Whether it’s live, virtual, or hybrid, your choice of venue is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a corporate event organizer. But for a hybrid event, your task is a little bigger. Not only must you source a physical event venue, that venue must also be suitable for producing virtual content as well. Plus, there are additional logistical requirements that mean not all live event venues will be appropriate for a hybrid event. What exactly should you look for in a hybrid event venue?
What Elements Impact Your Choice of Hybrid Event Venue?
When producing an in-person event, there are some venue types that organizers tend to go for. Hotels and business centers are popular for conferences, while trade shows are often held at convention centers. But when it comes to hybrid events, this general preference doesn’t necessarily apply.
Hybrid events have additional elements that make them more technologically challenging. Because of this, event organizers will have some new criteria to consider when looking for a hybrid event venue that ticks all the boxes.
1. Strong and Consistent Internet Connectivity
For hybrid events, internet connectivity is one of your highest priorities. The venue you choose needs to be capable of sustaining a strong, stable Wi-Fi connection. It’s crucial that you don’t subject your virtual audience to lagging livestreams or spotty audio. Attendees who are present at the live venue will be accessing the internet too. Using the event app and posting to social media are low-bandwidth activities, but they add to your bandwidth needs too.
Some points to consider:
Bandwidth: What bandwidth is the venue capable of sustaining? That will determine how many people can connect at once without affecting the quality of the connection. Every attendee must be able to access event content at a reasonable speed. This can add up to a lot of bandwidth during peak usage periods, so it’s vital to confirm that the venue is capable of sustaining the needs of all attendees.
Dedicated vs. shared bandwidth: Check with the venue that the bandwidth they’re providing is dedicated and not shared. Dedicated bandwidth means it’s reserved solely for your event. If bandwidth is shared, it means other groups of users may also be using the same bandwidth. This is particularly important for large events with high-bandwidth needs.
IT support: Does the venue have in-house IT staff that can provide on-site support during the event? If there’s no on-site IT, does the venue have a preferred vendor for IT support services?
2. In-House Production
For many event organizers, the ideal hybrid event venue may be one with an in-house broadcasting production team. Having a team to handle elements such as recording and livestreaming content is an advantage. With a dedicated broadcasting team, you’re free to take care of the many other aspects of producing the event.
It’s still relatively uncommon for live event venues to have full broadcasting production teams on-site. And it’s generally only large or specialized venues that can offer these services. In the future we may see more true hybrid event venues, where live venues have their own on-site broadcasting studios and production teams. For now, most event organizers must assemble their own teams.
If you want a hybrid event venue with an in-house production team, your choices are likely to be limited. Rather than looking for a venue with in-house broadcasting support, it may be more practicable to work with a third-party production company or a corporate event planner like ProGlobalEvents. Through our immersive virtual platform, we offer 3D virtual studio production that elevates hybrid events way beyond streaming content. Learn more here.
3. Tech Equipment and Support
As well as plenty of bandwidth, another major requirement for a hybrid event venue is access to appropriate tech equipment. If they don’t have a full-service in-house production team, many large venues can provide at least some tech options. It’s a plus if they can provide support staff too.
Some of the tech equipment and personnel you might need includes:
- Cameras of various kinds, including high-definition and live-streaming equipment, plus any accessories needed
- Microphones with high sound quality for your live video feed – Depending on your event content, multiple kinds may be needed; for instance, freestanding microphones, microphone stands, and lapel mics for speakers and panelists.
- Lighting; for instance, stage lighting and personal lighting for speakers and panelists
- Power outlets, cables, and charging stations – Even the smallest details are worth checking: Are there enough power outlets to cover all the equipment you need? Are there enough extension cables available to position your equipment in the right locations?
- One or more camera operators, an AV tech to control the audio feed, a video tech to capture live content and integrate the livestream, a lighting technician, and troubleshooting support
The kinds of tech you’ll need depend on the content you’ll be recording and livestreaming. For instance, if your livestream content includes only solo speakers, your needs may be fairly simple. But if you have a panel discussion scheduled, your requirements may be more complex. With several people to record, you may want to capture footage from multiple angles.
Advance access is another important consideration. Can the venue give you access to their equipment prior to the event, so your team can test it and make sure your setup is working the way you envision it? Some venues may charge an early-access fee, so ask about this in advance.
Pro Tip: If the venue doesn’t have in-house tech support, consider attempting to negotiate a discount, since you’ll have to hire support services yourself. It’s worthwhile trying to save where you can.
4. Space and Distance Requirements for Hybrid Event Venues
Considering the context in which hybrid events have experienced their surge in popularity, safety and hygiene may factor into your venue choice. The notable exception is that distancing protocols and space requirements may impact event production. When there are distancing requirements in place, everything needs more space. This can make recording and broadcasting a little more complex:
- You can’t fit as many people into an audience. Your choices are generally to reduce audience capacity or find a larger space within the venue.
- Cameras and other AV equipment, plus the personnel to operate them, need more space too.
- Discussion panelists need more space, which may mean you need an additional camera operator to cover the whole stage. (On the plus side, using multiple cameras gives you the opportunity to create more professional-looking content.)
- Your production team needs to be able to collaborate and communicate, while social distancing.
The Right Hybrid Event Venue Makes a Great Foundation for a Successful Event
The success of any event depends in part on your choice of venue. This is no less true of hybrid events, but for these events there are some new criteria to consider. When choosing a hybrid event venue, you don’t only have in-person attendees to please. The attendees beaming in from the office or from home are just as important. For a hybrid event, therefore, factors such as the strength and reliability of the venue’s internet connection are just as key to your success as the ambiance of that venue or the size of its exhibition hall.
At ProGlobalEvents, we have experience in planning successful physical and hybrid events. Contact us to learn more about venue selection and to take advantage of the premier digital experience technology we have on hand to level up your hybrid event.