The COVID-19 pandemic has had a drastic effect on the meetings and events industry across the country. With conditions constantly changing based on local health guidelines, it’s been tough for the industry to come to a consensus on when and how to move forward with large in-person events. For now, smaller regional hybrid meetings and events provide an alternative to demonstrate we can safely produce meaningful programs.
By reducing attendee capacity based on current guidelines for those willing and able to attend in person, then supplementing with a robust virtual experience, we can get back to the business of creating experiences that meet the goals of our clients. CORT Events is sharing tips and best practices to ensure your upcoming hybrid meetings keep all attendees excited, engaged and, most importantly, safe.
One Event, Two Audiences
When designing a hybrid meeting, consider not only how the layout, design and format of the space will impact in-person attendees, but also attendees participating remotely. Elements such as lighting, audio and colorful stage sets can impact the virtual attendees’ overall experience. Modern and practical options when it comes to furnishing your event space, such as large sectionals, individual chairs or ottoman configurations, can still promote networking and collaboration among in-person attendees, but in a safe manner. Be sure to interact with virtual attendees in real time via their mobile devices, and physically as well. If swag bags are given away at the meeting to in-person guests, consider mailing similar promotional items to everyone participating remotely.
Set the Stage
Guest speakers and presenters will need to practice healthy distancing while on the meeting stage. Envision the stage as a TV show set rather than a classroom by using elements like beautiful drape, customizable dividers, and greenery to create a warm and inviting atmosphere even as seats are placed farther apart. To maximize cleanliness, communal microphones are no longer an option--instead, ensure each speaker is individually connected to a microphone. If your event features simultaneous activities across multiple stages, be sure to broadcast the event in a way so virtual attendees can have a holistic experience, as opposed to a singular perspective.
Going digital will involve an added layer of creativity to improve event engagement all around!
For in-person attendees, be sure to provide large and ample displays throughout the meeting space to limit crowding. Connect attendees together by integrating live-chat features for comments, questions and polls. Acknowledge and interact with virtual attendees via livestream to recognize their contributions to the conversation. Be sure to record and distribute the broadcast after the meeting to further promote conversation among those in attendance, either in-person or remote.
Technology can also be used when it comes to providing food and beverages for in-person attendees. Consider making timed reservations when attendees register to eliminate lines, or assign attendees a group number and broadcast via mobile devices when it’s time for them to pick up their food items.
CORT Events is here to support your efforts to safely restart meetings and events, while making health and well-being a top priority. To learn more about CORT’s event rental collections, visit www.CORTEvents.com.
Kevin Dana is executive director of marketing and product development at CORT Events. For more information on rental products, reach out to your CORT Events representative or visit www.cortevents.com.