Bay Tree VA

How the Bay Tree VA team set the standard for managing online events

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For many organisations online conferences are here to stay.  The reduced travel, cost of accommodation and venue hire, coupled with a new confidence in tech, make online events a cost- effective option. This case study demonstrates how Bay Tree VA has been able to support clients with the transition to great effect.

The Client

The UK Evaluation Society (the “Society”) is a membership organisation that supports the future of evaluators by promoting and improving the theory, practice, understanding and utilisation of evaluation.  Membership benefits include regular opportunities to network with fellow professionals and regular training. Their flagship event each year is the annual conference in London which attracts over 200 delegates.

Image of multiple delegates at a conference online

The Challenge

The Society needed to move their in-person annual conference online due to COVID. The structure of the 3 day conference involved 45 presentations and three keynote addresses. Having identified Hopin as the preferred event platform, the next question was –  who in the Society could make the event happen? Who could manage the tech, support the speakers, moderate the interaction between speakers and delegates etc.  Whilst the Virtual Business Manager and Society Administrator would play a key part, the task was too great in addition to their everyday roles. The Society also wanted to try and retain the informal and friendly nature of the conference with personal touches despite the delegates and speakers being remote and not having a chance to network face to face.  

The Solution

In order for the Society to have complete confidence, the priority several weeks before the conference was training. The Bay Tree team provided Hopin training sessions to the speakers and moderators. This was 1:1 or in small groups; practical sessions to make sure presenters were confident with the tech, testing cameras and audio, sharing screens, running video and other visuals. 

“This training was instrumental to the smooth running of the conference itself. We got to know the presenters very well and they knew they could rely on us to support them” said Sharon Scotcher, Bay Tree VA.

For the conference itself, the Bay Tree team were introduced as ‘Producers’.  A Producer would introduce each session, remind delegates about housekeeping, and how to use the various functions on Hopin for questions and comments. 

“The team really enjoyed the role of Producer. We were always on hand and could deal with any tech issues or problems as they arose without any disruption to the speakers” adds Sharon.

The Result

Emmeline Henderson “Well, being an Evaluation Society, we do, of course evaluate everything and we are delighted with the success of our 2020/21 conference. We collated some in depth feedback from delegates who were very satisfied with the event. Comments such as “The Producers were amazing” and “It was a good, well managed, well facilitated event with excellent technical support” give credit to the Bay Tree team. We couldn’t have done it without them.

Would we recommend the Bay Tree ‘Producers’ to other companies? Most definitely, they are completely at ease with the tech and present themselves in a very professional way.”

Emmeline Henderson, UK Evaluation Society

If you are considering the next move for your conference, speak to Fiona Portway, Director at Bay Tree about the online option, using the Bay Tree team to manage the event on your behalf. Not only can they provide training and manage the tech, but also liaise with delegates from the bookings to the post event feedback.

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Email Fiona Portway at

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