With virtual events dominating in recent memory, it’s been a while since you booked your last in-person venue. But events don’t look like they did pre-pandemic. They’ll be hybrid—a face-to-face experience with a significant virtual component.
The new era of events means new opportunities, but new challenges, too. You’ll need to follow a different set of considerations when selecting the perfect hybrid event venue. Today, we’ll cover some of the most important factors to keep in mind.
Globally, July 2021 was the hottest month on record, according to the NOAA. We are experiencing the effect of climate change now.
We should all do everything we can do be more sustainable—including in the events industry.
At the height of COVID-19, the industry was faced with a choice: go virtual, or cancel. We chose the former.
We found virtual events to have their pros and cons. Here’s one of the biggest pros: a reduction in environmental impact.
Today, we’ll explore the rise of virtual events and their implication on sustainability.
Nearly everything we do impacts the environment. Bicycling to work has a smaller carbon footprint than driving. It’s better to purchase locally grown produce than vegetables shipped across the country. The same goes for switching to renewable energy.
For every environmentally damaging action, there is a more sustainable alternative. Events are no exception.
Events. Meetings. Conferences. All of these can have a substantial environmental impact. How can we make them greener?
Sustainability exists on a sliding scale. You may not be able to make your event 100% green. But every little thing you do to reduce its footprint is worth it in the end.
Here’s our guide to planning greener events and meetings as the industry emerges from COVID-19.
The shift to Hybrid Events is as exciting for your attendees as it is for you. But whenever you step into new territory, you’re bound to feel some uncertainty as well.
We’ve heard some concerns about the number of in-person attendees dwindling due to the permanent virtual component. Is this notion realistic or even relevant? That’s a topic for another day. For now, we’d like to assuage these concerns by sharing a few tips for incentivizing in-person attendance at Hybrid Events.
This is a big one. Content is still king at Hybrid Events, but a desirable location can go a long way toward getting people to show up face-to-face.
Your members probably won’t be too thrilled about going to Buffalo in January. But a trip to Florida will get winter-weary northerners booking flights in no time.
Of course, climate isn’t everything. Florida might not be a convenient location, no matter how enticing the weather. Keep in mind the geographical location of your member base. Consider sending out a survey of potential locations to see if some pique more interest than others.
These days, it’s easy to feel as though COVID-19 is over. We hope it will be soon. But for the time being, safety will remain a concern for some of your attendees at Hybrid Events.
Most individuals with especially strong concerns about the safety of in-person attendance will opt to attend virtually. This flexibility is one of the great perks of the hybrid format.
But if you show that you’re working hard to ensure a safe in-person experience, you just might convince some hesitant individuals to show up face-to-face.
Need some pointers on safely conducting the in-person component of your Hybrid Event? Check out our guide.
People will travel from near and far to make it to your event. Why not give them something tangible for their time?
Gift bags are a mainstay at place-based events. Although some organizations have seen success shipping them out to virtual audience members, they’re a whole lot easier to distribute in-person. And they can even help to draw in crowds.
Come up with gifts that people actually want:
- Tastefully branded clothing
- Reusable water bottles
- Gift cards
- Branded face masks and hand sanitizer
Okay, gift bags probably won’t be the thing that gets people off the fence and attending your Hybrid Event in person. But some enticing goodies can help to seal the deal.
Food and Drink
Why do people attend in-person events? Beyond the educational opportunities and chance to hear some inspiring speakers, conference-goers want to meet people.
Plenty of person-to-person interaction takes place in event halls and during break-out sessions. But don’t discount the communication that tends to occur over food and drink. Not to mention that many people travel with their tastebuds as their guides.
Hot food and cold drinks don’t travel well. Emphasizing the gustatory delights in-person attendees can experience could draw them out in greater numbers.
The tastes of travel are just as important as the sights and sounds. Entertainment is one of the strongest tools you have to incentivize in-person attendance at your Hybrid Events.
The primary goals of your Hybrid Events should always be business and education. But it doesn’t always have to be so serious. People need entertaining, and the evenings provide the perfect opportunity to fit in some fun.
Here are some entertainment ideas that could boost the numbers of in-person attendees:
- Sporting events
- Magic shows
- Escape rooms
- Live bands
No one knows your audience better than you do. Try to think up some entertainment ideas they won’t want to miss.
On the surface, offering sessions exclusively to in-person attendees seems like the perfect way to get them to show up in greater numbers. But it can be a slippery slope.
One of the most common concerns we hear about Hybrid Events is not dwindling in-person attendance, but FOMO among virtual attendees. Our hybrid technology and management strategies make the virtual experience feel just as special as the face-to-face one.
Offering educational content exclusively to in-person attendees could make your virtual audience feel left out.
What’s more important to you: in-person attendance or virtual audience engagement? Let your answer to this question guide you as you plan your Hybrid Event.
Grow Hybrid Event Attendance with CommPartners
Hybrid Events are nothing new to CommPartners. We’ve merged in-person and virtual event experiences for 13 years. When you’re ready to maximize the reach and revenue of your events with a hybrid approach, our Event Producers are ready to help.
We take events and online education seriously. Consider running your Hybrid Event out of our award-winning Elevate LMS for greater engagement and a longer lifecycle.
Let’s start a conversation. Get in touch with Meghan Gowen at email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
The events industry is at a crossroads. We can see the end of COVID-19, but we can still feel its sting. A return to in-person events has begun. Still, we have to remember: the pandemic isn’t over yet.
A growing body of evidence indicates that SARS-CoV-2 will become endemic. In less scientific terms, this means that the virus could persist in some form for years to come.
We can’t know what the future holds. But we do know that safety will remain a concern at in-person events for the foreseeable future. For organizations looking to expand their reach and revenue with Hybrid Events, this means you’ll have to give careful thought to the safety of in-person sessions.
The risk of COVID-19 fluctuates with each passing day. Let us show you how to host a Hybrid Event safely for your in-person attendees.
Above All: Follow Federal, State, and Local Guidelines
The majority of federal, state, and municipal regulations for COVID-19 have been lifted at this time. Still, some might remain in your municipality. We’d tell you what they are, but they change by the day and by location. Your considerations for Hybrid Event safety should begin there.
Even if there are no longer official regulations, there are still recommendations. Here are the CDC’s suggestions for hosting large, in-person events. You don’t have to follow them word-for-word, but we recommend at least taking them into account!
Pick a Safe Venue
Give careful thought to the rules and regulations at the venue of your choice. Most will have these published clearly on their website. If you don’t see them there, give them a call and find out what their guidelines might be. You’ll want to understand this early so you can pick safe venue that meets your needs.
Here are a few safety considerations to take into account when selecting a safe venue to host your Hybrid Event:
- Capacity limitations
- Space for social distancing
- Outdoor space (weather permitting)
- Sanitation stations
- Ceiling height
- Fans and windows for air circulation
- Air purification
Hybrid Event safety starts with the venue. The more of these venue safety features you see, the safer the in-person component of your event will be.
Once you’ve settled on a safe venue, give some thought to the organization of the event itself.
Some of our biggest organizational concerns center around check-in and registration. You don’t want crowds forming at the doors. So what’s the solution?
Staggering arrival times is always an option. But allowing attendees to check-in and register in advance could be more elegant. Anything you do to streamline this process will cut down on congestion and promote a safer Hybrid Event.
Don’t let your event be haphazard. Proper organization will ensure a safer experience for all.
PPE and Sanitation
Personal protective equipment and disinfectants are no longer the rarity that they were in the early days of the pandemic. Store shelves overflow with hand sanitizer. Reusable masks are ubiquitous, sometimes even fashionable.
Face masks and hand sanitizer might not be as important moving forward as during the height of the pandemic. But they won’t disappear. Many have suggested that masks will continue to be worn by the sick, as has been customary in much of East Asia for decades. And who wouldn’t be glad to have a bottle of hand sanitizer in their car or their purse?
Most importantly, PPE and sanitation enable safer face-to-face interactions. The in-person attendees at your Hybrid Event will want to see them. You have a duty to keep attendees safe, and these items can play a role in that.
Here’s a secondary benefit: they present a great custom branding opportunity for you and your sponsors.
Communicate Your Safety Protocol
When it comes to COVID protocols, different groups choose to handle things in different ways. California took a distinct approach from Florida. And at some point during the pandemic, you probably found yourself wondering whether you were among Californians or Floridians.
Everyone should be on the same page. Clearly communicate the safety protocol and expectations at your Hybrid Event from the start. Will you require vaccinations? How about temperature checks?
Get the message out well in advance through promotional emails, registration confirmations, and the event microsite. This will help interested individuals determine if they’d prefer to attend in-person or virtually.
Additionally, post your policies prominently at the venue, and take a moment to review them on the first day.
Conduct Safe Hybrid Events with CommPartners
CommPartners knows how to host a Hybrid Event safely. We have 13 years of experience merging in-person and virtual event experiences. Let our expert Event Producers make sure yours goes off without a hitch. Integrating your next Hybrid Event into our award-winning Elevate LMS raises the bar for exposure, longevity, and ROI.
Let’s start a conversation. If you want to learn more about Elevate LMS or our managed hybrid event services, contact Meghan Gowen at Meghan.Gowen@gocadmium.com. Keep up with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.