Mary Reischmann is the director of sales, marketing and events at Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach. With nearly 30 years of experience working in the meeting industry, Reischmann has helped to coordinate countless beachfront events, conferences, and weddings in Clearwater Beach.
Hybrid Meetings Continue to Provide a Relevant and Effective Tool in 2021
As meetings and events continue to evolve in 2021, planners and venues are finding unique and inventive ways to connect during this time.
One trend I anticipate is here to stay is that of hybrid meetings and events. Although nothing can replace in-person connection, the emergence of hybrid events has given planners the opportunity to expand their audience on a global level. Not only do hybrid events provide limitless opportunities to connect with people around the world, they also offer cost-effective meeting options.
I’ve included suggested tips below on how to plan a seamless and unforgettable hybrid function in 2021.
Ensure Appropriate Technology
I recommend that planners work closely with their venue to ensure it has adequate technology, capabilities and support to ensure a seamless hybrid event. Many venues will have a dedicated on-site team to help facilitate any tech needs or issues that may arise. For example, at Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach, we partner with Encore Audio Visual, which provides set-up and support throughout the duration of an event. Hyatt also provides a turnkey hybrid meeting solution that allows easy virtual meeting connectivity at its properties around the globe.
Find Ways to Engage with the Virtual Attendee
Having been a remote attendee myself, I have first-hand experience of how a hybrid event can feel disconnected. I recommend that planners always keep the virtual attendee in mind, and find fun and exciting ways to immerse them in the on-site experience. For example, planners can coordinate smaller breakout sessions where virtual attendees have the opportunity to connect with each other one-on-one. Planners can also send mailers or care packages in advance with destination-themed cocktail kits or spa items that they can use during the program.
A simple effort of including every attendee in an immersive experience can go a long way in helping to drive engagement during the event.
Use This Time to Expand Your Audience
As more people are connecting virtually than ever before, now is a great time for companies to reach new audiences. If you’re planning a hybrid event, consider inviting potential clients to a virtual welcome reception that helps to show them your company culture, or consider conferencing select stakeholders into your leadership retreat.
Although COVID-19 has presented unique challenges to the meetings and events industry, we’ve also learned a lot on how to overcome and succeed during unconventional times. My biggest piece of advice is to have fun with the technology and leverage this new era of enhanced connectivity to benefit of your meeting experience.