It’s a reality that the world is changing. And with it, so are the ways in which people can participate in events. Hybrid and virtual events have become increasingly popular as they offer new opportunities for those unable to attend in person. But what about venues that want to accommodate these types of events? This blog post will discuss seven ways you can retrofit your conference space to better support hybrid or virtual events.

There have been many venues across the globe that allocate some of their unused ballroom or meeting areas into full-time production studios, that can enable a virtual event to broadcast from their facility.

 

 

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It’s a reality that the world is changing. And with it, so are the ways in which people can participate in events. Hybrid and virtual events have become increasingly popular as they offer new opportunities for those unable to attend in person. But what about venues that want to accommodate these types of events? This blog post will discuss seven ways you can retrofit your conference space to better support hybrid or virtual events.

There have been many venues across the globe that allocate some of their unused ballroom or meeting areas into full-time production studios, that can enable a virtual event to broadcast from their facility.

This has driven, of course, more income for these otherwise empty spaces over the covid lockdowns but, now as vaccinations are being delivered, and restrictions are loosening, spaces are once again being looked at as a location for an event.

There has been a shift though in the way event managers look at the space they are using for their event, as they know that there MUST be an online component to it, and that means they need to also be able to produce video in an exciting way.

Some of the venues that invested in a dedicated studio will have an advantage over others that didn’t as they can utilise that space as breakout rooms, interview rooms or other settings for additional content to be broadcast.

So if you don’t have the space in your hotel or event venue to dedicate to a full production studio there are still a number of ways you can edit your areas to make them more hybrid conference friendly.

 

Find an AV live streaming partner.

Most venues will already have agreements with audiovisual providers from the local area, however not all A.V teams have the skills and equipment to produce a Hybrid event so it may be worth looking to your existing agreements to see if they have the requisite skills. 

If not, it’s advisable to search for a dedicated event live streaming provider, maybe your existing team has a recommendation, and get them in to inspect your venue. 

Producing a live-streamed event has a technical skillset that is akin to a broadcast TV production and if you try to produce in an area that hasn’t been correctly set up, the end result can be substandard. 

If it’s sub-standard then there is little chance that you will build referral work from the quality of the event that can be hosted in your venue. 

Find a software partner that can support your customers

The final destination of the content that is produced at your venue is as important as the production itself. so if you can find a solution partner, such as Betterast, that will work with you to ensure that your clients and the AV teams get all the support they need, you are going to generate more clients that are happy with the results.

A hybrid conference needs to take the end-user into account, as the experience that they have, directly reflects back on the event as a whole. If the platform is confusing, hard to use, and unattractive, all of those perceived flaws will be attributed to the event.

This means if the virtual guests are unhappy, they will not support the event, and that will mean fewer events for you.

An additional benefit is that you can start to offer a full package to your clients, as you have the venue, you can supply the AV team and you can also supply the platform that they use, it becomes an easier decision for your partners to choose your venue over others.

Ensure you have high-quality internet and upgrade your network

This is the, and I have to reiterate THE most important element to any event or conference that your venue is hosting. The quality and reliability of the internet is a massive deciding factor to repeat custom.

If you can only supply a 2mbps wifi connection to the AV team during the event, then they will be forced to find additional solutions to ensure that they have a solid stream from the venue.

A 1080P high definition live stream will consume up to 24 Mbps, so if you can’t supply that then the quality of video that is being sent out will be substandard, again resulting in your client’s guests having a bad time.

Additionally, you need to ensure that you have a high-quality network. This will mean that the actual in venue guests are using the hotel wifi on their phones, and your production team are using a completely separate connection.

This separation will ensure that the data from the video is not going to be degraded by an overloaded system that will degrade the quality of the event.

Dedicated a corner that is well lit or has a truss to hang lights.

Hybrid conferences will start to have more emphasis on the variety of content that can be produced in the venue. It’s more than just a camera shooting a single speaker or panel of speakers on a stage.

Virtual event guests will start to expect behind the scenes, additional interviews, product reviews and much more, so if you have the option, assign an area that doesn’t get a lot of use, has good sound insulation and access to power for this purpose.

You will also need to look at how the production team can light this area, can they hang special lights, or other equipment from the roof to spotlight areas. Is there space to have backlights and more?

Setting aside a specialised area will also encourage the event production team to think more creatively about what content they are producing and delivering to the online audience and that means a better experience for the guest.

At the end of the day, if their online guests rave about the event, because of the quality of the production, and your brand is associated with it, it will always add value to your brand name.

Work on soundproofing areas or install sound baffling movable walls.

Similar to adding a section just for special content to be produced, adding soundproofed areas that can be sued for special presentations is super important. You will also need to consider the sound spill that will come from an exhibition hall, into any presentation areas.

If you have the option to install movable walls that have any sort of sound dampening features, you can work with the production team to again, deliver a better quality hybrid event production.

When recording or streaming, not having background noise is extremely important to the overall quality as most people will forgive bad lighting or even low-quality video, however, if the audio quality is bad, users will stop viewing straight away.

Breakout rooms are also important to have some sour of sound treatment, as the information may be sometimes confidential or even be programmed in a way that you don’t want one group to hear what another group are talking about.

Install more power outlets on new circuits

There is an issue that sound and live streaming technicians need to deal with a lot and that is called earth hum. It’s a slow volume hum that will come through into a computer or sound recording desk when the power that is being used for lighting is on the same circuit as the sound desk.

It is impossible to remove without finding a separate power source that isn’t on the same circuit. so if you are able to install multi-circuit power sources into your venue, 100% of the teams that use the venue will be extolling your venues virtues constantly.

Creating lining and sound power outlets means that the production team can deliver an event without problems. It also means that they are not trying to run 20-30 pieces of equipment off one or two power points, into power strips and extension cords, and that all runs a chance of trip[ping a breaker and powering everything off.

If you can deliver multiple options for power access, and you can provide that in lots of places around the edges and centres of the room, it’s going to allow a lot more flexibility for the production team.

Build a store of set dressing items to make a temp studio

Setting up space with a backdrop or in front of a blank wall is often advised, but this can restrict your creativity and will likely not make the event feel as alive as it could do if you have access to other props.

So if you spend a few weeks going around to thrift and second-hand stores buying small tables, chairs, and large objects that can be used as set dressing then again the production teams start to get options to become far more creative in their event delivery.

When you can dress a stage, In more than just a podium and a screen then what the camera can capture will be far more exciting.

The easiest comparison to make is if when you are watching a talk show on television, What would be more interesting and engaging to watch. 2 people in a chair talking to each other or a well lit and nicely decorated room where a group of people can converse. Talk shows, look like talk shows for a reason, they show comfort and relaxation, and that makes it much easier for guests to watch.

There are some instances when a very simple set is called for, especially subjects that require a lot of concentration or the topic is very specific, however, just adding a plant to the background of a stage will add a depth to the event that will add a lot to the enjoyment of the viewer.

 

In conclusion

The hybrid event trend is here to stay and if you are a venue operator, it’s time for some major remodelling. We covered 7 ways you can retrofit your conference space to better support these type of events by working with a software platform, finding audion visual parters, adding more power options and set dressing options and thinking about the sound quality of your venue.

The biggest takeaway is that as a venue manager, making space to allow your events to be creative and engaging with the online content is going to only drive more clients to your venue. if you give them options to do more, they will and that more will result in happier viewers. Happier viewers mean happier event managers and that means more events at your venue!

If you’re planning a hybrid event today, talk to the team at Bettercast!