WVC’s annual conference featured new learning options, optimized traffic, and greater attendee engagement.
For more than 90 years, WVC (formerly Western Veterinary Conference) has been dedicated to providing quality continuing education to the veterinary and human medical communities through an array of learning styles and environments. Its annual five-day conference, held in Las Vegas, attracts some 14,000 attendees participating in 1,000 continuing education hours in such areas as avian and exotics, equine, small animal, veterinary technology, and practice management.
While WVC’s annual conference is a highlight for veterinary professionals, WVC was determined to further enhance the attendee experience in 2018. With state-of-the-art facilities at its disposal, the organization recognized the need for continued innovation to justify attendee patronage and to satisfy exhibitor loyalty.
This was particularly critical with the conference’s planned move from Mandalay Bay’s second-level exhibit hall to the first level, which presented a new layout challenge. Instead of reproducing its second-floor layout, WVC wanted to use the opportunity to better understand attendee behavior, interest patterns, and traffic analytics. It was committed to transforming the new space into a better experience for attendees, and one that would translate into an enhanced lead-generation opportunity for vendors.
The ultimate goal for WVC: to keep its annual conference more relevant than ever, and to ensure it continued its successful run as a must-attend event on the veterinary calendar while making the most of the conference’s exhibit hall move.
The Learning Lounge featured “bite-sized” continuing education sessions to drive traffic to the exhibit floor.
WVC turned to its longtime conference partner GES to address these challenges. As WVC’s official services contractor and audio visual provider, GES already provided everything from creative services and graphic production to furnishings, installation and dismantling, customer exhibit design, shipping, and warehousing.
Rely on facts and data
For this critical assignment in show floor optimization, GES relied on data collected from heat mapping and exhibit hall traffic studies, which had been conducted over the previous five years. The measurement services and technology analyzes attendee movements and demographics. Metrics were gathered to inform optimal density distribution, and to identify the exhibits and amenities that could best drive traffic in the new layout. When it came time to expand and move into a larger exhibit hall in 2016, GES harnessed this data to optimize the show floor. Realizing that brand name exhibitors had the biggest attraction, WVC and GES designed exhibitor-sponsored activities to draw traffic to specific areas within the hall and placed brands to anchor the floor, allowing a symmetrical distribution of hospitality areas helped to balance the density across the floor, providing benefit to all exhibitors.
Develop creative experiences
GES, which managed the conference’s 35-plus concurrent education sessions, designed a Learning Lounge featuring “bite-sized” continuing education sessions and 20-minute “TED-type” talks to drive increase dwell time on the exhibit floor.
"With over 35 concurrent sessions over five days at WVC, it’s very intense. Having that correct partner that can lead us down the path of success is super important."
- Alex Sandler, Director of Events and Services WVC
Working with GES, WVC was able to add more interactive attendee amenities and learning opportunities, eliminate dead zones, and increase traffic for exhibitors. The conference benefited as well from a single-source provider in GES, offering an efficient, streamlined avenue of communications. This culminated in a win-win-win situation for all involved.
- Enhanced floor design: Through a data-driven understanding of how attendees use the show floor and what draws their interest, GES maximized floor design and suggested expanding popular areas, adding valuable new experiences, and removing underutilized features. The enhanced design included redeploying unused exhibit space with interactive experiences, such as a sponsored “Puppy Bowl” that increased zone density by 40 points.
- Increased dwell time: In 2017, WVC added education to the floor by introducing its Learning Lounge, placing it in an area that was only lightly visited in previous years. This strategic placement of the interactive learning environment increased zone density by 14 points.
- Valuable insights: GES conducted research and post-analysis into the effectiveness of the new layout to understand what worked and what areas needed additional improvement. These insights inform WVC’s goal of year-over-year innovation and improvement. After applying these key learnings to their new layout, they saw a 14 point (or 24%) increase in average zone visitation, well above the industry average in the first year in the new hall. They’ve maintained this increase in average zone density since the move.
- Optimized experience: WVC was able to add more interactive attendee amenities and learning opportunities, eliminate dead zones, and increase traffic for exhibitors.
"This year’s event gave us an opportunity to celebrate 90 years of tradition and excellence in education, [and] also provide a vibrant platform to share experiences with colleagues, discover the latest products and services, and reignite our collective passion for serving the health and welfare of animals."
- Dr. W. Mark Hilton, President of WVC
GES PROVIDED SERVICES
- Official services contractor
- Audio Visual
- Speaker and content management
- Conference app execution
- Custom exhibit design, build and rental
- Measurement services
- Show floor optimization
- Creative services
- Graphic production
- Installation & dismantle
- Material handling