Multi-Location Meetings: 5 Top Tips From IACC’s Americas Connect

IACC's multi-location meeting simultaneously connected 3 live pods and 1 virtual pod.
The Chicago Pod at IACC’s Americas Connect conference

IACC CEO Mark Cooper on how to pull off a successful multi-location meeting.

As hybrid meetings evolve, planners are coming up to speed with new skill sets and what is essentially a new job description. The International Association of Conference Centers July 2021 Americas Connect conference illustrates how to pull off the most complex kind of hybrid event: a multi-location meeting for face-to-face attendees, plus a platform for virtual attendees. “We had one goal, to create a conference that made it accessible for as many of our members to come together, in person or virtually, at this important time in the recovery of our industry and to place digital technology at the heart of the conference,” said IACC CEO Mark Cooper.

IACC’s one-day multiPOD format connected in-person sessions in Chicago, Dallas and Delaware with virtual attendees from around the globe. Master facilitator Mike van der Vijver of MindMeeting coached regional volunteer facilitators in each of the 4 pods on how to deliver workshops throughout the day. “MultiPOD is a more involved event than a single live location or hybrid event, but one which carries so many benefits if executed well,” said Cooper. He offers these tips for planners on planning and executing a successful multi-location meeting:

1. Technology costs can vary dramatically

The multi-location meeting that has audio and visual audience interaction among the pods provides the best experience. It is also the most expensive technology option.

2. Site selection is critical

Bringing in some technology is almost inevitable. But selecting venues that have appropriate, up-to-date and built-in technology will significantly manage additional production costs.

3. Stick to an agenda and plan rehearsals

Every change to the agenda or meeting format can drive technology overages. Be sure to plan rehearsals—the more transitions there are in the running order of the multi-location meeting, the more rehearsal time will be needed.

4. Pre-planning calls are vital

Regular re-planning calls leading up to the event will help to forge strong alliances between planners, venues and production partners—essential to a successful multi-location meeting.

5. Consider value-added benefits

Staging a multi-location meeting with digital and live pods demonstrates an ability to move forward from a traditional approach to meetings. It paves the way for planners to stage more affordable events in the future, with less environmental impact and greater return on investment.

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