Has the meeting industry changed forever?
We keep hearing that the meeting industry will never be the same. Many programs have looked shift to virtual offerings during this continued time of restrictions on travel and in person gatherings. However, what happens when travel restrictions start to loosen and as countries and communities open back up?
Say you have a National Sales Meeting at the end of 2020 that brings together your employees from across the globe to one central location to share ideas. provide education and networking. Restrictions may have eased that you are able to have the regional team at the event or those within the country but not those around from the globe. In these uncertain times, how do you continue to build that connectivity globally. We are unsure when international air travel will rebound and attendees willingness to travel to conferences. As countries, re-open and allow meetings locally with proper social distancing or health safety parameters in place it allows for some but not all employees to gather.
Enter Hybrid. the next buzz word in the industry after fully virtual events and pivot. The Wikipedia definition is, a hybrid event is a tradeshow, conference, unconference, seminar workshop or other meeting that combines a “live· in person event with a “virtual” online. This is a great option as those that can still gather to come together. and you can still engage your employees around the globe.
This allows us to use what we have learned with virtual meetings and weave them into the live offering. However, be aware that managing a Hybrid meeting provides many opportunities, but also its own unique set of challenges.
There are some things to consider as you evaluate this as a viable option:
- The objective of the event and what you want to achieve to consider this a success • What virtual platform to use that will serve both audiences
- For a global hybrid meeting, ensure that you are able to engage at an appropriate time of day that can accommodate all of your attendees
- Event design should incorporate both in person local content and virtual components effectively
- Engage and connect with audiences to keep them focused and make sure that it is the same across both in-person and virtual. The use of technology, mobile apps, polls or virtual question and answer should be engaging and is applicable on both
- Speakers should be trained on virtual platforms, even if presenting live. and receive permission to record to share with other geographical locations, and have moderators for both platforms
- In-person and virtual breakout rooms could be used to build collaborative discussions
What Are The Benefits Of Hybrid Meetings?
There are many benefits to planning a hybrid meeting, from increased participation, potential new participation, archived content for repurposing later and also for inclusion. With a hybrid meeting model, you can engage those that might otherwise not be able to attend due to travel or financial restrictions. Also. with a hybrid model you are able easily able to support those that speak different languages or are hard of hearing by including an audio translation and transcription service easily on the virtual platform. Hybrid meetings will become the new normal as we continue to look for ways to elevate the experience and expand our audiences.
Need help evaluating your options?
Do you need help evaluating your options and building out your strategic meeting programs? Send us an email at email@example.com or give us a call for all your incentive, conference and event management needs from designing, planning and executing your hybrid, live or virtual program we have got you covered.