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How a Last-Minute Destination Change Maximized Event Attendance Numbers [Case Study]

How a Last-Minute Destination Change Maximized Event Attendance Numbers [Case Study]

That is a case research sponsored by Conferences + Conventions Calgary. Extra details about Event Supervisor Weblog’s case research.
A final-minute change by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) to pick Calgary, Alberta because the vacation spot for its Worldwide Convention on Acoustics, Speech, and Sign Processing, confirmed the vacation spot’s flexibility of choices and agileness. What was anticipated to be a smaller end up because of the change, turned certainly one of IEEE ICASSP’s greatest attended conferences in a few years.


The Event

IEEE’s Worldwide Convention on Acoustics, Speech, and Sign Processing is a technical convention of roughly 2,200 engineers from 43+ nations. The massive proportion of attendees holding Ph.D.’s (65%) makes this viewers distinctive in its necessities and expectations. The rest of the viewers is comprised of scholars and engineers with out their doctorate.

The group is the world’s largest technical skilled group devoted to advancing know-how for the good thing about humanity and innovating for a higher tomorrow. IEEE and its 423,000 members in over 160 nations encourage a international group via its highly-cited publications, conferences, know-how requirements, and professional and academic actions.

IEEE determined to vary the vacation spot of its 2018 convention six months earlier than its opening. Given the timescales and the size of the occasion, they wanted a new vacation spot group that was extraordinarily versatile, organized, and accommodating and capable of work with the occasion planner, Convention Administration Providers, and the occasion planning committee.

A serious concern of a last-minute vacation spot change is all the time attendance. Wouldn’t it be affected when the vacation spot was introduced?

Calgary and the Calgary TELUS Conference Centre was chosen over different choices due to the pliability of the choices; the willingness of the town and the CVB to help last-minute wants in addition to the overall compelling nature and fame of Calgary.


Fast Convention Information

keyboard_arrow_right Six months earlier than the occasion the vacation spot for the occasion needed to change
keyboard_arrow_right Calgary, Alberta hosted the IEEE Worldwide Convention on Acoustics, Speech, and Sign Processing
keyboard_arrow_right The occasion ran over 5 days from April 15-20, 2018
keyboard_arrow_right It attracted over 2,200 engineers from 43+ nations
keyboard_arrow_right The theme was Sign Processing and Synthetic Intelligence: Altering the World
keyboard_arrow_right IEEE skilled a report variety of papers and session chief purposes for the 2018 convention



The Event Aims

The aims of the Worldwide Convention on Acoustics, Speech, and Sign Processing have been to:

keyboard_arrow_right Present a complete and simply accessible technical convention.
keyboard_arrow_right Ship the world’s largest and most complete technical convention targeted on sign processing and its purposes.
keyboard_arrow_right Introduce new developments within the area and supply an enticing discussion board to trade concepts with researchers and builders.



The Challenges

The most important problem for this massive occasion was that solely six months earlier than the occasion was set to occur, IEEE needed to transfer its worldwide convention location. This put vital further strain on the occasion planning group, frightened if all the small print could possibly be managed in time. Was there sufficient planning time to make a change involving a world group?

Shifting an occasion of this measurement on the comparatively final minute posed not solely an organizational problem but in addition considerations over whether or not individuals would attend.  When drawing attendees from over 43 nations, location deeply impacts attendance.

Whereas attendees and convention organizers had heard of Calgary, it was not a vacation spot they have been accustomed to from a convention perspective.

The planning workforce questioned, would the unknown function an incentive to attend (one thing new) or would attendees draw back from a vacation spot they knew little about?

As soon as the choice was made to maneuver places, IEEE compiled a record of 4 attainable worldwide relocation websites.

For every website, they collected and in contrast details about:

keyboard_arrow_right relative prices
keyboard_arrow_right facilities
keyboard_arrow_right measurement/flexibility of assembly area/conference middle
keyboard_arrow_right relative distance to main universities (mental trade was essential)
keyboard_arrow_right proximity to a world airport
keyboard_arrow_right relative variety of out there lodge rooms

Additionally they evaluated the power of the potential host metropolis to shortly reply to a last-minute change–and the willingness of the Conferences + Conventions Calgary employees to help their wants. Flexibility and agility have been important to their efforts.

The chief committee of the IEEE society met, thought-about the info, and chosen Calgary.


Why Calgary?

Event planners are sometimes in search of the fundamentals: transportation choices, venues and inns which are giant sufficient to accommodate their group and progressive sufficient to deal with their tech necessities, and a vacation spot their attendees will take pleasure in exploring. However planners don’t work in a bubble. Relationships with the individuals concerned are additionally extraordinarily necessary.

Right here’s what Calgary has to supply and why IEEE chosen it:


IEEE needed quick access for its international attendees. The Calgary Worldwide Airport (YYC) is a handy 20-minute drive to Calgary’s downtown assembly venues. As a western Canadian hub, it’s the third largest and busiest airport in Canada. Calgary is straightforward to entry, inside one-stop of many international locations, and presents lots of of direct flights to US cities every day.


Bringing in a group from 43+ nations means there’s a want for lodge rooms. Calgary has over 14,000+ guestrooms. Most of the lodges are Inexperienced Key licensed.

Assembly Area:

Calgary offers over 1.2 million sq. ft of assembly area with a number of LEED and BOMA Greatest authorised venues. There’s additionally flexibility with giant assembly area that may be portioned up into smaller areas aimed toward connecting and networking.

Above all, Calgarians are recognized for his or her hospitality and going the additional mile for his or her friends, which helped the IEEE meet the wants of their attendees.

As soon as the choice was made to maneuver, a secondary problem cropped up and it created a second to impress. There was a want to offer help in addressing particular, particular person wants of attendees. Whereas these wants weren’t a part of the convention programming or planning, with the ability to be of service to them might make a huge impression and have an effect on their means to journey.

Calgary: The Destination at a Look

  • keyboard_arrow_right 14,000 lodge rooms in over 80 motels
  • keyboard_arrow_right 1.2 million sq. ft of assembly area
  • keyboard_arrow_right No provincial gross sales tax in Alberta
  • keyboard_arrow_right 2 main assembly venues: The Calgary TELUS Conference Centre and BMO Centre at Stampede Park
  • keyboard_arrow_right A community of 85+ native business leaders (Calgary Champions) designed to attach conferences to Calgary’s mental capital
  • keyboard_arrow_right Direct flights to 100s of US cities
  • keyboard_arrow_right 4th most livable metropolis on the earth – The Economist, 2018
  • keyboard_arrow_right Prime 10 most walkable cities in Canada
  • keyboard_arrow_right 20,000 acres of inexperienced area and parks within the metropolis limits
  • keyboard_arrow_right Calgary is house to the very best per capita variety of company headquarters in Canada
  • keyboard_arrow_right Canadian Rockies are an hour away
  • keyboard_arrow_right 700+ cultural occasions all year long together with the Calgary Stampede
  • keyboard_arrow_right Over 6,000 eating places, tons of of retail outlets, theater, and fascinating structure on this walkable metropolis



The Venue: The Calgary TELUS Conference Centre (CTCC)

Skilled sharing and networking have been important to the IEEE. Their occasion consisted of a number of giant tutorials on the primary day. The remainder of the week adopted the schedule of a single keynote every morning adopted by a number of podium or different forms of periods. Every day additionally hosted a number of poster periods.

The areas on the Calgary TELUS Conference Centre have been giant and versatile sufficient to accommodate the complete group for the keynotes. Plus, the group needed satisfactory smaller areas to host the varied breakouts and different periods. They needed these areas to really feel inviting and facilitate connections.

Shopper Response

The shopper was impressed with the venue as the power lends itself to dialog, selling interplay and speaking. CTCC, whereas giant, feels intimate and encourages individuals to cease and join. There have been many areas the place attendees naturally congregated and interacted.


The Outcomes

Conferences + Conventions Calgary labored extensively with IEEE to change and adapt the convention plan, as wanted. Consideration to element was essential to them and no element was ignored. Calgary offered suggestions, steerage and applicable introductions to wanted factors of contact at numerous amenities across the metropolis to make the transition as clean as attainable.

Since IEEE relocated the convention roughly six months earlier than the occasion, creating and executing a workable plan was a problem with many issues arising. This required a assembly vacation spot that was versatile and solution-oriented. As a part of the choice course of, IEEE investigated a number of choices/options to every want. Thus, they used main and fall again contingencies when working with Conferences + Conventions Calgary. Calgary additionally helped them remedy peripheral issues in order that they might shine.

These have been a few of the largest considerations confronted by IEEE and the way Conferences + Conventions Calgary labored with the planning workforce to beat them:

Tackle Attendee Must Construct Loyalty

One aspect situation that arose was the delegate want for childcare. Whereas IEEE had no plans to offer this service for attendees, they have been capable of work with Calgary to safe a few references that these mother and father might examine on their very own. This helped make journey potential for some attendees and allowed IEEE to assist in taking good care of members’ wants.
One other space the place Calgary helped IEEE meet attendee wants was at lunch. Lunch was not offered as a part of the convention. This allowed attendees to rearrange for their very own connections and networking however they have been in a metropolis that was unfamiliar to most of them. Not solely did Conferences + Conventions Calgary present a fast map/reference for the world to ensure attendees might discover what they have been in search of, Calgary additionally handed alongside low cost coupons.

Advertising Help for Elevated Attendance

IEEE promoted Calgary on its website whereas the Conferences + Conventions Calgary group created a particular “micro-site” for the convention. Via the micro-site, they showcased a few of the distinctive traits and compelling options of Calgary. Sharing photographs and issues to do, constructed curiosity and helped finally improve attendance.
Initially, IEEE was involved concerning the attainable unfavourable impact on attendance and the power to garner native help for the convention because of the “last-minute” vacation spot change. They anticipated a 20% lower in attendance and have been prepared to simply accept that as a consequence of a last-minute change. Opposite to their early beliefs, they really achieved a +three% attendance improve in comparison with the final a number of years.

Calgary was a good draw.


Flexibility and Agility of Conferences + Conventions Calgary

The employees on the CTCC facility and Conferences + Conventions Calgary recognized various choices for points that arose. They understood IEEE’s wants and all the time had concepts on acceptable options. For instance, when the convention had a session that “outgrew” the room, they have been capable of transfer it with no issues, even very near the beginning time of the convention. This kind of flexibility exceeded expectations and finally made planning a lot simpler, decreasing stress ranges.

The Conferences + Conventions Calgary staff, together with the CTCC group, have been very accommodating in addressing these sudden modifications and have been targeted on the wants of the convention.


Takeaways For Event Planners

  • Don’t low cost a vacation spot that isn’t on the most typical locations listing for conferences. A singular vacation spot like Calgary is more likely to spark viewers curiosity as a result of it’s not a spot with a “been there, done that” status.
  • Choose a vacation spot with straightforward and handy entry. If attendees can’t discover good flight schedules, they could determine to attend till your subsequent convention.
  • Deal with your attendees to what makes your vacation spot particular from a cultural facet. Work with the catering employees to create customized (regional) meals and beverage choices. Poutine was a hit with the IEEE attendees.
  • Assist attendees expertise the town and tradition outdoors of meals and beverage. Host your occasion or banquet in a historically- or culturally-relevant location. IEEE hosted an occasion at Stampede Park, the situation of the well-known Calgary Stampede. When attendees entered, they acquired a White Hat and have been inducted as honorary Calgarians with the White Hat Pledge. Some of these cultural occasions assist a vacation spot stand out for attendees.
  • Be open and trustworthy about your wants and necessities.The native CVB is probably going rather more versatile and capable of meet your wants than you understand. However they don’t learn minds. So deliver them in and permit them that will help you. Make them a member of your planning staff they usually can help within the kinds of group introductions that you want to impress your attendees.



IEEE made a last-minute change to their convention vacation spot and chosen Calgary. Because of the change they have been involved attendance would endure. By working with Conferences + Conventions Calgary, they have been capable of market the brand new location and showcase all that it needed to supply. The pliability of the Conferences + Conventions Calgary employees and their concentrate on convention necessities, allowed them to assist IEEE tackle peripheral attendee wants and shine for his or her visitors. IEEE exceeded their attendance expectations and proclaimed the “conference was a huge success.”