A year ago, if you had asked me what meetings would look like in 2020, I would have mentioned an experiential trend, more emphasis on attendee engagement, and technological advancements. But none of us saw 2020’s trends coming.
Our industry is resilient, and the value of meeting face-to-face is stronger than ever. We have found ways to keep meeting even while we can’t all be together in person. We’ve responded to the marketplace and stepped up our virtual and hybrid events game. We’ve broadened our services to include Presentation Stages, Remote Presenter Kits, Virtual Exhibits, Conferences, and Corporate Training. Our MeetSAFE guidelines give event professionals a template for ensuring health and safety standards during hybrid and in-person events.
As we weather this storm, event professionals have found creative ways of meeting amid a pandemic, be it entirely virtually, hybrid or in-person. We’ve assembled some of the meeting solutions planners have chosen to ensure all attendees are engaged and retaining value in this new normal.
Virtual: The Arizona K-12 Center’s 15th Annual Leadership Institute
When the Arizona K-12 Center needed to pivot to virtual for their 15th Annual Leadership Institute, they reached out to PSAV and asked us to host a two-day engaging and interactive virtual experience with breakout sessions on different topics. To make this happen, the Chime Live platform was utilized to live stream keynote speakers and nine on-demand breakout sessions. Chime Live also allows for live polling, chat, Q&A, and other interactive features that keep attendees engaged and add to your meeting experience. Our team members provided coaching, testing, and rehearsals so that all presenters were comfortable with their new virtual setting and had optimized sound, lighting, and equipment.
Hybrid: The Fairmont Austin Town Hall
As lockdown restrictions lifted and cities reopened, businesses had to make plans to bring their teams back to work. The Fairmont Austin held a hybrid town hall to discuss the status of reopening their hotel and getting team members back to work. While many team members joined virtually, 100 team members attended in-person. The PSAV team wore personal protective equipment (PPE) during setup and operation, sanitizing all equipment before use and at regular intervals. A Zoom account was set up, allowing for up to 500 team members to join from anywhere.
The hotel wasn’t sure exactly how many people would attend virtually but wanted to guarantee no one would be left out. During the event, we had a team onsite to make sure we could answer any questions and transition segments smoothly. The Managed Webinar platform was utilized to connect and engage remote attendees with the onsite team. Attendees said they felt the hybrid experience was much better than the last Town Hall, which was entirely virtual. This example shows how event professionals can take this new normal in stride and pivot to retain value for attendees in different settings.
In-Person: The Georgia Motor Trucking Association Annual Convention
Now that in-person meetings have slowly begun again, everyone’s health and safety is a top priority. The Georgia Motor Trucking Association (GMTA) held its 3-day annual convention at the Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, Fla. The largest event of its kind in the region, we were challenged to bring together over 100 of Georgia’s trucking leaders, members, and sponsors. The convention was staged in the largest ballroom at the Ritz-Carlton in a classroom-style seating arrangement. The room layout met our MeetSAFE guidelines with proper physical distancing as well as surface and equipment cleaning.
The entire technical team wore PPE, and additional microphones were secured to avoid sharing. Large screens were mounted to ensure everyone could see with the increased distancing. Attendees felt safe and welcomed, knowing that social distancing guidelines were enforced. GMTA, a repeat customer, reached out after the event to thank our PSAV team members for their precautions to keep their meeting as safe as possible.
Stay Flexible, but Connect and Inspire
For the foreseeable future, we will have to be flexible with how we meet and interact with one another. Virtual and hybrid offerings prepare you to get through this challenging time and ready you for the future. Let’s continue to connect and inspire together.