Although an end to the pandemic is in sight, hybrid meetings will continue to be a popular way to connect people in 2021—and beyond.
With more than 15 years of experience working in the industry, I have helped to plan meetings and events all around the world, from Madrid and Amsterdam to Washington D.C., New York City and Houston. Today, hybrid meetings are allowing groups to connect in meaningful and productive ways that weren’t common before. For that reason alone, I anticipate that they will continue to thrive in the coming years.
Following are my top tips for hosting successful hybrid meetings:
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
While I am optimistic about finding a new sense of normal in the near future, COVID-19 mandates and regulations are continuing to quickly evolve from week to week. With that being the case, the most important tip for planning any event in 2021 is to have an open line of communication with the venue and vendors. I recommend maintaining constant dialogue about updated safety policies and requirements on both a local and state level, as well as any changes that need to be made to the event based on current mandates. An open dialogue will be helpful to not only help ensure a safe and successful event, but also help to set the attendee’s expectation for their meeting experience.
Hybrid Meetings Are All About Creativity
We all know that attending hybrid meetings allows for more distractions, so it is imperative to provide unique and out-of-the-box experiences that will keep people engaged. I’ve seen so many great examples of creative and inventive hybrid experiences this past year, from sending the same meals to virtual attendees through Grubhub or DoorDash that are being served in person to mailing a cocktail making kit to each virtual attendee joining a social event. These fun and interactive experiences really help to get people involved during a non-traditional event.
Find the Right Venue
The great news for planners is that with fewer people traveling and fewer meetings taking place right now, they can find larger meeting spaces at a great value. For example, at the Hyatt Regency Houston, groups can have full access to one of our giant ballrooms or even an entire floor of newly renovated meeting space to themselves for a safe and socially distanced gathering.
Make Travel Simple for In-Person Attendees
When planning hybrid meetings, it is important to find a location with easy flight and transportation options for your live attendees. If you are organizing an event with attendees from all over the country, it can be helpful to select a central location with a major airport allowing for as many non-stop flight opportunities as possible to cut down on unnecessary layovers or delays.
Vincent de Croock is the director of sales and marketing for Hyatt Regency Houston.