The Hybrid Meetings Trend

A hybrid meeting can be defined as a trade show, conference, or other meeting that combines a “live” in-person event with a “virtual” online component. Even though hybrid meetings are gaining in popularity, Meeting Professionals International (MPI) reported last year that “most venues aren’t equipped to accommodate hybrid events.”

Knowing that some venues can be harder to equip for a hybrid meeting, what is the best way to prevent an Internet issue from spoiling your meeting’s agenda?

Hoping an expert could shed light on what is trending in hybrid meetings and whether MPI’s findings remain an accurate assessment, we contacted Vice President of Creative and Chief Storyteller of Plan Your Meetings, Kristi Casey Sanders.

Mrs. Casey Sanders answered seven questions on what’s trending in hybrid meetings, and how to withstand the technical glitches which often plague these events.


Are hybrid meetings a fleeting trend in meeting planning?

Kristi Casey Sanders (KCS): With social media, the recap of the meeting has become just as important if not bigger than the meeting event itself. Hybrid meetings involve more storytelling than before.


Has the hybrid meeting influenced the meeting planning industry’s professional service providers?

KCS: AV technicians have to diversify their services into social concierge services.


What is a common issue for most meeting venues and meeting planners?

KCS: I have had nine shows this year. And, there has been some kind of connectivity issue. Either the hotel is a historical building or the bandwidth is too slow.


How can you determine if a meeting venue has a poor connection?

KCS: There are apps you can use. I use when I check a meeting venue. I’ll run a quick test to evaluate the network speed.


How have you circumnavigated some of these connectivity issues?

KCS:  When I check in, I’ll run a quick test that evening on the network of my mobile devices. I have used my own WI-FI service in a hybrid meeting of 200 attendees.


In your meeting planning RFP for a hybrid meeting, is there anything that you request to assure optimal Internet connectivity?

KCS:  When we put in an order to plan a hybrid meeting, I always request wired Internet.


What are the greatest changes you’ve seen in meeting planning?

KCS:  The speed of technology is dramatically bringing the cost down. Before you had to host the session live, have it uploaded to a satellite feed and coordinate numerous other details. I can go on Goggle Plus to a hangout, broadcast, have it archived and search engine optimized in real time.


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