West Midlands Trains operate the two rail franchises: West Midlands Railway (operating local services in the West Midlands) and London Northwestern Railway (operating long-distance services between London and Liverpool). They operate lines between London and Liverpool and regional networks across the West Midlands.
- West Midlands Trains
The annual West Midlands Trains Community Rail Conference is an opportunity for the community rail volunteers to come together and reflect on the last 12 months, an opportunity to share ideas and look into the future.
However, as a result of Covid-19 the usual event format had to be reviewed and it was decided an online event was the only option in 2020.
We were asked to run a virtual event which we titled ‘Restoring Confidence in Rail – the West Midlands Trains Community Rail Conference’. The objectives of this event were:
1 – To take advantage of online events to increase the number of attendees from the previous year
2 – To create a high production quality event – something that really stands out
3 – To showcase some of the great work done by volunteers in 2020
We worked the two Heads of Stakeholder and Communities at West Midlands Trains to create a stand out event. We identified an online event software which allowed more people to attend the event that would have been feasible through an in-person event.
The first thing we did was create an event programme that was full of high-quality speakers and interesting subject matters. This is key to all events to provide a hook for attendees.
We create an event landing page within our online event software that easily allowed attendees to see the event programme and sign-up for the event. We had 271 people register to attend the event.
We set-up a studio in the West Midlands Trains office that allowed us to live stream the event. To enhance the production quality we used green screen technology – really bringing the event to life.
It was important to us that although the attendees would all be joining us from home; we got out onto the rail network before the event. We decided to take our video team down to two stations to show off a small business that had to adapted as a result of low footfall during the pandemic, then to a station whose volunteers had to adapt to safely work within Covid restrictions.
The event was a huge success – we had a 76% show-up rate for the event with over 200 people attending the event. The event was attended by a much wider group of stakeholders than usual – this was made possible due to the event being virtual. This provided a great platform for West Midlands Trains to engage with new volunteers achieving one of their key strategic objectives.
Working with BA Events brings extra people to your Team. We always love our time in planning meetings with Luke as he takes the time to understand what we want our audience to take from the experience. Both Ben and Luke understand how much we value time spent with our Stakeholders & Communities and they share our visions, bringing endless inspiration creativity and can-do spirit to the planning and delivery. Virtual events have been a revelation this year and attendees have loved the content which has been enhanced by advance video footage and superb event hosting on the day. Event attendees know they are truly valued because of the care invested in the delivery of these events and we are endlessly grateful to these young entrepreneurs for the passion they invest in their craft.