Intercontinental London – The O2 , it was October 2019 and Cvent ’ s Founder and CEO , Reggie Aggarwal was on-stage telling the Cvent CONNECT Europe audience the importance of a company culture driven by values rather than rules , along with the ability to hire well , listen well and build well .
We all know what happened to the world just a few short months later so it was impressive to see that when Cvent CONNECT Europe Virtual came around in 2020 , the company had already lived-up to Reggie ’ s words by listening to what the industry needed , hiring the engineers to build it and by launching the Cvent Virtual Attendee Hub , which could integrate into the company ’ s existing suite of event marketing and management solutions .
The first time most people saw the Cvent Virtual Attendee Hub was when it powered the US version of Cvent CONNECT in August 2020 , showcasing the technology to more than 28,000 global event professionals , marketers and hospitality planners .
For Cvent CONNECT Europe Virtual , which took place in October that year , another 8,000 online registrants got to experience the single largest investment in Cvent ’ s 21-year history and the resulting work of hundreds of product development experts , working remotely from home across multiple teams , timezones and disciplines .
Fast-forward to October 2021 and I ’ m back in the ballroom watching Reggie on-stage outline how the pandemic has been a catalyst for innovation , likely to change the face of the events
Mike Fletcher shares his experience of attending Cvent CONNECT Europe and talks to Cvent ’ s Felicia Asiedu about staging the hybrid customer conference .
industry forever .
Cvent CONNECT Europe 2021 was a hybrid blend of the Cvent Virtual Attendee Hub and in-person activity around the Intercontinental ’ s dedicated conference suite . To attend day one in-person , you needed to provide a negative lateral flow test or evidence of double vaccination , while day two was virtual with on-demand catch-ups .
“ With so many virtual attendees accessing content in 2020 , we needed to ensure that we didn ’ t lose the online audience . But we also understood the desire to get back to in-person live events . As a result , we decided upon a hybrid first day and a second day that was purely virtual ,” Felicia Asiedu senior marketing manager , Europe at Cvent says . “ The virtual elements were free to attend so it was the right thing to do for the right time , both from a commercial and ethical standpoint .”
The hotel ’ s Covid compliance checks , together with the touch-less registration meant that those delegates who did attend the first day in-person , reported how smooth the whole process was - helping them to feel safe and confident to be back in a conference environment .
In October 2019 , the Arora ballroom had served as the main plenary hall , with breakout sessions and Innovation Pavilion exhibitors spread over two floors and 19 meeting rooms . For this year ’ s hybrid outing , Cvent redesigned the in-person space so that the ballroom was divided into three parts featuring all the different elements and allowing for a more contained delegate flow .