For those within the events industry, the word “hybrid” has become one of the most spoken. You will struggle to find an event organiser that hasn’t hosted some level of hybrid event in the past week!
The events sector has rapidly grown its technology offering in the past two years. AV companies have developed packages and products that enhance virtual events. And event organisers have learnt to facilitate Teams and Zoom live events. Some conference venues, such as here at the Future Skills Centre, have taken it one step further and installed additional AV facilities into our event rooms.
For us at the Future Skills Centre, we have taken the opportunity to create a space where hybrid is the norm, not an add on.
Technologies to facilitate online events have been in development for some years. However, it was only when the COVID-19 pandemic made this technology essential that systems and solutions to facilitate virtual events really began to develop at a rapid speed. That is why 2020 saw 8 of the largest venues in the UK utilise the Culture Recovery Fund to enhance their facilities. ExCel in London launched their own event studio and developed all hall space to include digital backdrops, multi camera functionality and full sound systems.
We understand that within the industry, hybrid events are here to stay. That is why the Future Skills Centre is focusing on delivering events with the latest technologies to support hybrid.
1 in 4 of our clients request for delegates at home to log in remotely to the meeting, defining that meeting as a hybrid event; where part of the audience is in person and part joins remotely. We facilitate our hybrid events through a range of products, including our Meeting Owl which provides high definition 360 degree views of the room and our Poly Studio bar which offers seamless presentation, high level audio and audience engagement. Our Poly Studio can be used in any conference space at the Future Skills Centre, and with its 18-foot radius audio pickup it works well in all our large spaces, including Touchdown Point 1 which seats up to 100 guests theatre-style.
We know audiences want to interact in person, but at the Future Skills Centre we believe that hybrid is the way of the future. That is why we support our clients with the latest and best technology to facilitate this.
Here are our top 7 reasons why we believe hybrid is the future.
1 – Carbon Footprint
We are all aware of the negative impact travel, business operations and everyday life can have on the environment. With the acceleration of the UK climate emergency in 2019, those of us in the events industry must do our part in reducing our carbon footprint where possible. For those delivering an event, a simple solution is offering a hybrid option. Reducing the number of people driving, travelling, or even flying to an international conference will help decrease travel-related carbon emissions which have a notoriously high impact on the environment.
2 – Increase your attendance
Here at the Future Skills Centre, we can seat up to 160 delegates in Touchdown Point, our largest conference suite. That said, we know that some clients wish to exceed beyond this capacity. A hybrid event is the way to do this. Using hybrid technology, we can host an event for up to 250 guests, with 160 in person and 90 joining remotely. Bringing in bespoke hybrid systems, the required equipment, and professional teams to facilitate a virtual event, the Future Skills Centre can increase its capacity beyond its physical floor spaces, helping you increase attendance to your event.
3 – Reach new audiences
Have you ever wondered how to maximise your attendance? Until now, event organisers could only attract delegates that are willing to travel a certain distance, or live within a particular city, region, or country. Now, by offering a hybrid option, you can increase attendance beyond your typical reach and engage with new audiences regionally, nationally, and even internationally.
4 – Sponsorship opportunities
Did you know you can maximise your sponsorship opportunities through a virtual platform? Many advanced hybrid platforms, such as Events Air, offer the capability to add exhibition areas, sponsorship through banners and displays, and holding pages between live broadcast sessions with paid ad space on a slide or video. The sponsorship and/or exhibition offering can be offered as a stand-alone virtual event, or in addition to your physical conference to create an online presence and maximise engagement.
5 – Recorded sessions
The beauty of hybrid events is that the technology used offers the capability to record sessions and meetings without the need for additional cameras or operators. Recording sessions is even possible on Teams or Zoom! Recorded sessions act as a brilliant referral tool for delegates, or the recorded sessions can be published online to increase exposure with the option to charge for access. For many hybrid events, if speakers are remote, they will be asked in advance to pre-record their session. This puts their mind at ease and allows them to have a clearer presentation with the ability to practice, edit and re-record as required.
6 – Speakers from further afield
Are you organising an event where the expert in the industry is on the opposite side of the country? Or the speaker you would like to invite is too far afield and it would be too costly to cover their travel expenses? No problem. A hybrid event allows you to invite speakers from any location! This not only ensures you can have the most relevant and exciting speakers possible at your event, but once again helps reduce the carbon footprint of your conference.
7 – Reduction of event costs
We understand that events can be costly. Conferences can quickly be priced outside of budget, whether those are personal or business budgets. By offering a hybrid event and thereby reducing the number of delegates attending in person, you can lower your event costs by reducing the size of the space required and the amount of refreshments and catering on offer. Whilst there may be an increase in technology costs to facilitate the virtual elements, these will often outweigh the costs of delivering an in-person event for hundreds of delegates. The Future Skills Centre are keen to work with you to deliver the best possible event within your event budget.
There you have it. 7 reasons why we at the Future Skills Centre believe hybrid events are the future.