6 Ways to Save on Hybrid Meeting Production Costs
Soliman Productions staff in action. Credit: Soliman Productions.
No one can understate the effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the meetings and events industry. But outside of the massive disruption in the professional and personal lives of meeting professionals, it did usher in two closely related advances in—or at least an understanding of—technology: virtual and hybrid meetings.
Many meetings and events profs who were fortunate to remain employed had to rapidly shift into producing digital events, whether strictly in the virtual realm online or via a combination of virtual and in-person events, known as hybrid.
At Soliman Productions, we have been at the forefront of producing both for six years. Perhaps you’ve seen our production team at major industry events such as MPI WEC, where we’ve produced the hybrid version of the event for two years, broadcasting live from WEC and IMEX America.
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While most in the industry agree that hybrid meetings are here to stay, many planners and organizations may be wary of the costs associated with hybrid meeting production.
Our team has been privileged to work on many hybrid programs over the past few months, and with each event, we've identified a new way to help event organizers reduce costs. Some of these tips are identified below, and I hope they help you ramp up your hybrid game without breaking the bank.
1. Be Selective
First, identify which sessions will be streamed to your online audience. Keep in mind that you don't have to stream every single education session. Be selective! I typically recommend streaming the content taking place in your ballroom, and then up to three breakout rooms.
2. Avoid Setup Fees
Repurpose your meeting space to avoid added setup fees. For example, repurpose your ballroom into one of the breakout rooms you plan on streaming from, since a team would already be set up there. Most of the onsite events we've attended implemented 30-minute breaks in between sessions to reset and sanitize the room they are repurposing.
3. Hire One Vendor
Use one vendor to handle both streaming and the virtual platform. Some companies provide discounts if you use them for both services.
4. Bandwidth Is Key
Review your hotel contract for internet bandwidth and ensure that you aren't getting way more than what you actually need. Bandwidth is incredibly important, but your streaming team should only need 20mbps at a minimum in each room you are streaming from. Remember, this is not shared bandwidth, so all of it is dedicated to the streaming team onsite.
5. Don’t Overstaff
Ask questions! I have found that some of these hybrid events are overstaffed. Be sure to review the labor within your production contracts and fully understand what each person's role is.
6. Tap Sponsors
Sell sponsorships to help cover costs. There is so much opportunity to sell creative content ideas within your hybrid event. This has proven successful, as your sponsors are reaching multiple audiences.