COVID-19 brought numerous challenges to the meetings & groups segment, governments around the world introduced hygiene protocols that made it impossible for live events to take place. This new reality increased the popularity of hybrid meetings, but what are the benefits and challenges of hybrid meetings?
The Benefits and Challenges of Hybrid Meeting Packages
The COVID-19 pandemic brought numerous changes to the meetings & groups ecosystem, introducing a new reality for how meetings would be conducted for the foreseeable future. At the start of the crisis many companies closed their offices and canceled in-person meetings. Microsoft cancelled all live events until July 2021, Facebook followed suit and cancelled all meetings with more than 50 people until June 2021. Health and government organizations from around the world also introduced revamped hygiene protocols that made it impossible for many live events to take place.
What was an unforeseen predicament at the start of 2020 resulted in a number of unique challenges for the MICE category, leaving planners the task to find solutions which would allow meetings and events to occur (in one form or another), increasing the popularity of hybrid meetings.
What is a hybrid meeting?
A hybrid meeting is any kind of workshop, conference, event, seminar – any kind of meeting – where attendees can participate in the event either virtually or physically. While not new, the use of hybrid meeting options has skyrocketed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Hybrid meetings are now commonly used to take advantage of the digital solutions to expand the reach, improve the attendee’s engagement while optimizing the ROI and ensuring a safe experience”
Emmanuel Ebray, Managing Director Meetings & Groups HRS
Why choose hybrid meetings?
Hybrid meetings offer an innovative solution to remain engaged with colleagues. Some advantages include:
- Increased flexibility in both planning and negotiations, allowing you to alter either physical or virtual attendee numbers based on current / regional restrictions;
- Improved sharing and collaboration by allowing more people to join meetings and contribute at a time when COVID-19 would prevent their in-person engagement;
- Enhanced compliance with COVID-19 regulations, by reducing physical attendees and still allowing the meeting to take place;
- Better sustainability compliance by reducing the number of attendees traveling and the associated carbon emissions; and
- Decrease event costs, by reducing travel costs (e.g. flights, lodging, meals, etc.).
Challenges of hybrid meetings
Despite the above advantages, hybrid meetings don’t come without their own unique set of challenges, including:
- Finding Venues & Hotels, not all hotels and venues will provide the equipment required for a successful hybrid meeting;
- Trouble comparing audio-visual offerings, once you have found a selection of potential hotels and venues, it can be difficult to compare the audio-visual offerings, due to different terminology used or simply because you’re not an IT Wizz
- Technical issues can arise from poor internet connection and poor audio-visual equipment, resulting in calls dropping out and wasted time as participants try to ‘fix’ the problem;
- Technology platform knowledge, the equipment provided can vary in how it is setup and used, causing a headache for planners
HRS’ Hybrid Meetings Package Solution to Overcome Hybrid Challenges
To help planners navigate the medium of Hybrid meetings HRS has launched a new hybrid meetings package, helping planners overcome technical planning, search and book problems and comparison problems. The package also gives planners improved options, flexibility and assurance that meetings can still go ahead, even if some participants can’t physically join.
The Hybrid Meetings Package, with its unique elements, will help companies get through the pandemic and maximize their allocated event budgets. Clients gain access to:
- The world’s largest portfolio database of 350,000+ hotels and venues to pick hybrid packages from;
- Prechecked and predefined minimum audio-visual requirements, checking that hotels and venues offer high speed Wi-Fi and general tech capabilities planners require with no need for a client evaluation;
- Transparent and comparable RFPs on audio visual services, saving planners time and headaches when comparing offers;
- Virtual Payment of all contracted services, which increases accuracy while reducing paper usage and fraud potential; and
- HRS’ unmatched global support team, working with you every step of the way
HRS’ Meetings as a Service Helps Companies Leverage Automation for Savings
HRS MaaS creates an entire ecosystem where corporates and planners have 100% transparency over their MICE category, from procurement, to booking, to payment and invoicing. Planners can choose from a large array of adaptable meeting packages to suit any event. With nine of ten respondents to a recent survey (91%) reporting that HRS helps simplify their meetings program and with HRS saving corporations up to 85% in cancellation costs due to COVID-19, it is easy to see why more companies work with HRS to gain the most value for their meetings expenditures.
Interested in finding out more about our hybrid packages? Then get in touch.