We chatted to our AV Sales Manager, Deborah Jones, about hybrid events following the launch of our packages earlier this summer. Find out how this solution will benefit events post Covid-19 and what steps the QEII have implemented to make this happen.
What is a hybrid event?
It is an event that incorporates both a physical and virtual audience. The event takes place at a physical venue but is also streamed to delegates online. There are several elements available to online participants including live-streaming, chat and video conferencing.
Why host a hybrid event?
Hybrid events have several advantages and offer event organisers a solution to some of the key challenges they face, such as social distancing, accessibility and travel.
The online element enables event organisers to increase audience numbers by reaching delegates throughout the world. It allows them to reach more prospective customers and has a greater opportunity for a return on investment.
The reduction in business travel impacts speakers as well as delegates. The hybrid element will ensure that everyone you need to be at the event is there whether in person or online. Additionally, this has a sustainability benefit as your event will lower its carbon footprint due to fewer delegates travelling to the venue.
Super-fast internet connections are widely available throughout the globe and the technology used is advanced, reliable and can provide a dynamic event experience. Hybrid events provide the perfect opportunity to create a virtual platform for sponsors, partners and remote delegates. Recording your web-stream increases the longevity of the event and helps your attendees to carry on post event conversations.
What are the key considerations for an event organiser when hosting a hybrid event?
Each event is different, so the main consideration is to understand how a hybrid event fits in with the objectives and which elements are required. There are number of things to think about and these cover the technical side as well as content:
- Ensuring you have sufficient bandwidth where you have a large audience logging in
- The audience can participate online e.g. ask questions of speakers, network with other audience members, ensuring this doesn’t turn into a big online chat
- Remote speaker preparation is essential, checking their connection, ensuring the video-conference is well lit and that they have a well-designed corporate background
- Delegates have the freedom to attend each session they wish to and are not locked out from breakout sessions or don’t have a choice about which sessions they can attend.
- However, if you need to hold private and secure syndicate sessions online without fear of interruption it is possible to do so
- Ensure the hybrid events platform you are using has a high level of security and privacy that will give you and your delegates peace of mind
- The content works for an online audience as well as face-to-face attendees
- Budgeting for the necessary elements and expertise, plus knowledge of hybrid event sponsorship opportunities and branding, is essential.
What are the three most important factors for running a successful hybrid event?
Firstly, it is to engage your audience. Over the last few months online calls and meetings have become the norm, so it is essential that your event beats this screen fatigue and provides an interactive experience e.g. the opportunity to network, ask speakers questions etc.
Secondly, understand the timeframes and processes required to run a hybrid event and identify the areas that need to be adapted. Will the schedule for the day stay the same – it may be that some of the sessions could become shorter and punchier to ensure you retain the attention of all delegates. Whilst the content needs to work for both audiences and should be visually stimulating.
Thirdly, choosing the right venue. It is important that the venue has invested in the latest technology, that will ensure you day will run without a hitch but also the atmosphere that will make the delegates feel like they are part of the event. At the QEII Centre we have 32 versatile spaces and between 7-9 of these can be set up for hybrid events using high-tech in-house equipment. Our spaces have controlled lighting systems suitable for onsite and online audiences as well as stunning views of Westminster and the surrounding London skyline making it the perfect backdrop for your event.
How has the QEII prepared for hybrid events and what can it offer clients?
The QEII Centre AV team has invested in brand new, dedicated streaming equipment in order to provide high quality services. This equipment is multi-functional and can be operated by fewer staff, making it a cost-effective option. We have invested in staff training in order to ensure we provide our clients with the best possible experience on the day.
Our teams are on hand to support you every step of the way. You will have a dedicated audio-visual project manager to advise you throughout the process so that you get the set up you need to ensure your event is a success.
To find out more about the QEII Centre’s hybrid events packages click here