Meet Wolves Summit, a tech conference whose pandemic-driven, 8-day switch from physical to virtual resulted in a partnership with Hopin

Meet Wolves Summit, a tech conference whose pandemic-driven, 8-day switch from physical to virtual resulted in a partnership with Hopin
PLANNING A NEW KIND OF EVENT

When Life Gives you Lemons

It's the stuff of nightmares - eight days before your flagship 2000+ live event, a global pandemic strikes, and you've got to organize a fully virtual conference in only a week!

The team at Wolves Summit – one of Europe's largest tech conferences – was more than up to the challenge. They managed to transition to an entirely virtual event in only eight days, and Wolves Summit 11 went ahead on schedule and to a larger audience than ever before.

"We had a few manic calls with different event providers, and we settled on Hopin after a 9pm demo call on a Saturday evening with Johnny himself. It was a unanimous decision after we had that demo call" - Michael Chaffe.

The eight-day turnaround was intense. Having picked their event platform, the first big task was selling their sponsors on the new format, which was a resounding success. Over 70% of physical event sponsors chose to take part in the virtual version of Wolves Summit.

After that, the team's focus switched to content as they had to quickly onboard speakers and plan how to replicate their agenda in a fully virtual environment. The multistage functionality of Hopin helped to accommodate their many speakers, and using the platform's networking tools meant they could still achieve the primary goal of Wolves Summit - startup/investor matchmaking.

PLANNING A NEW KIND OF EVENT

"What Hopin has in essence achieved is unification of audiences globally, tearing down borders between countries, regions and industries to create a gathering place for the global audience to connect and build relationships."

Michael Chaffe.
CEO.
IT’S SHOWTIME

From Survive to Thrive

On the day of Wolves Summit 11 itself, the biggest challenge was managing the event's multiple sessions, speakers, AV technicians, and sponsor booths. As one team member put it, "You essentially have to grow a new set of muscles!"

But the wolf pack persevered, and after 18 months running both their own conferences and third-party events they are one of the region's most experienced virtual and hybrid event teams. Nowadays, they are comfortably running 3-4 big conferences at once seamlessly.

In addition, Wolves became an early member of Hopin's program that connects digital agencies that have been Hopin certified to help customers make the most out of their virtual events.

One particular highlight from Wolves' third-party work includes helping to organize the hybrid element of the Vienna Energy Forum, achieving an attendee NPS of 8.7.

"As the months progressed, we started hosting a number of events for Hopin clients, and that pipeline gradually snowballed to such an extent that two weeks ago I was in Vienna with the team and we hosted the United Nations Industrial Development Organization Vienna Energy Forum" - Michael Chaffe.
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Five Lessons from 18 Months of Virtual Events

After over a year and a half of virtual and hybrid events, the team at Wolves Digital has noticed five critical shifts in the new digital landscape.

  • Reporting + analytics are king - One of the hardest things to measure with physical conferences is the actual ROI they provide. In contrast, hybrid and virtual events offer far more accurate reporting on exactly how many leads sponsors and partners have generated.
  • Sponsors are changing their behavior - While initially, sponsors were hesitant to commit to virtual and hybrid events, they've been forced to change their mindset. This is likely a permanent shift as virtual and hybrid events offer far more targeted sponsorship opportunities. Sponsors can pick the specific sessions and talk topics they want to be involved with, lowering both price and barrier to entry.
  • A global reach is game-changing - In the last Wolves Summit analytics, the team could see that the second-highest geographical location for attendees was America. This would never have been possible without a virtual event platform and fundamentally increases the potential of an event like Wolves Summit.
  • Sales cycles move faster - With traditional conferences, the drive for your next event's delegates starts almost as soon as the previous event finishes. With virtual and hybrid events, the sales cycles are much shorter. Delegates often decide on whether to attend an event only a week or two beforehand.
  • Virtual + hybrid produce lasting content - Having every session recorded and produced to such a high standard offers its own opportunities. After only 18 months, the team at Wolves Summit has so much quality content they are curating it into a library that'll be made available to partners. This could possibly even act as a stand-alone revenue channel via paid subscription packages.

70%

Sponsor retention

80+

Countries represented

5

Stages running simultaneously

"There’s a question whether in a year from now we will still be doing these hybrid events. I think that the past 12 months have really shown that there’s no way to go back to just a physical event when hybrid has opened up so many opportunities".

Diana Florescu.
Marketing & Communications Manager.
HOW IT TURNED OUT

Democratizing + Decentralizing the Events Industry

Having made the switch from physical to virtual so quickly, the Wolves Summit team was relieved to see that quality wasn't affected. Wolves Summit 11 saw an NPS of 8.7 amongst attendees.

The following Wolves Summits 12 and 13 were both fully hybrid events, and Wolves Summit 14 will be the most ambitious yet. Using the past 18 months' experience, the team plans to bring three of Europe's largest tech conferences together under the Wolves umbrella for one massive, decentralized hybrid event.

The desire to innovate with hybrid doesn't stop there - all physical and hybrid delegates for Wolves Summit 14 will be offered speaker opportunities with the aim of democratizing the event. At the end of every session, the first five delegates to indicate their interest in speaking will be sent a private StreamYard link to join the speaker on a virtual stage for an impromptu post-talk roundtable.

Further innovations include ideas to bridge the gap between physical and virtual attendees. For example, at the next Wolves Summit, there will be on-site booths with laptops and webcams for physical delegates to connect with virtual attendees.

Wolves Summit's third-party work also shows no signs of slowing down.

"I’ve actually had first-hand feedback from one of our sponsors for an upcoming event that the decision to use us to host their awards ceremony over some of our competitors in the region is because of the resilience we’ve managed to display over the past twelve months, and that’s directly as a result of having a tool like Hopin at our disposal" - Michael Chaffe.

8.7

Average attendee NPS

2,400

Connections between startups and VCs

1,000+

Startup applications

75%+

Session retention rate

40+

Events organized so far

"The USP of our event is startup investor matchmaking, and now post-COVID thanks to Hopin we can connect investors from San Fransisco with a Belarusian SaaS solution."

Michael Chaffe.
CEO.

Lots of virtual audience buzz

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