It’s a Hybrid event, please hold that venueWritten by Paul Cook Jan 29 2015
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It’s a Hybrid event, please hold that venue
In recent years we have experienced the emergence of hybrid events within communication plans of many organizations. After all there are several key advantages to holding a hybrid event which brings together delegates at a physical location(s) and delegates who join by connecting online through a computer/device/mobile phone. Included in these advantages are lower costs for the company organising the event as they don’t need to bring everyone to one location and therefore they save on food, drink and accommodation costs plus there is the added bonus of hybrid events being CSR friendly which for some companies is a critical factor when it comes to event decision making.
Having decided to hold a hybrid event there are now some basic questions to answer in terms of your choice of venue. What type of venue will you choose? In general terms the newer purpose built Conference Centres would at first glance seem to be the ideal answer. Especially the academic venues as they are geared around the whole business of learning and training and hence tend to come with the latest learning technology.
But does a conference centre/academic venue have the extras that you may need such as accommodation for your delegates? Are the venues able to offer food and beverage without difficulty?
You could consider a unique venue? Will the unique venue be able to deliver to your hybrid event requirements? Historic/Stately Homes could certainly provide a very different ‘feel’ for your hybrid event especially if you have a large on line audience taking part, but would you struggle with issues of enough bandwidth for the webstream? There are ways around this if this proves to be the problem but these considerations are worth bearing in mind.
You could of course, look at holding your hybrid event in a hotel and maybe that works for you? It could make the whole issue of food and beverage, delegate transportation etc and convenience that much easier but will the hotel be able to live up to your hybrid event expectations?
Once you have found your perfect venue, or you think you have, you will need to understand what your main (plenary usually) room is going to look like and then as importantly how accessible it will be for the delivery of the production kit that will be needed.
A room that has chandeliers, pillars and other large objects that will affect the line of sight for the camera crew and the web streaming will create additional challenges that you could find it hard to work around. You will have added another degree of complexity if you are unaware of potential hazards that are inherent in the room.
Ask the venue precisely what is to be found in the room and more than that get them to show you. Then send photos of the room to your audio visual and web streaming provider(s). It will enable them to understand what you are really working with and whether they see any issues. It is best to check out potential issues as far in advance as possible so that alternative plans if needed can be made. The expertise of your audio visual, web streaming provider and venue have to work together to ensure that you end up with the right result for your hybrid event. They all have dependency upon each other and if you are in any doubt that the venue will work for your hybrid event then you really will need to hold off on the venue until you have been assured that the event you envisage can be delivered. After all a hybrid event is a production and does require some extra planning to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Paul is a Consultant, Designer and Facilitator of meetings. He is immersed in the events industry through his work as the driving force of Planet Planit and creating new initiatives in the specialism area of hybrid and virtual events.