Bohn Stafleu van Loghum heeft ook digitaal succes - Jaarbeurs Utrecht

The digital successes of Bohn Stafleu van Loghum

Leonie van Helten and Christa van den Hurk, event coordinator and portfolio manager, had never imagined that the COVID-19 measures would also make their jobs more interesting and meaningful. With about 160 live events, masterclasses and conferences a year, the switch to digital events was quite a mean feat for their employer Bohn Stafleu van Loghum. “In the beginning, it seemed impossible to run everything digitally, but now we can almost do it with our eyes closed.”

An event, masterclass or conference? Bohn Stafleu van Loghum used to organise them all the time. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, everything changed. Leonie van Helten, senior event coordinator: “Initially, we decided to postpone all our events. When it became apparent that this would all last longer than expected, in January, we and the team investigated the options for online events.” Christa van den Hurk, senior portfolio manager, adds: “I can’t give an exact number, but I believe we have already organised around 60 digital events this year. We definitely know our way around now.”

Catering at your desk
The online events of the largest media company for the Dutch healthcare sector are receiving rave reviews. According to the two women, expectation management has contributed to this success. Van Helten: “We are showing the participants (they are more than just viewers) the benefits. It cuts down on travel time and they also get their accreditation points at online events. To make the event even more of an experience, we send them a lunch pack, a notepad, cookies or other conference-related items in advance.”


A bigger podium
Recently, Van den Hurk organised an online event at Jaarbeurs with top speakers on the topic of care for the elderly. Four speakers sharing a stage, with 250 participants watching from home. It was a huge success, with a high rating of 8.3. According to Van den Hurk, Jaarbeurs offered great support: “The team really thinks along with you. For example, we had professor Erik Scherder as a speaker on the brain and the role of music, supported by pianist Cor Bakker. Of course, this means you need a grand piano, all of which was no problem. Jaarbeurs told us: the grand piano is ready for you, and we’ve made the podium a bit bigger.”


Online networking
Van Helten is also enthusiastic about the event venue. “What’s nice about Jaarbeurs is all the different rooms, all of them with a different setting and options. The lighting can be adjusted to different settings, to add depth and atmosphere to your production. At Jaarbeurs, they make sure everything is just right.” Van Helten’s event – From Chain Care to Network Care – was also a great success. The conference, which also focused on networking, was able to take place as usual, online. Jaarbeurs ensured a stable connection to allow participants to network online via a networking carousel. They would be placed in a virtual living room where they could chat to each other.


Professional and quick
The technology behind all of it was totally new for the event coordinator and portfolio manager. As Van den Hurk explains: “We’re not in control, so we depend on someone else to handle the technology. Jaarbeurs has advised experts who develop and arrange everything. Other venues do that too, but not nearly at such a professional level as Jaarbeurs.” Van Helten adds: “As for technology, something will inevitably go wrong. For example, I once had a speaker whose sound kept cutting out. This can be due to a bad connection or a problem in the system. Within no time, something will be done about it. Jaarbeurs picks these issues up well and we are very happy about our cooperation.”
Text by > Claire van Berkum

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