What Do Hybrid Events Look Like Heading Into 2022?
Today’s hybrid events look a little different than we’re used to. They need to go the extra mile to ensure the comfort and health of attendees and all the people that make events possible have added another layer to planning and execution. The StreamOn event planners have been on the ground uniting with groups to get their events up and running while making sure they’re following all the guidelines in place for safe, engaging meetings.
Here are some hybrid event tips and best practices for the remainder of this time and heading into next year, grounded on what we’ve experienced at recent events.
Health and Safety Protocols
One of the most conspicuous differences in the hybrid event experience is how spaced out everything now is. In following social distancing guidelines, frontal row seating is frequently pushed back further than pre-pandemic layouts to give the attendees a comfortable buffer between the stage and the speaker. We also give alternate choices to attendees to attend the meeting virtually. This makes people feel more comfortable and for sessions that have advanced attendance than can be accommodated in this new era of hybrid events.
Speakers who share in multiple sessions throughout the event can be assigned one microphone each to use for the duration of the meeting. For all other speakers, rather than rotating, give one microphone per speaker per session and disinfect the mics regularly.
Meals for larger groups have also evolved to accommodate social distancing. Most events are choosing the heist-and- go pre-packed bag route, but there are some that are still offering sit-down meals. As far as table seating goes, we’re seeing that groups are concluding for a crescent format with over to four people per table to optimize for social distancing.
The Event Day Experience
Attendance Is Promising in Hybrid events.
Event professionals were doubtful of what to anticipate when they made the decision to go back live with their events. Were people ready to meet in person again, or were groups investing their time and coffers planning an event that would have disappointing attendance? But our team can assure that attendance at events nationwide has been solid and continues to rise in hybrid events.
In locales where an inner mask mandate is in effect, all attendees who are attending hybrid events need to wear their masks, as are speakers. Speakers are generally permitted to deliver their addresses with the mask off, though they wear them as they enter and exit the stage.
Crucial Takeaways for Event Professionals and Meeting Organizers
Each hybrid event in this period brings new perceptivity and takeaways for event professionals and organizers. Then are our top takeaways from recent events
1. Make Opinions Early
As restrictions on hybrid meetings began to ease in the alternate half of 2021, numerous event professionals and meeting organizers remained indecisive on whether to return to hybrid shows or continue down the virtual route. Now that we have all had enough time to assess the current event landscape, meeting organizers are making the decision to go hybrid before in the planning process.
2. Read the Fine Print
While hybrid events are holding strong, venues and vendors aren’t looking past the unpredictable nature of the pandemic. Moving forward, you’ll notice that venues and vendors have clauses written into account for the possibility of COVID cancellations, as it’s no longer seen as an unforeseen circumstance.
3. Communicate Vaccination and Testing Expectations Well in Advance of Attendee Arrival
Many groups are requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test before entering the registration area. Planners should be communicating this information to attendees beforehand in order that there are not any surprises or hold-ups at the purpose of entry.
4. Allow Extra Response Time from Staff
The venue staff — in-house providers, food and beverage, security, housemen, etc. — are all understaffed. While things may seem urgent as you’re trying to keep your event moving forward, it’s important to allow for extra response times since there are fewer people to handle your requests.
StreamOn Can assist you in Plan Your Next Hybrid Event
Planning your next meeting, but unsure what to expect? The StreamOn team can help you navigate the constantly changing landscape of hybrid and virtual events. Contact us to get started.