Navigating the New Normal

How to ace hybrid meetings with in-person and virtual attendees.

How will destinations help support hybrid meetings with both in-person and virtual attendees?

The future of events is going to look much different than anything we’ve seen before. Though vaccine rates are increasing and public health orders are becoming less strict, it’s a safe bet that meetings won’t automatically go back to what they looked like prior to 2020. The new normal will likely offer hybrid components, catering to both in-person and virtual attendees to best serve those of varying comfort levels in the coming months.

Many destinations have had to develop dynamic digital offerings over the last year, and those will be important factors to help differentiate bids. Convention centers with in-house AV partners offer the utmost convenience for planners arranging meetings, as an integrated team allows for a seamless experience for all. Having knowledgeable partners on site will be more important when it comes to hybrid events and ensuring the best connectivity and integration between those who are on-site and those logging in from home.

Anyone who put meetings on hold last year and is now looking to navigate the digital landscape on a large scale for the first time should seek out destinations with Digital Events Strategists (DES). The DES certification from PCMA arms qualified professionals with the tools needed to “plan, produce and measure digital and hybrid events from start to finish.” These individuals can serve as partners during development and execution of hybrid meetings to best serve the needs of in-person and virtual attendees.

As much of the professional world has now spent countless hours staring at co-workers in tiny boxes during virtual meetings, we recognize how important is to break up the monotony with fun and engaging activities. Many businesses have pivoted their offerings to serve virtual audiences, and destination experts are great sources for local companies that can offer hybrid networking experiences from “board” games to wine tastings and much more.

Our industry has been disrupted like never before, but we should not let the anxiety over planning hybrid meetings stand in the way of returning to some sense of normalcy – even if it’s a new normalcy. Destinations are excited to welcome back meetings, conventions, trade shows and events, and are ready to serve as partners to planners as we all forge ahead in fresh territory.


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