As hoteliers adapt – and thrive – in 2021 and beyond, hybrid events are going to be an important piece of their success. In fact, the global webinars and virtual events market is expected to almost triple in size, from $1.57 billion in 2020 to $4.44 billion in 2025, according to Reportlinker.com’s report “Growth Opportunities in the Global Webinars and Virtual Events Market.”
Hybrid events are conferences, trade shows and seminars that accommodate both in-person and virtual attendees. These events are “beginning to take over as the new preferred method” for business functions, said Hospitality Technology Senior Editor Michal Christine Escobar in an article. Taking the time to rethink your event strategy is well worth the effort because of the payoff.
Jumpstart to post-pandemic recovery
Increased reach for event bookings
Backup plan to expand your customer base
Standout advantage over competing properties
Better data on customers and prospects
“Online events also have a longer shelf life than in-person gatherings and, as a result, many organizations are finding out how they can extend the value of their content beyond the event itself. … Virtual events, by their digital nature, offer event organizers more sophisticated methods of measuring success and the chance to build an online community that can be engaged long after the event has ended,” according to The Drum article “Hybrid Events in 2022: blending the best of live and virtual in a post-pandemic world.”
In Cloud5’s whitepaper “Hybrid Events: How to Profit From This Hospitality Opportunity,” we share success stories from well-known hoteliers that have shifted to more hybrid events as part of their event programs. Download the whitepaper to also learn five of the biggest benefits from welcoming hybrid events at your properties. A network and internet managed service provider (MSP), like Cloud5, may be the most effortless and cost-effective option – and our whitepaper includes tips for choosing one.
While hybrid events deliver significant benefits, they also bring challenges. For one, the technology considerations for these events go beyond merely adding audio-visual resources to a traditional event program. Let’s explore four hotelier requirements for a successful hybrid event.
#1 – Robust internet
A hybrid event requires more robust internet than you likely have to serve leisure guests and in-person event attendees. Guests who use your existing internet probably use it primarily to search for restaurants or check their work email. Hybrid events place more demands on your internet and require additional bandwidth capacity.
Before marketing hybrid events, hoteliers should honestly assess if their technology can satisfy the unique requirements of these events, according to Hospitality Technology’s Escobar. Your venue should offer companies the high streaming capabilities necessary to meet their bandwidth and Wi-Fi demands.
“Hotels should ask themselves: Do I have a strong internet infrastructure?” she said. “The ability to segment and dedicate bandwidth to clients is important to provide a stable platform for hybrid events.”
#2 – Ability to isolate network traffic
Along the same lines, your internet must not only be robust but also secure. Network traffic needs to be isolated from other hotel guests, attendees, and other speakers. This dedicated network with end-to-end encryption is important so that performance doesn’t suffer and so data and users remain secure. A hybrid event understandably involves more moving parts than a traditional event and that means more potential entry points for bad actors.
To avoid risk, make sure your platforms and systems are secure, according to a Marketing magazine article: “Ensure all attendees, whether live or in person, log into the virtual systems securely, and all their contact data is managed in a highly secure manner.”
#3 – Customer experience support
The customer experience is hospitality’s top priority. Successful hoteliers, like Cloud5 customer Marriott, offer guest-friendly programs and features that “[put] the guest in the center of things,” according to the blog post “4 Hotels Providing Customer Experience That Goes Beyond the Pillow Mint.” At Marriott, that includes existing capabilities like a mobile requests feature, a loyalty program and mobile check-in as well as 24/7 support for hybrid events.
MSPs like Cloud5 can provide professional, onsite support for hybrid events. Having a single point of contact means issues are addressed faster, changes in scope are implemented, and customer satisfaction is monitored closely.
#4 – Equipment testing
A hybrid event is more complex than a completely in-person event. Just as the speakers who stay at or call into your property rehearse their presentations, your hotel must test the equipment that makes those presentations possible. Test everything – including cameras, lighting and audio equipment – with enough time to make repairs or adjustments if needed. And then test it all again for good measure.
Another key component to test, especially for a hybrid event, is the strength and performance of your Wi-Fi. Cloud5 collects millions of data points per second and uses a data science-based, objective scoring algorithm to rate customer’s internet performance so you can ensure you give people the best Wi-Fi experience.
Make sure that anyone responsible for operating the equipment during the event – as well as a backup operator – feels confident using it. Taking these measures will greatly increase the chances of delivering a superior performance during a hybrid event.
Conclusion: Learn how to successfully support hybrid events
Hybrid events offer an exciting opportunity for hoteliers as companies explore options beyond traditional in-person business events. However, reaping hybrid event benefits takes planning and preparation. If you want to take advantage of these benefits, choosing Cloud5 as your MSP can help by providing you with reliable, secure and high-performance internet, 24/7 customer support, and equipment testing. Download Cloud5’s hybrid events whitepaper “Hybrid Events: How to Profit From This Hospitality Opportunity” for hybrid event benefits, success stories and technology strategies.