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Going Virtual: What We’ve Learned Supporting 2000+ Virtual Events in 6 Months Part II

Going Virtual_ What We’ve Learned Supporting 2000+ Virtual Events in 6 Months Part II

In Part II of our Going Virtual: What We’ve Learned Supporting 2000+ Events in 6 Months series, we spoke with David Dikter, CEO of the Assistive Technology Industry Association came to talk to us while in the midst of preparing for his virtual conference. (If you missed Part I, you can check it out here).

ATIA is focused on technology around people with disabilities. Their mission is to serve the collective voice of the assistive technology industry to help ensure that the best products and services are delivered to persons with disabilities. 

ATIA was already working with Path LMS and was able to hold their last conference in person in January 2020. They recorded 120 sessions and have been distributing them through their Path LMS. 

Planning the Virtual Conference

In May 2020, ATIA made the decision to cancel their January 2021 inperson conference. By doing this they reduced the money they would have spent planning the in-person conference to just cancel it in the fall, and instead had more time to plan a virtual conference. 

They felt that fewer bells and whistles would make it easier for their attendees to get where they needed to go and find what they want when they wanted it and decided Path LMS’s clean and easy-to-use layout and navigation would be the right fit.

ATIA also decided to go from a four-day event to an eight-day (only in the afternoon) event. They reduced from twelve strands to four. Each strand would get one day each week (over the two-week period). Because of this, the entire program had been compressed and condensed. They also condensed the time for speaker submissions which resulted in less submissions to pick through, and then decided to take some of their selected speakers and record them to distribute prior to the conference. 

As a result, these choices allowed them to define a virtual event as a very big window of time instead of just their eight-day event. They provide many recordings outside of the live event. They’ll make recordings available prior to the conference and make the conference recordings available after the conference. 

Registration 

They then set up registration to fit their attendees’ needs. 

  • Full Conference Registration that included all four strands. This can be purchased individually, or as a group for a discount 
  • Registration by Strand (or topic) 
  • One day registration 
  • Free Registration which includes the exhibit hall, sponsored member content, and select social networking activities 

Exhibitors and Sponsors 

ATIA is unable to promise how their attendees would act and if they would visit exhibitor booths. Because of this, members are getting free booths to exhibit at the show. Their entire sponsorship model has shifted to be educational and placement online. They are doing lightning rounds each day featuring recorded sponsor content and giving away prizes to those who attend so that they can motivate folks to attend. 

Surprises and Lessons Learned 

  • Old processes were too long and drawn out and have now been streamlined 
  • It requires more upfront than they initial thought 
  • Will leverage what we do beyond just a one-off event (from our exhibitor experience to our content) 
  • Some processes are now forever changed 
  • Work with great designers and our team 

To hear more from David, you can watch the webinar on-demand here. Stay tuned for the next segment of our blog series when we meet with Blue Sky’s VP of Learning Strategy and Development, Dan Streeter!

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