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Can vFairs work for a railways infrastructure industry networking event? The NW&C held its Region Networking Event using the platform, to positive feedback. This is because people got to explore a new way to hold these events and network with one another.
The North West & Central region of the Network Rail is a part of Britain’s overall railway infrastructure management system. It is responsible for railway infrastructure from London, all the way up to Scotland, making it the largest region in the network. It is basically a government institution, funded by the UK’s Department of Transport. Hence, it is responsible for railway repairs, maintenance, tracks, and bridges in its corresponding areas.
Previously, it was a national body, but was devolved into regions two years ago. So, when these regions want to discuss ongoing projects and other matters, the organization needs to bring all the stakeholders in one place. Therefore, it held the NW&C Region Networking Event on the 17th of February, 2022.
The management at NW&C wanted to encourage a collaborative work environment. In addition, they wanted to try new things, and take a progressive and proactive approach to their event. They wanted a leaner, cleaner, and greener event, with a minimal impact on taxpayer money. The Supply Chain Manager at NW&C, Charlotte Blach, had attended an event where vFairs was the technology provider, and had found it quite excellent.
However, the team did its due diligence and looked into a number of different platforms. They picked vFairs because of its cost-effectiveness, features, and networking options.
Initially, there was a lot of pushback to going virtual with this event. This was because of a fear of the unknown and simply required effective change management. Once people were made familiar with the idea and functionality of the vFairs platform, they turned up and were highly appreciative of the event.
The goal of this conference was to promote networking and collaboration among various members of the organization. This meant that executives, managers, and railway workers were all on the same platform to collaborate with and learn from each other. NW&C made this event work well by using a number of features from the many options vFairs offers.
The event agenda had a number of different webinars about a variety of relevant topics. These speaker sessions covered aspects like health, contracts, social value, and licensing. This helped the attendees get more familiar with their industry and have specific questions answered about its various nuances.
There was even a mock trial session, where visitors participated in trials about health and safety regulations. This exercise was meant to help them avoid such situations, and if they do occur, how to handle them in a conducive way for everyone involved.
There were a number of different exhibitors from the railway supply chain industry, among other related industries. These exhibitors had their booths in the exhibit hall, where visitors could interact with booth representatives and explore different educational and skill development opportunities.
These booths came complete with booth schedules, the facility to leave a business card, an overview of the exhibitor’s work, as well as dedicated chat spaces. So, visitors and exhibitors could interact with each other, and also set up meetings.
The chat rooms at the event were quite useful. The public chat room, in particular, received traffic. This is where the audience could interact with each other, and also figure out the lay of the event.
In addition, the chat and networking features of the booths in the exhibit hall also helped visitors get into productive conversations with the exhibitors. They could also ping booth representatives in chat, in case they were busy with seminars or other activities.
As this event was based around networking and knowledge sharing, the swag bag proved to be quite a popular feature. Attendees could save resources from the video vault, the various booths, and from the uploaded files in the event.
Users could save these resources to the swag bag, and then download them in the form of an email to their email addresses. This meant that they could refer to this knowledge whenever they want at a later date, even after the event was over.
The webinars at the event were quite popular, and the visitors were quite engrossed with them. The organization gathered the best industry experts to discuss a wide range of relevant topics. These webinars covered everything from health and safety to the social value of working in Network Rail.
The Q&A sessions were highly appreciated, and the organizers plan to use more gamification features the next time to keep the ball rolling with communication.
Charlotte Blach, Supply Chain Manager at NW&C, stated that the team would definitely use vFairs again for its various virtual events. She added that it is an excellent networking platform, and other regions of the Network Rail would jump on the bandwagon in due course. She also appreciated how the vFairs team took her post-event feedback into account, and has now added features like emojis to the platform.
She said, “You can’t help but be impressed as soon as you enter the platform and see the environment, which is fantastic.”
She also revealed that most of the detractors of the virtual event came around and have now become enthusiastic about the prospect of more events of this type. To make things even better, the team would focus on scheduling, so that the visitors and exhibitors could enjoy every aspect of future events to the fullest.
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