Business events in a COVID world: the emergence of the hybrid event

As businesses and Associations can face challenges in getting all of their team and members together to meet face-to-face, combining in-person and videoconferencing is now part of the planning process for business event organisers.

From Zoom to Microsoft Teams, pandemic-proof technology has changed the way we’re meeting. But our industry is taking this innovation one step further – and advances in, and adoption of, conference technology have given birth to a new normal with the power to take in-person conferences to a whole new audience level: the hybrid business event.

Hyper-targeted networking

Hybrid events offer attendees new ways to network as communities can be brought together and organised around interest areas. Both the Professional Convention Management Association and the International Association of Conference Centers in the US have decided to take an omnichannel conference approach, hosting multiple in-person events while virtual attendees form “micro-communities” that interact throughout the entire seminar. This will ensure groups are closely connected and can participate in valuable idea exchange regardless of how they attend. We know face to face meetings will return, and a quality engagement with your content at a hybrid meeting now has the power to convert virtual attendees to in-person attendees in future.

Reaching a wider audience

It comes as no surprise that injecting more communication technology into our event models can dissolve geographical barriers and bring more minds together. And for The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM), combining their in-person conferences with a virtual component has proven to do just that, according to Stephen Durkin, AusIMM's Chief Executive Officer.

“We have already had a glimpse into the future with our recent digital conferences with high levels of engagement through the online platform,” he says.

He has praised the new hybrid conference model for its ability to provide first-class professional development in an inclusive, globally accessible format. Delegates can communicate through live-streamed Q&As whilst virtually engaging with industry professionals.

“The hybrid model offers enduring value for delegates in remote and overseas locations to attend from their own home, office or site location. We look forward to hosting outstanding conference experiences for all delegates wherever they are in the world to learn, connect and network at AusIMM hybrid conferences in 2021.”

The power of smart technology

Videoconferencing technology is keeping gears turning all around the world. But event spaces in Australia are taking things one step further, with businesses dedicated to making hybrid events happen seamlessly popping up with the latest and greatest in smart technology. A great example is ControlRoom at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art. ControlRoom is a hybrid event space launched by Divine Events and AV1 Australia. Adding a new twist on this spectacular venue set against a harbour skyline, this space is equipped with cutting-edge technical equipment and an expert crew. Remote audiences can enjoy an uninterrupted experience, whilst in-person attendees can interact safely in a controlled environment.

But beyond the innovative spaces that smart technology offers, the fact that platforms can now live-stream translation services is simply game-changing. In fact, 72% of consumers are more likely to buy a product when it is offered to them in their own language. In the business event space, the ability for new technology to make live conferences multilingual adds great value to the industry. As well as reaching new target audiences that do not speak the language of the presenters, obtaining information in the attendees’ first language improves retention.

By embracing the future of event hybridisation, we’re tapping into a world of technology-enabled potential. One which sees us networking in new and exciting ways, developing a premium face to face experience, and broadening the opportunities for bringing a wider range of audiences together who may have never otherwise crossed paths.


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