How one Ricoh Arena conference is smashing attendance records despite COVID-19

The National Sales Conference, that was born at Ricoh Arena, is set to smash its attendance record this year thanks to a digital strategy to overcome COVID-19 disruption.

A national conference that was born at Ricoh Arena is set to smash its attendance record later this year after overcoming the disruption caused by COVID-19.

The National Sales Conference – which supports professionals in the global sales industry – is transforming this year’s event onto an online virtual platform. 

While the move was influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions, it has allowed the organisers to build both an online audience and digital confidence before their scheduled hybrid return to the Ricoh Arena in 2021.

This year’s event has seen a 22 per cent increase in ticket sales versus the total number sold last year, with the organisers pointing to their quick adoption of a digital strategy as the reason for the uptake.

The strategy included creating two separate online event formats – the NSC Webinar Series and The Digital Event Series – that were hosted in the build-up to this year’s virtual flagship November conference, and were designed to identify digital aspects that can be built into the future physical conferences at the Ricoh Arena.

The new strategy means the event can secure its long-term future of a physical conference while adding new delegates thanks to its digital reach.

The company behind the event, Lincoln West, said their new online strategy has transformed them to a year-round, multiple event company, having delivered 37 webinars between April and July.

Steve Lindsey, an event organiser, said: “We had two choices when lockdown was initially announced: hope and pray that restrictions would be lifted in time for our annual conference, or go about trying to evolve what we already have. We chose the latter.

“Despite the success we have had with our online activity, physical meetings are still important for our main annual event, and, all being well, we are looking forward to returning to [the] Ricoh Arena”.

Paul Michael, from the Ricoh Arena, praised the resilience of the show’s organisers, saying that he hoped their movie would “inspire other event organisers to adopt a similar approach to get through what is a very challenging time.”