With over 15,000 students, 370 student groups and 140 event locations, there was no shortage of student activity on The University of Louisville campus.
Before switching to Localist, Louisville's online events calendar just couldn't keep up. It was running on open source software, launched back in 2002. For eleven long years, it had effectively been frozen in time. The clunky interface, lack of search capabilities, and missing social network integration left the calendar as an unused resource in the community.
Louisville implemented Localist in October 2013 and immediately the benefits became apparent. Traffic to the calendar skyrocketed, event attendance went up, and managing events was no longer a headache. Using Localist, the university lived up to its slogan: "It's Happening Here."
After coming on board, the team at Louisville was introduced to Emily Hite, a personal calendar consultant at Localist. Emily is available as a part of the support team to help drive the implementation process.
The Louisville team began by organizing the calendar content they already had, like events, venues and groups. They also made decisions on how users would sign into the calendar, and how they would structure content taxonomy, like event categories and target audiences. Thorough resources and support documentation were made available for exploration.
Louisville's web team converted their current brand to a Localist SILK wrapper in just a few minutes. SILK is a slick tool that allows Localist to automatically sync the look and feel of a customer's brand. This means the audience won't feel like they're being taken to another site when they want to learn about events.
Louisville created a Filter called Event Types, and added various categories like Arts, Exhibit, Dance, Film, and Music. They also created three Communities for each UofL campus: Belknap, Health Sciences Center, and Shelby. Communities allow Events, Places and Groups to be segmented by different geographical locations.
They also added Custom Fields that optionally appear on any events: Contact Name, Phone Number and Email. This is so users know who the point person is for the event being shown.
Filters and Custom Fields are a way to attach more information to Events, Places and Groups to ensure audiences always have all the details about any one event.
Then the team added all the campus venues that would potentially host events, called Places in Localist.
Next, Louisville used Localist's Group pages to showcase the events of their 370 student groups.
After the basic structure of the content was in place, it was finally time to upload the events!
Luckily, what is typically the most time consuming step took no time at all. Along with feeds from other systems, Louisville used Localist's Bulk Event Uploader to add thousands of events in a single step.
Louisville's team started to test integrations with systems they already used, like single sign-on, other departmental calendars, room schedulers, and group management systems. Localist is compatible with virtually every external system under the sun.
The Louisville team launched their calendar with their own custom domain, events.louisville.edu.
To keep their students, faculty, alumnae and community up-to-date with what's important, popular and new, Louisville uses Localist's automated newsletter feature.
Louisville also used Localist's widget builder to embed events across their entire website, such as The College of Arts and Science's homepage.
After launching, Louisville event administrators continued to manage events while Localist automates the rest, such as pulling in feeds, gathering trending events, creating RSVP lists and sending reminders to users.
Finally, every Enterprise version of Localist comes with Tailgate, a native mobile events app, which allowed Louisville to publish their very own app in the App Store! Like Localist, Tailgate adopted Louisville's brand to compliment their online calendar. All events on Louisville's calendar automatically appear in their Tailgate app, called UofL Events.
Searches for events hosted by Louisville, previously completely invisible to search engines, now appear in the top results. Even if the user isn't searching for keywords like "louisville" or "events," Louisville-hosted events appear at the top.
Any one event can have dozens of pages associated with it, all indexed by every search engine. Each new page is a new opportunity for discovery, and it's no extra work for the Louisville team.
Our new event calendar will be the central website for discovering what to do and where to go at UofL. Whether you're out and about or at your desk, you're only a click away from getting involved.