Let’s say you have an important investor day coming up where you intend to showcase the value of your company to analysts and investors. For the most impact, you want to offer an engaging digital experience alongside a live, in-room audience who can interact with your presenters in-person. A hybrid event.
How do you ensure you choose a great physical venue for your event that’s also a safe place for everyone involved? Keep reading to learn more.
How To Choose the Right Event Space
There are several important factors when choosing an event space - including some you may not have considered before.
1. Don’t Forget About Your Digital Audience
When designing a hybrid event space, you must remember you are catering to an online audience as well as the people in the room. To ensure a webcast can stream reliably, you need to make sure you have access to adequate connectivity.
The recommended connections for a video webcast are a wired, broadband internet connection on an open network that can be accessed from a port close to where your webcast technician will be set up. It’s also great if you can access an analog phone line for audio backup.
If neither of these are available, it’s also possible to use a 4G connection provided the room has good cellular reception. The important thing is to make sure the connections are tested. Request these lines from venue management and availability for testing as soon as possible so the webcast provider to send a technician. The earlier you do this, the faster you can commit to the venue.
Notified provides a comprehensive connectivity document that can be sent directly to venue IT with streaming requirements, saving you the need to explain the technical details yourself.
2. Make Sure You Plan Ahead
It’s also critical to make sure your venue is booked for at least 4 hours before the event starts or – ideally - the day before to allow plenty of time for setup and testing of the webcast stream.
Check access times with the venue management and ask them to make sure there is a member of the IT team available during setup for any troubleshooting of the lines that have been booked. Your on-site team will greatly appreciate it!
It’s also important that the room looks good for the live audience, so make sure you have a reliable, professional audio-visual setup with decent stage lighting and experienced camera operators to send vision to the webcast audience. If you aren’t sure about the quality of service that the venue’s in-house AV team offers, be sure and ask for assistance from your webcast supplier. Notified can bring in our own professional AV/camera setup for a seamless experience and in the process, remove one more stress-point for your team.
3. Location, Location, Location
Location will always be an important factor in choosing a venue. It’s tempting to choose something close to your office, if it’s in the same city. Your executive team may well be pushing for this. They’d love to be able to walk across the street, but it’s generally more important to think about the success of the overall event and prioritize the live audience.
It’s no use holding a live event if nobody turns up. Choose somewhere central with good access to public transport and adequate parking. For an investor day, think about where your analysts are likely to be traveling from.
4. Keep Safety Top of Mind
In the pandemic world, safety for your staff, speakers and the audience is paramount. Most reputable venues have robust protocols in place such as regular deep-cleaning and good ventilation. You should really factor in the size of the space you are using and allow for adequate social distancing, not only for the audience but for speakers and technical crew.
This means you should really look at spaces that are a bit bigger than would have been deemed suitable 2 or 3 years ago. It’s also important to make sure your AV crew have 3-4 roving handheld microphones for the audience as well so they can clean each one between use. Allow for a staff member to be doing this and wiping down shared surfaces throughout the event.
5. Do a Proper Run-Through Before the Event
When reserving the venue space, try to book enough time in the room to do a proper dress-rehearsal. It doesn’t have to be long but give each speaker a chance to stand onstage, so they feel comfortable for the live event. It will also help iron out any ambiguity in the agenda.
Your online audience will want to engage with the presenters along with the live audience so make sure you rehearse the flow of the Q&A. That might be as simple as taking questions from room microphones and then from online, via an MC on stage watching a floor monitor to view moderated questions coming through the webcast. You can include an end-to-end webcast streaming test in this rehearsal.
6. Make Sure You Have a Back-Up Plan
Finally, do some contingency planning in case the event needs to become completely virtual or at the very least, if you have speakers who cannot be there in person. Notified’s webcasting platform allows all of your speakers to join remotely via their webcams with a simple onboarding session, so rest assured that if there’s a sudden lock-down or your speakers need to isolate and join from home, you can move to this plan with a minimum of stress for yourself or your team. Just the knowledge that you have contingency in place helps maintain your own sanity!
These are just some basic points to think about when scouting venues and some good questions to consider so that you don’t commit to a venue that’s not suitable for your event. Happy planning!
Start Planning Your Next Event
Hybrid events provide a unique opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of both digital and in-person channels. Your event is more than just a moment in time – it’s part of a process of building community for years to come, and the hybrid model lets you merge the success from both types of event channels.
Download our complete 2022 Events Guide to get practical tips and practices to help you build engaging and memorable events or schedule a demo and we will see how our solution can help solve your needs.