Double gold for Austria Center Vienna at Stevie® Awards

The Austria Center Vienna has won a pair of Gold Stevie® Awards, taking first place in the Covid-19-related Communications or PR Campaign of the Year sub-category for the testing and vaccination lanes operated on behalf of the City of Vienna, while the Hybrid Circle was named Brand Experience of the Year. The venue will receive its awards at an online ceremony on 24 May.

“I’m delighted that our comprehensive communications campaign for the testing and vaccination lanes operated on behalf of the City of Vienna is held in such high regard. We quickly realised that this crisis would also bring about fundamental changes in the event industry, so in parallel we put our heart and soul into developing innovative hybrid event formats. And the Hybrid Circle has enabled us to take interactive customer events to a whole new level,” said Susanne Baumann-Söllner, managing director of the Austria Center Vienna.

The venue, in Austria’s capital set up Europe’s first Covid-19 testing lane in September 2020. Originally intended as a safety measure for large-scale events, the facility at the venue grew to become Austria’s largest testing and vaccination centre.

In contrast to its core business of staging large-scale international events, in this mega-project the Austria Center Vienna focused on communications aimed at a target group that it traditionally has had little contact with: the residents of Vienna. A clearly defined communications strategy was devised in consultation with the client, the City of Vienna, and implemented in partnership with the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Vienna. The communications package ranged from initial information posted on the Austria Center Vienna website, clear signage and guidance systems on site, support for media events and proactive communication on social media.

The campaign’s success is reflected in the figures: over 3.6m visitors to the testing and vaccination facility and 5m-plus website visits.

The Hybrid Circle was developed in co-operation with partners Media Apparat, Flave and AV-Professional and provided a new format, Baumann-Söllner explained. It involved a 360° set-up with several cameras and ultra-large screens creating a unique experience for all participants, both at the venue and online.

“The Hybrid Circle shows how we can rethink conventional event formats and combine them with hybrid elements to not only overcome geographical barriers, but also to usher in a new era in event production,” said Andreas Göltl, MD of Media Apparat.

The Stevie Award judges called Hybrid Circle “an attractive and integrative format which will definitely have a place in events long after the pandemic”. The panel also cited the “first-rate implementation of the hybrid concept and genuine added value compared to pure in-person events”, as well as “the future-proof nature of the new format”.

“It’s important to us that the Hybrid Circle is easily scalable. This makes it a meaningful addition to both large-scale conferences and exclusive discussion formats with fewer participants. These plaudits will spur us on to develop even more hybrid formats tailored to the needs of our customers,” Baumann-Söllner noted.

The Stevie® Awards are targeted at companies in Europe’s German-speaking countries and entries are invited from all countries where German is an official language. Organisations from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Switzerland submitted entries in 200 categories this year. See the full list of 2022 Award winners here


Photo: Susanne Baumann-Söllner in front of the testing and vaccination centre – ©, Ludwig Schedl