Creating a new online experience for the Motability Scheme’s One Big Day Events
Motability Operations Ltd are the operators of the Motability Scheme, which provides cars, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles, scooters and powered wheelchairs to meet their customers’ disability needs.
For the last 13 years, they have hosted One Big Day and The Big Event, which are nationwide showcases of the vehicles available on the Motability Scheme. With the events unable to take place in person due to government restrictions, Motability Operations were looking for a way to remain connected with their customers, continue to offer a great customer experience and keep the momentum of the event brand going.
At the time of engaging with Rapiergroup, Motability Operations had already chosen a virtual events platform for their 2021 event. Our starting point was to truly understand the functionality and capabilities of the platform, along with detailed analysis of the various personas that make up the traditional in-person event audiences including attendees, exhibitors and partners.
Visitors bring their whole families along to the events and Motability Operations have developed an identity and theme that embraces that. The theme is based on an outdoor festival, presented in a playful cartoon-like way, and Motability Operations even have their own bear mascot, Billy, who is very popular with visitors.
We identified that the real opportunity with going virtual was to create a world where the heart and soul of The Big Event theme could really come to life. Why recreate an exact digital representation of the inside of an exhibition centre, a common sight with online event platforms? The brand experience is one of the key elements that Motability Operations aims to get across at in-person events. This time we could create a user experience that truly immersed visitors in the theme, at the same time creating the slickest and easiest experience for all personas.
All attendees were able to be fully interactive with the exhibitors, as well as the Motability Operations team. A live chat function was available so guests could ask questions direct to the exhibitors, as they would do when attending in person. Exhibitor information was available to download and keep for future reference, and visitors were able to interact in real time during the live presentations held throughout both days. They were able to pose questions to the event host, Helen Dolphin, and receive responses in real time.
To provide an element of gamification, we created a scavenger hunt experience where Billy the Bear lost his picnic items and visitors were invited to find them across the platform, which meant that they were automatically entered into a prize draw. It was a truly immersive experience ensuring that as many elements from the live events as possible were included.
Accessibility was one of the most important elements of the project. To ensure the event was as inclusive as possible for all attendees, we worked together to develop a design language that was accessible whilst still embracing The Big Event brand experience. Everything developed was rigorously tested and revised accordingly throughout the event planning process.
To make sure attendees got the most out of the platform, we created an instructional walk-through of the entire event designed to guide visitors through all the different elements.
Registration numbers, for the live days, reached over 9,200. This number increased as in addition to the main live days the presentations were available to view on demand to anyone who registered for an additional two months.
There will be lessons to learn and future improvements to implement. That is the nature of what we do, it’s our process of continual improvement.
This type of event, an online experience, is no replacement for an in-person event. Attendees want to be able to try out different vehicles to find the one that is perfect for their mobility needs. However, what is clear from the results of this first ever online event for the Motability Scheme, is that an online element does drive engagement and has shown that a blended / hybrid offering enables the widest range of attendees to experience the events in a way that suits them – giving the attendee true control.
The creation and development of this project was an absolute joy to work on.