Covid-19 restrictions are easing and it’s only a matter of time before meetings and events are back in full swing. One component to your meetings and events is going to be catering to the guests that don’t feel comfortable attending yet. You will have to be prepared for both an in-person audience, as well as a virtual audience. This is what is commonly referred to as a “Hybrid” event. Our team at Synergetic thinks this will be something that all planners should expect over the next 24 months.
Here are six things that you can do to make sure you are prepared for a successful hybrid event:
- Make the sure the venue has a hardwired internet connection. And find out how much it will cost to use it. We recommend having at least 70 mbps upload and download speeds. Wireless connections are not recommended for hybrid events and could present security concerns.
- You are going to need video cameras so that the online audience can see what is happening in the room. This may not have been something your previous meetings required. This is a critical component to hosting a successful hybrid event.
- You will need to think about what the online audience will see before the meeting begins, during any lunch breaks or cocktail hours, and in-between sessions. The two different audiences will have individual and unique programming needs, so you want to make sure you create a run of show for each of them.
- Do you want your online audience to have a visually engaging experience? We suggest graphic enhancements like lower thirds, landing pages, and bugs to increase viewer confidence. You’ll likely want to avoid just streaming the events’ camera feeds the entire time so that the online audience doesn’t lose interest and sign off, or feel like an afterthought to the guests at the event.
- Rehearsal time. You will need to make sure enough time is planned to rehearse the entire meeting with the A/V team so that everything runs smoothly. This will require extra time during load-in. Planning for this is crucial. A hybrid event will not be successful with a rushed set-up.
- The number of technicians it takes to produce a successful hybrid event will be more than you think. You need more people to handle the different intricacies of the virtual world. If you try to cut back on labor, someone will be juggling more jobs than they can handle, and something will fail.
Here is how some of our customers are planning on using us for their hybrid events:
- Many schools are contacting us to help them manage their graduations. They have moved the ceremonies outside and into a tent, or onto a sports field. Synergetic is working with them on the proper deployment of CAT6 cable so they can have confidence with a solid, hardwired internet connection. Synergetic is also proposing an audio solution for the large amount of in-person attendees that are going to be socially distant. Because the students and their families will be spaced so far apart, a larger, more powerful sound system is needed to ensure adequate coverage, even all the way in the back. And, what the students will be able to see should also be considered carefully. To accommodate students seated towards the back, we are offering solutions that ensure everyone is able to see what is happening on stage. We are also managing the video and audio that needs to be encoded and streamed to an online platform, while enhancing these feeds with live graphics and switching.
- A local law firm needs their board members to vote on critically important bylaws. Given the gathering restrictions, only so many of them can be in a room together to do so. Not only is Synergetic providing the audio and video for the socially distant attendees in the ballroom to ensure everyone can see and hear the executives clearly, we are also capturing everything that is happening in the room and streaming it live so the remote board members can join in real-time. Because of the sensitivity and security of these votes, we are also ensuring the guests in the ballroom are able to see and hear the virtual attendees as well. This provides human connection and interactivity to a notoriously impersonal virtual conference.
- A non-profit is planning their annual gala in the hybrid format for the first time. We are working with the outdoor venue to ensure reliable internet is available. If it is not, we are able to offer temporary internet solutions to accommodate the live stream of their event. While we all want to create that wow factor for our events, we recognize that non-profits have a limited budget to work with, so we are managing their expectations and working with them to provide solutions that offer the most for their spend. Some important elements to the non-profit include being able to showcase the silent auction items to the online audience so they can bid alongside in-person attendees, and utilizing a roaming camera to move throughout the outdoor venue so that remote attendees feel like they are actually there, and aren’t missing out on any of the action. Synergetic is supporting these expectations while staying within budget.
- A local business wants to update their customers on what’s been happening over the past 12 months. They also want to showcase new business tools they plan on implementing. Hosting some of their key customers at the event is important to them, but they also want to reach the rest of their customer base. The business is hosting the event on their campus, spreading the in-person attendees throughout the large space in multiple rooms. Synergetic is managing the best way to ensure all attendees have the same experience when it comes to hearing and seeing presentations that take place in the main room. Simultaneously, Synergetic will be ensuring that the remote attendees have an interactive experience, giving them the ability to ask questions and talk with key stakeholders that are on campus. Because this client typically generates a lot of business from this event, it is important to them that it’s done right – catering uniquely to each separate audience, and offering equal opportunity for event participation and recognition.
Your current A/V provider may have been able to execute your previous meetings, but now there is a virtual component, and they may not be the best fit. Hybrid events require a very intricate set-up, and you’ll want to ensure your A/V provider will be able to handle the demands of each unique audience.
If you would like to have a conversation with our team about making your hybrid event a success, give us a call (215) 633-1200.