5 Tips for Choosing the Right Partners for Hybrid Meetings and Events

When your next event begins, many of your attendees will walk through the front doors — others will enter through a digital portal. The reality of the near future is that events will be more hybridized than ever before. Catering to two unique audiences adds a layer of complexity to the already intricate process of event planning. But with the right strategic partners, even the most elaborate events can be successful.

1. Align your venue selection with your brand

Think of your venue selection as a physical extension of your brand. Event attendees will come to associate the venue with your event and its messages. This means it’s essential to consider how the venue influences your message and vice versa. For example, an extravagant, luxury hotel may not be well suited for a charity event to help people experiencing homelessness.

Whether planning a large business meeting or corporate event, consider how your attendees will interact with the venue. A venue with an outdoor area, for instance, allows attendees to step out into the fresh air and converse casually and network with one another. A venue with a large auditorium would be better suited for an event with multiple speakers, where attendees are expected to sit and absorb information during a specific presentation.

Choosing to work with a venue with a larger presence may give you additional benefits, such as the ability to work with the same organization across multiple locations. You may be able to secure discounts or other advantages by hosting a roadshow at a specific hotel chain, for instance.

2. Choose a partner that understands how to control costs

With so many vendors and partners to choose from, it’s all too easy for costs to get out of hand. This is especially true if you’re hosting an event in another city or region where your organization lacks professional contacts. That’s where a strategic meetings and events partner can help you keep costs under control.

A good partner may have connections with vendors in various localities, enabling you to benefit from relationship-based discounts. Even if these types of benefits aren’t available, there are still benefits to be gained by paying close attention to vendor costs. Try asking for itemized cost calculations to determine if there are any line items you won’t use or need. In addition, make sure you understand each vendor’s cancellation policy and associated risks.

3. Consider the operations team

The people on the ground doing the work during the event are among the most important assets of any event. Without these hard-working people, successful events wouldn’t be possible. Choose service providers who have a proven track record and documented experience. A meetings and events partner can help you pick the right vendors who can deliver the best possible experience for your event attendees.

In the wake of COVID-19, it’s increasingly important to choose vendors and ground operators that take health and safety seriously. Ask about the precautions your vendors will take to keep your guests safe and comfortable during the event. With proper due diligence, you can ensure that everyone has a great experience that they will associate with your brand.

4. Map out your technology needs

Hybrid events feature an in-person component and a virtual component. This allows more people to attend your event, even if they’re not physically present. More than reaching a wider audience, hybridization also makes your events more accessible to people with mobility issues.

Since the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a surge of innovative technologies that go beyond basic Zoom calls or webinars. For example, digital lobbies enable online attendees to interact with one another and explore the event in a more natural way. These technologies will continue to evolve, allowing in-person and virtual attendees to communicate through chat, video, games and other interactive activities.

5. Don’t forget social responsibility and brand reputation

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is something that every brand has to consider when planning and hosting events. A strategic partner can help you understand the environmental and social impacts of your event and help guide you to processes that align with your brand’s core values.

These actions can be as simple as enforcing a ban on single-use utensils, or they can be more complex. For example, a strategic partner can work with you to find vendors that hire local workers and pay fair wages.

As hybrid events become the expected standard, event planners need strategic partners that understand how to impress two distinct audiences.

To learn more about how the experts at JTB can support your next event, get in touch with us today.