How Venues Can Prepare for the Future of Hybrid Events

How Venues Can Prepare for the Future of Hybrid Events

There is nothing quite as challenging and rewarding as hybrid events.

In event organization, picking the right spot was never an easy task. But now, you have the added pressure of providing an amazing virtual experience too.

According to a recent survey, 90% of people believe that virtual and hybrid events are the future of all events.

Meaning if you want to make your event a SUCCESS, HYBRID is the only answer.

That is why event organizers are now gearing up to plan and execute the perfect gathering for attendees, both in-person and virtual.

They are learning to change as new circumstances unfold. And adapting to hybrid events. 

Because in this era of uncertainty, your ability to adapt can make or break your event. 

So, 

What Are Hybrid Events?

As the name suggests, hybrid events are… 

A mixture of virtual and in-person meetups. 

These entail a live audience gathering in one place, plus live streaming or broadcasting of the event for the audience watching at home. 

That means events can now host more people than they previously could. 

Related: What is and What is Not a Hybrid Event. 

Why Do Venues Have to Change for Hybrid Events?

General Manager of Monterey Conference Center, Doug Phillips, says, 

“Research continues to show that hybrid meetings will be with us for some time as an added safety measure.”

The picture may look a little grim for event organizers. In reality, that is not the case.

Hybrid events are just the next logical step in event planning evolution. They are the next phase, combining the best elements of both virtual and in-person events. 

They provide the flexibility to the audience to choose what suits their needs the most. Thus, making them a huge success with all attendees.

How Will Venues Embrace the Shift to Hybrid Events?

“We heard in March that E3 was canceled and we had to pivot towards a digital experience, there was of course a sense of panic. But at the same time, we looked at it as an opportunity. It was an opportunity for us to really invest in the virtual experience. Try to create content different than we normally do for a live event, create content that resonates with this broad audience, and content that allows people to create their own journey into our universe,” says Director of International Events, Leon Winkler Ubisoft.

This is a great example of how events have to embrace change and work with the opportunity at hand.

Venues can still continue to use their space for the on-ground part of the meetings. But some tweaks are definitely needed to level up the visual component of the venue site.

The stage and podium will still be the center of attention. However, much thought will have to be put into setting up the right audio and visual equipment around the area. 

The audience at home needs to have an enjoyable experience. But this should not be at the expense of the people at the venue. 

So, while designing and planning the event, the interests of both audiences will be paramount in decision-making.

How Must Venues Prepare for the Future of Hybrid Events?

The results of the Pulse Survey done by NorthStar Meetings Group revealed that over 54% of meeting organizers intend to arrange live events that also contain an online element. An additional 22% are also planning to use a hybrid model for their meetings.

So, to accommodate this surge in the number of hybrid events, venues need to be prepared to take on the extra load. 

Here are some steps your venue can take to prepare for your next hybrid event:

Using High-Quality Audio

Venue in hybrid events
Source: Unsplash

If you want the events at your venue to go seamlessly, good quality audio devices, microphones, and speakers must be your top priority. 

That is because both your audiences at the venue and home need to hear everything clearly to have an unhindered experience.

At the venue site, presenters can opt between wired or wireless microphones. 

However, wireless lavalier microphones provide the most professional look. They are also convenient to use since there is no hassle of wires. 

Furthermore, you will also need to hire a dedicated sound engineer and operator. 

Their job will be to ensure proper handling of microphones to avoid any unnecessary disturbance during the discussions and Q&A section.

Production Value

While the in-person attendees can move around and switch their places at the event. Your virtual audience doesn’t have that luxury.

50.7% of executives believe all future live events will have a virtual component as per Marketing Charts.

That means, your venue will have to put in extra effort to keep the at-home audience engaged. And the most effective way to do this is by using great camera work. 

It is not about just recording with one or two cameras. 

We are talking about a full-fledged broadcast-quality production setup

Production Value in hybrid events
Source: Unsplash

This will involve everything from close-up shots of the presenter to the panoramic view of the venue. The cameras used for filming must be compatible with the virtual streaming service in use.

So, you will need to assemble a camera crew who knows how to work on each angle of your site. 

Trained Hybrid Team

Training and education have now become an essential part of the event management industry. 

With the upgrade to virtual and hybrid events, the existing event teams also need to upgrade their skill-set.

Besides providing training to your existing staff, it is also wise to consider whether you need an extra pair of hands on the team. 

Because hybrid events need hybrid skills.

Adding specialized individuals, such as event technologists and digital event managers, will enable your venue to stay on top of all trends. 

Also, the technical staff on the site will make sure everything is running smoothly without any glitches or disruption. This will, in turn, create an engaging and exciting experience for all your clients and attendees.

Safety Checks

“Asking the question ‘are we doing enough’ regularly and repeatedly is critical,” says Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead at World Health Organization.

Event venues are no exception to this. 

image6 1 - How Venues Can Prepare for the Future of Hybrid Events

With the pandemic on the loose, there is a great deal at risk for both event organizers and the venue management. 

That is why there is a greater requirement for transparency and communication in hybrid events compared to on-site ones.

55% of event organizers confess that safety is their biggest hurdle in planning in-person events, according to the Event Manager Blog.

Before the event, all attendees will have to be informed about the safety protocols in place, on-site. Records will have to be maintained to assist in an event of a breach of protocol. 

Besides this, the venues will also have to invest in installing sanitizing booths and devices like the UVC222 by Health Inc. These measures will ensure greater safety for the attendees and the venue staff.

Ensuring Great Connectivity

hybrid event connectivity

Until the COVID-19 situation clears up, most of the guests at hybrid events will be virtual. 

It means that all events at your venue will rely heavily on having a fast and stable internet connection. 

To achieve great connectivity, you can hook up your event systems with a plugged-in internet line. Because wireless internet isn’t cut out to handle such a huge load of information.

The wired internet line should only be dedicated to streaming events and nothing else. That’s because too much traffic on one line can slow down the speed of the internet. 

Budget Forecasting

Since hybrid events are the way to go, your venue will now have to budget more generously

That is because you are essentially planning for not one but two events at the same time.

image1 - How Venues Can Prepare for the Future of Hybrid Events

So, expect to see some new expense heads in your forecast budget such as hybrid technologies, virtual streaming costs, hybrid event management, etc.

How Can Venues Measure the Success of Hybrid Events?

Key performance indicators or KPIs are benchmarks that determine whether an event was a success or failure.

The KPIs for hybrid events are mostly similar to those used in traditional events. 

However, the difference is in the amount of data collection every step of the way. It is difficult to get feedback from the event attendees during live gatherings. That is because data collection is only possible either before or after the event.

With virtual meetings, it is a different story. Now data collection is happening at each point. So, this information can be used later to calculate KPIs to gauge the success of the event. 

Additionally, the data collected can now offer greater insight into how the attendees felt while attending the event. So, event organizers can measure important KPIs such as ROE and ROI with accuracy. 

Related: ROE vs ROI in Event Strategy 

While digital transformation is inevitable, the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly sped things up quite a bit. 

As the circumstances keep shifting, events will also transform accordingly. That is why you need to keep up with the times so you don’t lose out on the competition.  

We still don’t know whether things will go back to what was normal before. 

However, one thing is certain- hybrid events bridge the gap between virtual and physical events. And that is why they are not going anywhere, even when the pandemic is over.  

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