Each year, more than 15,000 GI professionals flock to Digestive Disease Week® (DDW), the world’s largest gastroenterology meeting. With hundreds of educational sessions, an expansive exhibit floor, and numerous events to navigate, DDW has traditionally provided attendees with several resources to plan their time at the meeting.
In 2017, TriStar partnered with DDW to create a single-source publication with meeting news, educational schedules, and exhibitor information printed in three newspaper sections. Prior to the introduction of the single-source publication, DDW printed a full agenda book, a schedule-at-a-glance, a booklet-sized exhibit guide, as well as a daily newspaper. The agenda book transitioned to an e-book in 2016, in part because of print costs.
“I think one of the challenges that DDW has, and a lot of other meetings have, is that we offer so many resources and options to our attendees,” said Crystal Young, Senior Director of Program Operations for DDW. “The single-source publication allowed us to streamline the resources that attendees have to plan their time at DDW.”
Crystal was one of several DDW staff members who had to be comfortable with the single-source publication before it would be introduced. We asked her, Diedra Crawford, DDW Industry Sales and Operations Director, and Rachel Shubert, DDW Director of Public Relations, about the transition and how it affected the attendee experience at DDW 2017.
What were your concerns about switching to single-source publication?
Crystal: We had just transitioned our final program book to an online version so we were concerned about reintroducing a printed schedule at our meeting. During that transition, we also introduced a mobile app. We wanted attendees to continue using the app and were worried they wouldn’t have the most up-to-date information with the printed publication. One of the things I thought was really helpful with the single-source was the time flexibility. We were able to provide TriStar our session information very close to the meeting, so the schedule was a pretty accurate reflection of our program.
How were three sections beneficial from a sales perspective?
Diedra: The single-source gives us more advertising placement capability. It allows the TriStar team to package advertising into one, two, or all three sections depending on what the advertiser is trying to accomplish with their message. It gives the TriStar team more flexibility to meet the exhibitor needs. And having the ability to print closer to the event gives us more flexibility with the insertions into each section and gives the exhibitor more time to develop their artwork.
How was the content affected by the introduction of a single-source publication?
Rachel: It gave us additional flexibility. We thought about each section and how we could incorporate editorial into each so that the front pages were really engaging and offered interesting content if an attendee just read one section. In the program section, we highlighted sessions that would be of general interest to all attendees. In the exhibit section, we had some fun with it and added some lighter content, like things to do in the city. We really liked that type of content and that we were able to bring in pieces that were a little bit lighter across all three sections.
Diedra: It also gave us a lot more internal flexibility to ensure we weren’t repeating information over and over again.
What was the attendee response to the single-source publication?
Crystal: Due to a hiccup with registration, I encountered an attendee who wasn’t able to login to the mobile app to see the personalized schedule she had created. I was able to walk her over, pick up a copy of the single-source, and show her that all of her sessions were organized by time so she could quickly find a session she wanted to attend. I actually found her later in the poster hall and asked her if she had the opportunity to login again to the mobile app but she said, ‘I don’t even need that, I’ve got this paper.’
Rachel: It was really exciting for staff walking around the convention center to see so many people picking up their issues, reading through the different sections, and circling sessions they wanted to attend. I talked to a few attendees who found a lot of value by using it alongside the meeting app. They found a way to use both resources for planning purposes to streamline their experience onsite.