The Alberta Land Surveyors’ Association (ALSA) is a self-regulating professional association legislated under the Land Surveyors Act (Alberta). The association regulates the practice of land surveying for the protection of the public.
They investigate any complaints against land surveyors, apply disciplinary measures when necessary, and always encourage continuous learning and improvement. They actively contribute to policy conversations to ensure land is managed and governed in the best interests of all Albertans.
ALSA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) would always be the biggest physical event of the year. But for the last two years, they had to host virtual AGMs due to the pandemic. This year, their AGM and webinar conference, hosted over three days, was powered by Airmeet. The conference began with the awards and recognition night on the first evening and ended with a gala event on the last evening.
ALSA explored many options while they searched for an all-in-one virtual event platform to deliver an engaging experience. Brian Munday, the Executive Director of the Association, shared the details of why and how their Association chose Airmeet for their AGM, virtual conference and gala to host an interactive, immersive conference for its members and to possibly connect with other Associations.
Alberta Land Surveyors’ Association’s 112th Annual conference was a 3-day event, where the schedule was planned;
Day 1 – Networking and interaction among attendees
Day 2 – Pre-business meeting and a visit to exhibitor tables, President’s address, committee reports, and financials.
Day 3 – A celebratory gala evening saying goodbye to the outgoing president and welcoming the new president.
Challenges (and solutions)
Challenge 1: Selecting an easy-to-use virtual event platform and transitioning to virtual seamlessly
Alberta Land Surveyors’ Association always conducted their AGMs as an offline event, but due to the COVID pandemic, they had to shift to the virtual way since last year. In 2020, they planned their first online conference on another platform and had a very basic experience. This time they wanted a platform that would offer each one of their attendees an experience that was as close to an in-person event as possible. They wanted the best of both worlds, maximising their business and networking goals.
Brian Munday said, “After researching various virtual platforms for months, we liked Airmeet and finalised. Usually, we start preparing for the AGM for six months or more, say around September. But this time, we had just two months. We wanted to create a virtual space for our 700 member community to meet up, communicate, collaborate and belong. Other platforms we explored were not up to the mark as they were
- Complicated to use & expensive
- Some catered to the social aspects but not to the business aspect
- Some were good for business aspects but missed on the social aspect.”
Brian Munday added, “Airmeet made it a quick to adapt, great experience with the following features:
- Training & Support: There was a great 24×7 support team at Airmeet who acquainted us with the platform and gave us a step-by-step tour. We signed up with Airmeet very expeditiously once we felt that it would work for us. The Airmeet team gave us training and resolved all our complex and basic queries.
- Dry-runs: Some sample Airmeets were organised to get the exact look and feel of the event. Once that was done, we felt more confident to use the platform features. Last year we messed up with a few buttons during the live session. A dry run helped us avoid such hiccups.
- Quick set-up: It was faster and simpler to plan, set up, promote, and host the event from a single platform.
- Hosted multi-day event: For our more senior and technologically challenged members, we didn’t want a long tiring event that ran from morning to evening, exhausting the attendees from being online the whole day. Airmeet allowed us to split the conference over a couple of days, like two half-day meetings and two evening functions. We were able to split it up, and attendees were not online for an extended time.”
Challenge 2: Create a life-like interactive event with superior user experience
ALSA wanted to organise a virtual event but didn’t want to miss out on face-to-face interactions and networking.
“The event attendees appreciated the social aspect of Airmeet”, said Brian. The features that uplifted the Airmeet’s interactive experience were:
- Social lounge – Brian mentioned, “We were amazed with the networking aspect of the event through the social lounge. The lounge was similar to a physical networking ballroom, where the attendees could sway and switch between virtual tables and join exciting conversations. The networking in the lounge started before the meeting, where attendees sat on tables to chit-chat, and the community members got an opportunity to connect with each other after a long time.
The social lounge brought people together, allowed people to reconnect, forge new meaningful connections, and expand their network. It was an opportunity to speedily connect with more people in a short time.
Once the meeting began, we didn’t have to call people to leave the networking area and shift to the conference. The attendees were automatically moved to the meeting room itself. That was a really helpful feature.
The support lounge assisted a few elderly members and cleared their doubts.
- Booth exhibition: Regarding the booth format, Brian said, “We converted tables into sponsor booths for companies where people could drop in and interact. The exhibitors could put up stalls with their logos at the dedicated event spaces. It helped them generate leads and encourage discussions with the audience.”
- Backstage: Brian appreciated the backstage feature saying, “The Keynote speakers were very happy, as they could rehearse their presentation beforehand, and check how it would show up. So, when they went live, it was seamless. With multiple speakers, the flow was smooth with speakers onboarding and exiting at their correct slot timings.”
- Chat, Emojis and Raise Hand + Invite to Stage feature: These features really helped in keeping the audience engaged. Brian said.” For the Awards and Recognition night, everybody appreciated the fact that they could react and express themselves with emojis. As the name was announced, the audience applauded through emojis, wrote congratulatory messages, and gave an online ovation to cover the absence of applauding claps and hoots of a physical event. The raise hand feature was utilised when the treasurer was called on stage to deliver the financial report as a part of the agenda. He could easily come to the stage via the ‘raise hand and invite to stage’ features and present the report. This way, the program looked much more structured and engaging.”
Challenge 2: Create a life-like interactive event with superior user experience
ALSA wanted to add the element of entertainment on the last day of the event with some music and dance performances. They tried a similar thing last year on another platform and it didn’t work due to lag issues.
Brian Munday gladly mentioned, “With the superior HD quality of Airmeet, even the recorded videos looked live without any delays or lags.
When Airmeet ensured delivering high-quality content, we curated recordings from the performers and played the videos at the event flawlessly. It was as live as possible with Airmeet.
The event was also recorded to prepare MOMs, to be shared later with the interested audience, and to keep a record, as per the norms laid down by the legislature.”
Brian Munday shared, “Conducting a successful virtual event is all about making the most of the features offered by the platform. The features and dedicated support by Airmeet helped conduct the event seamlessly.
Although we hope that next year will be a face-to-face event, we would like to keep a virtual component. Our experience with Airmeet was very dynamic and equivalent to a physical show.
People are shy to stand up and speak in a physical event, but they are more comfortable writing something in a chat box. To keep the community engaged throughout the year, we are planning 2-3 events like strategic planning, mid-year checks, and a Pre-annual meeting to discuss the upcoming resolutions.
We will stay with Airmeet, as it is a simple platform for users and attendees, loaded with all the required features.”
Book a demo to see how your association will benefit by hosting virtual events on Airmeet!