It’s been a minute since we’ve talked about sourcing event venues, ey? But hybrid events at the forefront of event trends for 2022 and we’re seeing a lot of hybrid event inquiries on our end with extreme saturation in the market. One of the top questions we’re getting from our clients is, “What do I need to look for when sourcing venues for hybrid events?” First off, we can take care of that! But if you’re looking for tips and tricks, today we’re going to share a handful of the top non-negotiables when it comes to finding a venue that can host your live event guests, while also including your virtual event guests seamlessly from the ground. Ready to take some notes?
A Commitment to Safety & Cleanliness
If you’re like most planners you’ve gotten emails from Hilton about their EventReady and Clean Stay programs. Or maybe you’ve read through Marriott’s Commitment to Clean initiative. Regardless of which hotels and event venues you’re sourcing for your hybrid event, you want to make sure that commitment to keeping your guests safe is there.
Why? Because part of getting in-person attendees back on-site is ensuring safety for all.
This starts with the venue and ends with your organization. On the venue side, you want to look for commitments like:
- Enhanced cleaning of public spaces, event space, and guest rooms, if applicable
- Contactless check-in and payment options
- Food safety policies & procedures with creative and safe catering options like fully staffed buffets or individually packaged meals
- Mask mandates for staff if that is important to your group
- Ample space in the contracted meeting rooms for social distancing as required
- Availability of COVID testing or preferred vendors to assist international attendees traveling in
- And more…
Skift has a really great article that outlines all the major hotel chain initiatives that you can expect when starting your search. It will help you determine which points are most important for your group.
Proper Infrastructure for Virtual Streaming & In-Person Hosting
You want to ensure that the venue you choose has both enough physical space, as well as the correct audio-visual capabilities to support your meeting requirements. A few things to focus on when it comes to infrastructure include:
Reliable Wi-Fi & Wired Internet Access
Effective high-speed internet coverage is a non-negotiable these days. You need to ensure that your attendees have access in public areas and their room. Plus, you need to ensure your connectivity in areas where you’ll be streaming is hard-wired to avoid any disruptions.
Audio Visual Equipment & Production Team
The team producing the virtual piece of your hybrid event needs to be top-notch, as does the equipment they use. This is make it or break it for your virtual attendee experience. So, when sourcing venues for hybrid events you want to make sure they have a stellar on-site production team that has a proven track record, or you need to be able to bring in your own team and their equipment to produce and stream your virtual event components (and always try to get those shadow fees waived for the latter).
Available Space Options
Some venues like the Convene brand and convention centers are now incorporating fully equipped production studios in their event venues. Having all that high-quality technology at your fingertips will enhance your virtual production quality tenfold. Even better if it’s in a space where you can also host in-person attendees simultaneously.
Another thing to consider here is that they have enough space for your guests in the chance you’ll need to socially distance. So always make sure that’s written into your contract (we did a whole blog on hybrid event contracts, check it out).
A Location Conducive to Both Audiences
Virtual events have taken the location barrier out of event attendance. So as we return to live events but incorporate those virtual attendees for a hybrid setting, you need to be a bit more intentional about your in-person location than you may have been before.
If you’re having individuals attend from across the globe, you want to consider time zones. When you have attendees in both Europe and the West Coast of the U.S. or Canada, you need somewhere like New York that can meet in the middle and make attendance accessible to all.
Plus, consider flights! Travel has been a little more stressful as of late and people want simple travel plans when going places. Choose locations next to major international airports that will have more accessible flight options.
It’s Time to Start Sourcing Venues for Your 2022 Hybrid Events
SAP Concur recently found that 96% of business travelers are ready to get back on the road. People are craving that in person, live event connection again. But on the other hand, some have grown to love logging in from home and the reach of virtual is much greater. So, hybrid offers that happy medium. Hybrid events are not a temporary fix, but rather the new normal for the world of events.
That said, planners are competing for space at the top venues for the next year. Demand is high between postponed and rebooked events finally actualizing and new business. For those reasons, to secure a venue that truly suits your group and business requirements, it’s best to start now!
Need help planning a hybrid event for 2022? Let’s chat!