Restrictions are lifting and venues are opening up to meetings and conferences, but it’s still hard to gauge how individuals feel about getting together in larger groups after months of social distancing and working from home.
Kettering Park Hotel offers the perfect solution in the form of hybrid meetings, which allow attendees to choose whether to attend the event in person or virtually.
Whether for practical reasons – cutting down travelling time and costs, for instance – or simply because delegates feel safer at home or in their own office, hybrid meetings could well prove the way forward for the time being.
There are pros and cons either way, but the team at Kettering Park Hotel are ready with practical support and advice as everyone slowly gets back to normal.
Hybrid – the pros
Hybrid events offer greater choice for attendees, who can decide whether to attend the event in person or as a virtual delegate. They can be a part of the meeting, and play an active part, without necessarily being there in person.
Some people may not have the time, money or the support needed to go to an event as an in-person delegate but, with a virtual component to the meeting, there is no reason for them to miss out.
Hybrid events are also good for organisations. There is no need to be restricted by physical venue space, so a business can decide how many delegates it wants to invite to the in-person event rather than having to book a bigger space to cover as many people as possible
Hybrid – the cons
The virtual attendee experience will be different from the in-person one. The organisers have to take care to make sure both sets of delegates have a good experience and get what they need from the meeting.
Long gone are the days of streaming to a virtual audience by placing a camera in the back of a session. Attendees are now more sophisticated and demand more.
Hybrid events aren’t necessarily less expensive to plan because you will need planning time for two sets of technology, production and other resources to make it work for both audiences. Consider what mix of hybrid and face-to-face works for you to achieve your event goals within budget.
Face-to-Face – the pros
Face-to-face allows efficient channelling of information from the speaker to the listener and allows the listener to not only hear information but also observe the speaker’s body language, facial expressions and gestures.
Face-to-face meetings also help create trust and understanding between the parties, particularly important in businesses and in situations where important deals need to be made. Meeting face to face in the same room shows commitment, while dispelling any fears that may exist between the two parties.
A face-to-face meeting means you can brainstorm a task without the limitations and confines of phone-based conversations or even video conferencing.
Face-to-face meetings are normally highly effective as they are better for productive discussions and constructive arguments.
Face-to-Face – the cons
Face-to-face communication can be difficult when an organisation has to bring people from a wide area together in one place, especially given the tight itinerary each already has, while the cost, particularly if there are to be regular meetings, would be outweighed by the benefits of virtual or hybrid meetings.
And, for now, there will remain some people who feel more comfortable and that their time is better spent, using virtual links rather than meeting face-to-face.