Making the Most of Your San Diego Hybrid Event
Given the realities of COVID-19, the business world has been thrown into a situation where a certain amount of adaptation is necessary. Many associates are working remotely, in-person meetings had to be put on hold, and lots of business travel options were — at least temporarily — taken off the table.
However, as the business world (to say nothing of the world in general) begins to receive vaccinations against the virus, a new trend is emerging and giving rise to an entirely new sort of business summit — the hybrid event. Hybrid events are professional functions where the in-person meet-and-greet nature of the classic business meeting shares scheduling space with virtual (online) components. This approach helps companies to both maintain best safety protocols, as well as reach a larger audience with their message.
Whatever the state of the pandemic in 2021, one thing seems evident: Hybrid events are here to stay. To that end, here are some pointers on how to make your next hybrid event a success.
Upgrade to the Latest Tech
Although hybrid events have been around for some time in one form or another, their recent uptick in popularity has caught some casual tech users a bit flat-footed for one primary reason: Participating in teleconferencing somewhat necessitates a robust level of technology. “Light” notebook-style computers, slower Internet connections, and a lack of sufficient audio/video options has frozen out some options for certain users. So, whether hosting an event or attending one, you’ll be well-served by giving your tech a bit of an upgrade (e.g., a new laptop, latest smartphone, upper-tier broadband Internet connectivity).
Make a Plan
When planning for a hybrid event, it’s important to treat it just as seriously as you would any in-person expo or conference. Prepare your presentation. Rehearse it. Do a dry run of the technology involved so that there are no fumbling, time-wasting hiccups that bite into your time during the event itself. Similarly, if you’re an attendee, it can be beneficial to outline your schedule just as stringently as you would if you were going to be moving among several expo halls. Although it may seem like much less effort than being there physically, planning a schedule and sticking to it can help you get the most from your experience.
Consider Your Audiences
When we say “consider your audiences,” we mean that in both ways it can be taken — by offering information and content relevant to the folks you’re trying to reach, and also by not offering too divergent an experience for virtual vs. live attendees. In both cases, there are things you can provide participants with that will enhance their specific experiences, without leaving them feeling as though they’ve gotten short shrift as opposed to the other group. For live attendees, complimentary refreshments, “swag”-style branded merchandise, and lounge spaces are nice perks. Virtual attendees appreciate links to download archived versions of presentations, extra documentation, or even access to supplemental information from presenters. Just be sure to bear their needs in mind.
Build Partnerships From Both Sides
Hybrid-event planners have a real opportunity to connect people with messaging. This is often an attractive prospect for all parties considered. So when marketing your event to attendees and users, don’t miss out on also reaching out to sponsors. A recent study by the International Conference Partnership indicated that 80% of surveyed sponsors are interested in investing in virtual and hybrid events. That’s a huge opportunity for organizers. Similarly, by offering partnership opportunities for attendees (e.g., assisting in networking and adding value through professional connections), you can build value for everyone on both sides of the equation. Attendees should also feel free to reach out for partnership opportunities, which is achievable in both virtual and live contexts.
Build In Downtime
Whether an organizer or an attendee, hybrid events offer lots of professional value. That said, making time for downtime is important. As an organizer, why not offer a little light entertainment (i.e., music or comedy) at the end of a solid day of scheduled happenings? Not only will your attendees appreciate an opportunity to unwind, but so will an entertainer whose livelihood has been impacted by a lack of tour opportunities. Cocktail hours are also popular. If you’re an attendee, then be sure to get out and explore if you’re in another town, or simply make time to relax with breaks and refreshments. Burnout is no fun.
Make no mistake — as we said up top, planning is important. But so is the ability to adapt. Sometimes things happen. Internet connections go down. Speakers cancel. Equipment can fail. So remember to roll with the punches! These are emerging types of events, so the rulebooks are still being written. As long as you retain a professional demeanor, preserve your sense of humor, and keep your spirits up, everything should end on a positive note — even if there are some hiccups along the way.
Best Western Plus Island Palms Can Help
If you’re interested in planning a get-together in 2021, our knowledgeable sales team is happy to help. We’ll gladly assist you with creative solutions for planning your hybrid event. We’ve also worked overtime to see to it that the hotel is safe for meetings, gatherings, and conferences of all kinds. For more information, check out our COVID-19 Safety Page.