The extraordinary circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have made hybrid events an increasingly viable option for event organisers.
Fortunately, plenty of venues are suitable for hybrid events – the Meet Leicester website, for example, lists fitting venues located in Leicester and Leicestershire. However, you should ask yourself all of the following questions when trying to decide whether a particular venue you are eyeing is right for your hybrid event.
Does the venue have enough space to be COVID-secure?
How much is “enough” space in this context? Kongres Magazine says that, for the estimated number of hybrid participants, you need at least 70% more space than prior to the pandemic.
However, in addition to this space, you should look for a space that, at the venue, would be dedicated to the production team and directors and include a lounge for VIP speakers. Hence, you should ask any venue under consideration to give you a floor plan.
Does the venue offer contactless options?
In a February 2021 survey of European meeting planners about what they expected from venues for hybrid events, 73.4% said contactless registration.
However, you should ask the venue not only whether they allow contactless registration but also whether they are experienced with contactless catering. If they yes, ask them to properly present you with the solutions and certificates demonstrating that this catering on offer really is contactless.
How much bandwidth does the venue’s wireless connection have?
What is bandwidth as it is referred to here? It’s the amount of data that could be transmitted (uploaded) or received (downloaded) per second via this connection, with this amount measured in Megabits per second.
The minimum standard you should insist on for a hybrid event is at least 50 Mbps. You also shouldn’t pass up a good opportunity – if you indeed get it – to test the speed yourself at the venue before you determine whether to book it for your hybrid event.
What cameras are available?
Cameras supplied by the venue will capture the video imagery for your event’s online audience to see from the comfort of their own homes, so those cameras obviously need to be good. You want professional cameras capable of delivering a resolution touching at least 1080p.
You should step back from any venue only offering you ordinary PTZ cameras, as these probably wouldn’t be able to produce transmission quality any better than your home’s video surveillance system.
Will you be able to choose what videoconferencing platform to use?
Some venues might only allow you to use one videoconferencing platform, potentially leading to many problems and additional costs at your end.
You should take note of any venue providing open-source switching that would accommodate your own choice of platform. This would mean you could pick an especially advanced one like the ON24 Digital Experience Platform, which has been carefully designed to facilitate hybrid events.