Western Veterinary Conference Takes on RFID to Track Attendee Behavior
In its 87th year, Western Veterinary Conference evolves with the times just like the dynamic industry it’s serving. For its annual event that took place Feb. 16-19 at Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, it made strides into the RFID technology and Amazon-inspired marketing model for its continued education offerings, as well as revealed its new branding, to stay on the cutting edge.
“It’s about having an accessible, customized and personalized experience,” said WVC CEO David Little. “If we can enhance that, it makes our attendee experience more valuable.”
One of the steps on that front has been the introduction of the RFID technology in the badges to help create a more detailed picture of those experiences and to use predictive analytics in the future to cross market products and services, particularly when it comes to continuing education.
“We think of it as the Amazon model,” Little said. “If we see that an attendee went to several ultrasound sessions, we can recommend the right lab. Data analytics allows us to see who’s engaging with what forms of CE and provide access to additional opportunities.”
In the future, he predicts that RFID will also enhance the experience on the showfloor with targeted messaging and materials.
Cross promotion is going to come particularly handy with WVC expanding its educational offerings into WVC On the Road – satellite programs in cities around the country, WVC Academy – a year-round, hands- on training at the Oquendo Center in Las Vegas , and a digital campus blended learning experience, where attendees work with content online and get hands-on training during the conference or one of the programs.
“We’re looking for different ways to touch the vet professionals and not just through the annual conference,” Little said.
Introducing the new forms of CE throughout the year account for a slight dip in attendance at the conference, but Little said that WVC actually touched more vet professionals during the year than in the past.
In 2016, the conference will take place in early March and will no longer run concurrently to Magic Market Week, part of which also takes place at Mandalay Bay Convention Center and adds serious crowds to taxi lines and restaurants.
It also will be moving to the main trade show hall on the convention center’s much larger first floor, which will allow the show to grow.
“Our exhibit space has been maxed out for several years now. We have a waiting list for when we move downstairs,” Little said. It’s currently at about 117,000 net square feet with 500 exhibitors and about 14,000 attendees.
Along with opportunities, the move creates a challenge that fewer attendees will make it to the exhibit floor from their classes. Veteran exhibitor Phil Taylor with Imex Veterinary said, “Exhibits and education will be separated even further. Already, unless attendees have an interest in a specific product, it’s hard for them to make it down here. ”
Little acknowledges this common concern among the exhibitors and feels confident about delivering traffic. He said, “We’re looking into unique ways to entice people to come.”