Case Study: How 500 Festival retained all of their sponsors with a virtual expo, while more than doubling their reduced staff’s bandwidth using EventHub.
About 500 Festival
Based in Indianapolis, IN, the 500 Festival is a non-profit organization designed to organize civic events to celebrate the Indianapolis 500. Since its inception in 1957, the festival has grown to be one of the largest events in the nation. It draws over 500,000 attendees and participants to their festival activities throughout the month of May each year.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented a number of challenges to a large event like 500 Festival. In order to protect the health and safety of everyone involved, the festival would either have to be cancelled or turned into a virtual event. Additionally, pandemic layoffs meant the 500 Festival would have to be planned and carried out with only about half of their normal staff.
500 Festival has used EventHub to support their live, in-person event for several years and also used EventHub to get through the pandemic with our virtual expo in 2021. As a multi-year client, their team was very familiar with the time and bandwidth savings that EventHub’s exhibitor management tool-suite provide. Since their 2021 programming would have to be carried out with a reduced staff, they trusted EventHub to offer a powerful yet scalable virtual solution.
“With the switch from an in-person to a virtual event, the amount of physical signage and face-to-face interactions [between sponsors and] participants would not be the same. Therefore, we capitalized on the various advertising opportunities the platform has to offer. We had partner logos scrolling at the top of our event landing page. We placed partner commercial ads on our main stage. And we offered as many live-chat sessions as possible for our exhibitors. Being able to offer these various advertising opportunities helped gain partner and exhibitor support as I began to pitch the platform to them.” — Claire Collett, Program and Event Coordinator for the 2021 500 Festival. EventHub’s core platform offers a ton of time-saving features such as digital sponsor and vendor applications, paperwork collection and review, payments, and logistics including interactive event maps for booth layout and assignment.
500 Festival Objectives from the 2021 Virtual Expo
- Attract vendors and sponsors that support the 500 Festival’s mission of producing life-enriching events and programs that celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500 and foster a positive impact on the city of Indianapolis and the state of Indiana
- Provide partners and exhibitors with as many branding opportunities as possible within the hybrid platform
- Allow the organization to engage with participants and partners at a reasonable cost
- Provide a seamless experience for both participants and partners while operating with a limited staff
- Replicate the in-person experience as closely as possible for partners and attendees
Solution: 500 Festival used the EventHub sponsorship platform, plus their virtual expo, to plan and execute their annual event in May of 2021.
“EventHub made it easy to track invoices and we saw huge benefits to having a live exhibitor map. In a COVID year we were able to maintain our existing partnership relationships and come as close as possible to replicating the in-person experience.” –Glenn Amos, Program and Event Director for 500 Festival
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