Planning Your Hybrid Event: Tips for Organizers
As IEEE events move to hybrid formats, there are a few things organizers should be mindful of as they plan.
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Is the City Ready?
After a long hiatus for face-to-face events, there is a chance that some locations, venues, and hotels will not be adequately staffed or operating at full capacity. Consider doing a site visit closer to the date of your event and call on your CVB to get an update.
Take note of the following:
- How’s the availability & pricing of taxis & Ubers?
- Have flights fully resumed?
- How’s the neighborhood where your venue is?
- Are restaurants open? Will your attendees feel comfortable when they are out and about?
- How is the security within the venue?
- How is the service level in the hotel? Is there room service? Housekeeping? Is there adequate hotel staff to service your event? If your event was under-serviced, you may be able to ask for a credit on the final invoice.
Right-Sizing Your Space
While you need to consider social distancing when appropriate, realistically look at your meeting space and think about minimizing it so that the audience is not too spread out or the space feels too cavernous.
What can be done?
- Include screens or plants to break up the space
- Consider closing airwalls where possible or close rooms that are not in use
- Utilize pipe & drape to reduce the size of the space
- Creatively place signage or planters to give the appearance of boundaries
Food and Beverage
Sharing a meal or a small plate with colleagues is one of the joys of getting together in person.
- To make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience, be sure to review and approve all food and beverage elements in your program (including exhibitor and networking sessions) to ensure proper show guidelines are followed.
Keeping Your Exhibitors Happy
Exhibitors are eager to get back to meeting with your participants in-person. Making sure your exhibitors have a positive experience at your event is key to maintaining a long-term relationship.
- Build ample time for exhibits into your schedule for both in-person and online participants
- Clearly communicate with participants about your exhibitor sessions and the benefits of attending
- Consider adding creative touches like gamification, networking, or social elements to your exhibit hall
- Consider a tool with matchmaking capabilities to recommend exhibitors to participants based on their interests
Aligning Your Technical Program
When planning a hybrid event, designing a technical program that meets the needs of both in-person and online participants can be a balancing act.
- Consider having a single technical program to create a cohesive high-quality experience that builds community at your event
- Have cut off dates for any program changes
- Take steps to make sure each session has inclusive representation