Organisations and associations seek to resume work by holding activities, events, team meetings and customer presentations, for instance, that incorporate the necessary safety measures for both participants and organisers.
The hybrid conference model, which combines in-person and remote participation, is a solution that is gaining popularity fast.
This was evident at the Hybrid Associative Day held on 20th July at Palau de Congressos de Girona, the Girona Conference Centre. The conference debated the new organisational formats for associative market conferences.
The online section of the event included the remote participation of some of the speakers, and interaction with attendees, who could ask the panel of experts questions or react to issues raised during the talks. The Olot company, Leeksonfilms Produccions, produced the live streaming of the conference.
The panel of speakers was formed by representatives from the MICE sector, associations, promoting companies and technology suppliers, each of whom answered a question on the future of conferences in connection with their own field. Topics covered included, for instance, new technologies, the future of sponsorship and the role of destinations.
After the talks, there was an interactive round table which involved the participation of both those present at the Girona Conference Centre and the online audience.
Key factors of the hybrid model
The conference concluded that the hybrid model will also play an important role in the future of associative conferences, since they combine the advantages of in-person and online events.
From a technological point of view, emphasis was placed on the opportunity arising from the incorporation of online resources to facilitate interaction and to disseminate content to more segmented audiences, with the possibility of measuring the reach and interest aroused.
The sponsorship aspect, which at in-person events is limited to commercial exhibition venues run parallel to the conference, will diversify through access to online spaces provided by the organisation. Technological solutions allow contents to be disseminated beyond the time of the conference and give sponsors the chance to generate new leads and to promote dialogue on social media.
Furthermore, speakers also coincided on the importance for attendees of the experience of travelling to destinations and participating in incentive activities. Whereas technology enables us to share knowledge and generate contacts, it cannot provide the same firsthand experience of life and interpersonal relations.
Business tourism experts underlined the importance of in-person events for the economic recovery, particularly within a sector that has been so seriously affected by the pandemic.
With the aim of facilitating social distancing, many cities like Girona have improved mobility and accessibility. Conference centres and unique venues have quickly adapted to the pandemic situation with such measures as reducing attendee numbers, guaranteeing distancing, action protocols, hygiene precautions and applying technological resources for registering attendees. This same effort has been made by hotels and restaurants so as to ensure maximum safety and wellbeing for both guests and employees.
The sector’s professionality and ability to adapt
The over 140 tourist sector companies and institutions that constitute the Costa Brava Girona Convention Bureau are ready to resume work with all the health and safety measures necessary to organise and host events that will help you overcome the distancing barrier and make the most of each occasion to meet your work colleagues, customers or professional colleagues. Clearly, the option of including technological tools to organise hybrid events will help us all go back to holding these highly necessary conferences once again.