Consider Hybrid Events in The Palm Beaches

July 2, 2021

As the meetings industry continues to see increasingly positive signs of recovery, and live, in-person events return, event professionals are faced with new challenges when it comes to planning.

When deciding to undertake a hybrid event, strong partnerships with destinations, venues, and A/V producers are key to planning and executing successful events. In partnership with the Palm Beach County Film & Television Commission, local production companies Apex Productions and Burlingame Consultants, a group of event professionals joined Discover The Palm Beaches for a hands-on immersive, behind-the-scenes look at how to build hybrid meetings and learn tips and best practices. 

Behind the scenes look at hybrid meeting for GMID.

The Importance of A Strong Partnership with a Destination Team

  • DMO partners act as the connecter between the planner and the professionals locally.  Planners may not have all the answers – or even all the questions – but when the destination team is involved from the very beginning to understand the scope of goals and expectations, they can fill in the gaps and bring in local providers to assist.
  • Local is Best!  When on-the-ground and by-the-minute changes are happening, having access to trusted local companies, staffing and equipment is vital.  The Destination Services team can also connect you with companies that provide services you didn’t know you needed, and our partnerships mean the possibility of enhanced flexibility, negotiation and pricing.
  • The Destination team will help facilitate the relationships between production companies and hotels/venues and other vendors to make the whole process of coordinating efforts and timing, from start to finish, smooth.  This gives planners the freedom to focus on other logistics and planning.

Questions to Discuss with Your AV Provider or Production Company

As an event planner, the standard variables are easy to determine, but harder to establish are the information infrastructure and technology required for a virtual/hybrid event and how that technology can alter your event location and costs.  This is where your AV provider will be vital in planning.

Screen and set for GMID Hybrid meeting
  • What kind of content will you be presenting? Do you have presentation decks, videos to broadcast, live speakers, or spreadsheets?
  • Will your presenters be pre-recorded? When will the pre-recording sessions take place?  Will the videos need to be edited?  Who will be managing the recordings?
  • Do you need speaker rehearsals? If the look, feel, consistency of the event are a priority (and they should be) rehearsals are important. What is the lead time, and do you want the AV team to manage rehearsals? If so, a conversation with the AV provider is vital, and rehearsal time should be built into the contract.
  • What are you expecting for final resolution? This will affect your streaming platform. Unfortunately, not all platforms are the same when it comes to resolution.
  • What platform are you planning on using? Your platform and the selection of your platform will need to be determined once you decide what you are trying to achieve with the event (splash page, monetary considerations, registration, and content delivery before and after the event). Most importantly, what you want from the analytics of the event. 

Questions to Discuss with Your Venue Event Team

The event location is equally important in a virtual/hybrid world as it was for in-person events pre-Covid, but now space considerations combined with socially-distanced allocation, internet access and capabilities, plus outdoor options are more of priority than ever before.

Colorful set for hybrid meeting
  • What is the speed of the internet?  This is very important! In the past the internet speed was not always a primary concern. AV teams primarily used the internet to provide simple email capabilities and downloading video content. If your plan is to live stream HD quality content, the speed of the internet will be central to your success. 
  • Can I get a wired internet line? Most AV solutions for running a hybrid event will greatly benefit by building an independent and secure network. A venue that can provide and support that request will be necessary. The internet line should be released of all restrictions so a proper network can be built. Can the venue provide that kind of internet access? 
  • Does the venue have a backup solution to the internet? A solid, reliable internet connection is crucial for any venue. Does the venue have any redundancy with their internet? It is a benefit if the venue has a secondary solution available.  
  • The big question – How much does the internet cost? This should not be ignored or assumed prior to signing a venue contract. The cost of internet will vary between venues; charges vary by the number of days, number of people or amount of MPS. Since the speed of the internet matters more now than ever, understanding the fees, especially if the charge is per MPS, could have a huge impact on your final costs. This and all other costs should be determined before signing the contract.
  • Are there exclusivity clauses in the contract that require you to use a certain AV vendor?  If you are planning a virtual/hybrid solution, your options should not be limited in contracting technical expertise. Virtual platforms can get complicated quickly; your AV partner should understand how to work through the intertwined paths of software within your platform. There are always ways to work in tandem with a venue-specific, preferred AV vendor, so discuss what options are available before signing the agreement.  
  • Are there new charges being imposed by the venue? As we re-start event planning, the “cost of Covid” may have a direct impact on your event’s bottom line. Venue and employee safety and health are imperative and protocols could affect your event and attendees. Security costs, contract tracing, temperature stations, hand sanitizer are new potential and costly parameters at your favorite venue. Take the time to inquire about and discuss all underlying charges not written in the contract before signing to avoid any confusion.
We are all ready to get back events and meetings, and now more than ever, strong partnerships with Destinations, AV Providers and Venues are vital to the success of meetings – in-person, hybrid or virtual.  The importance of having a safe environment for your attendees is equally matched by the partners you select to deliver the content and message to the participants.

Contact our team to learn more about how The Palm Beaches can support your next hybrid event!

Blog produced in collaboration with Burlingame Consultants and APEX Productions
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