This is a case study from Timothy Mercer, Sr. Content Marketer, Lanyon. More information about Event Manager Blog’s case studies.
Streamlining the registration process can have a big impact on workload and numbers. This case study shares how one event increased attendance by over 100% and saved countless hours of administration time.
Employee education is a top priority for the Colorado Judicial Branch (COJB) to keep employees up-to-date on state legislation and judicial guidelines and to equip them with the tools they need to better serve the communities in which they work. Event planner Angelia Meaux and her team oversee four large conferences, as well as a number of smaller events, each year.
The largest event, the Colorado Court Employees Conference, is now in its eighteenth year. The conference has grown steadily year on year and now hosts over 800 court employees for a multi-day educational event. The audience consists of employees from all levels of the state court system, including judges, clerks, attorneys and administrators. The conference itself is formatted around a combination of large keynote sessions on topics such as public speaking and accountability, as well as smaller “university-style” breakout sessions.
- Four large conferences annually (between 150 and 850 attendees)
- Numerous 30-40 person educational events
- Serving the professional development of over 4,000 total court employees statewide
When Angelia first joined the event planning team she noticed a few – you might say – inefficiencies. Before aligning her team on a single event management software provider, “things were very siloed,” she said. “Each one of the departments that held a meeting kinda did their own thing. And they tried anything you could possibly imagine to register people. They would just call people and ask them if they wanted to come. They would send one email out saying 'hey, this is when our conference is and never actually register people… I knew there had to be a better way - a way to make it easier for everyone to register.”
Why Event Management Software?
For Angelia and her team, success is measured by the quality of the educational programs that they are able to deliver to the court employees of Colorado. “Our focus is education and making sure our employees have the tools they need to do their job.”
However, holding educational events isn’t helpful unless people show up. And it’s a challenge to organize a great educational program when you’re spending a lot of time walking people through a complicated registration process, or digging through old spreadsheets for event data.
The Colorado Judicial Branch needed a solution to make it easier for planners to promote their events to their audience and easier for their invitees to register, so that the organizing team could spend time on more important things – like planning great events.
Essentially, COJB needed to:
- Increase registration for their educational conference and seminars
- Get all their planners using the same process for inviting and registering attendees
- Make the registration process simpler for those attending
- Make it easier to pull reports from their event data
How Were the Objectives Achieved?
By implementing RegOnline® by Lanyon, COJB planners made it easier to promote their educational events – and easier for employees to register. In addition to simplifying registration, this enabled staff to save time on manual event tasks – like managing rooming lists – so they could spend more time delivering quality educational content for their audience. And as an added plus, by managing all their events with the same software, everyone can pull event data from a single event or multiple events in no time – making reporting a breeze.
Using event management software COJB planners could quickly build online registration forms for their flagship educational conference. Court employees could easily register via a seamless online process – without having to call the office for help.
Soon, Angelia’s team began using the same online registration system for their smaller conferences, and “by the end of that year, we not only had all of our large conferences using [the system] but even our smaller events that were 30 or 40 people, because everyone saw how easy it was for everyone to use and how professional it looked."
And by getting all the planners on the same event management software, the department was able to save valuable time setting up and reporting on events.
A cloud based event management software made it easier for COJB planners to inform court employees of upcoming events. Planners could now simply upload their contact lists into the system and then build and schedule emails to send directly from the product. This also ensured that emails had a consistent look and feel and matched their brand and registration sites.
Simplified Event Data
Angelia and her team were then able to pull from a list of standard reports, or create custom reports from all of their event data – for one event or multiple events – giving them a level of control they didn’t have previously.
"Our first conference was about 400 people and I didn't have access to pull the reports – it all came out of our IT department. As I needed information, I had to go to them. I couldn't access it myself. It was just a spreadsheet set up the way they thought would be best. It took tons and tons of time digging through that data. It really would take me ten days to get through that data, put together rooming lists and get confirmations out to everybody."
Now I can run a report, and that report shows up in just a few seconds. I can filter out what I don't need and then mail merge it. And I am done within an hour for 500 people. It makes a huge difference."
By making it easier to invite court employees – and easier for them to register – COJB planners doubled the number of attendees for their largest conference. And they did it with fewer hours spent sending emails and on the phone helping registrants through the process.
Additionally, for Angelia, success is judged by the feedback she receives from her audience. She cares about their experience from the first invitation to when they leave the event floor. "We really take that feedback to heart and try to make sure that every year we're giving them better content and a better overall educational experience."
Event management software has also put COJB planners in control of their event data. "You can just pull the data you need, when you need it,” says Angelia. “And I think that's the best part. When my boss comes down and asks 'Hey, where are we with this conference?' I can tell him immediately, 'this is how many spaces I have left.' So it’s maximizing occupancy, getting in everyone who wants to attend the conference, and it's doing it in a very timely manner."
Takeaways for Event Planners
- Event management software is about more than just registration.
Great events have a lot of moving parts, and registration – although extremely important – is just one of them. Find one platform to handle all kinds of planner needs – from event promotion and housing management, to onsite check-in, badge printing and event reporting. By managing all these tasks (and all your events) within a single product, you can save countless hours and get a clear picture of all your event results.
- The real value of event management software is that it allows planners to focus on the event experience.
Invites, registration, housing, badges, reports – these are the bones of any event. What separates a good event from a great event is the attendee experience. Is the keynote speaker inspiring? Are the educational sessions helpful and engaging? Is the food good? These are the things that your attendees are going to remember – and the things they’ll consider when deciding whether to attend your next event. Event management software lets you simplify the basics, so you can focus your time and effort on things that will leave a lasting impression for your attendees.
- Standardized planning processes get better results (and helps you to avoid headaches).
When you’re in an organization with multiple event planners, with each planner doing things their own way, you’ve got a recipe for chaos, and things are likely going to fall through the cracks. Event management software can alleviate this problem by providing a standard set of tools and practices. So if you ever need to fill in for a colleague who falls ill or goes on holiday, you don’t have to spend time hunting down that contact list; because you’re all using the same system. And when you need to report on the results of a year’s worth of events, there’s no need to manually aggregate a bunch of separate spreadsheets – you can simply pull the data from all your events into a single report.
Great events don’t just happen. It takes the brilliant work of an event planners to build a truly engaging experience – whether it’s an educational event, a user conference, a product release or a team-building activity. A quality event management solution gives planners the ability to take care of all the event logistics without any headaches. So they can spend their time doing what they’d rather do anyway – planning great events.
For the full story of how Lanyon’s event management software helps the Colorado Judicial Branch save time and increase event attendance, check out this in-depth interview with Angelia Meaux.