In-person conferences were key to corporate networking before the COVID-19 pandemic threw a spanner in the works, forcing us all to rethink the way we organised events and to trade in the real world for the digital one. Does this mean that we have to say goodbye to in-person conferences for good? Not necessarily. This case study outlines how hybrid events are shaping the future of networking events, including conferences, by striking the perfect balance between physical and virtual interaction.

What was the event?

The Biennial Conference of the Malta Institute of Accountants (MIA) was a one-day event that brought together major stakeholders within the accounting industry, providing a platform for discussions revolving around the theme of A New Mindset: Reduce, Reuse, Report. Co-hosted at the InterContinental Hotel in St. Julians and online on the 22nd of September 2021, the conference was attended by 30 local and international speakers, who participated in panels about sustainability in accounting, tackling everything from climate change and sustainable finance to corporate sustainability reporting and Environmental, Social and Governance initiatives.

Why was a hybrid event format the best option for this client?

Due to the current situation, several delegates were unable to be physically present at the conference, ruling out an in-person conference. On the other hand, keeping attendees engaged online for an entire day had its own challenges, so an entirely virtual conference wouldn’t cut it either. In this case, the solution was clear: a hybrid conference; hosting a physical event for members of the audience who could attend in person while also offering the possibility of online attendance for participants who could not or preferred not to travel.

What was the client’s brief and how was it achieved?

Engagement is the essential ingredient for any corporate event, so we wanted to ensure that the experience would be of the same high quality for all attendees, regardless of their choice of attendance.

The objectives for the MIA Biennial Conference were:

·   To use technology to facilitate participation between the live audience and the virtual audience: A premium audio-visual, single-screen set-up optimised for live streaming was designed for the conference. The visuals, lighting, audio and filming of the event were taken care of by our team of event planning and AV experts.

·   To put live and virtual audiences on the same level by creating an experience which caters to their respective modes of attendance: A lot of effort is put into planning the event experience for in-person attendees, so the same effort should be applied to creating an equally engaging experience for your virtual audience through interactive panels, keynote addresses, executive presentations and breakout sessions. We ensured that all speakers could interact with one another in real-time and delivered a first-class live experience to every attendee. Our event coordinator also managed to fit a quick fitness session into the conference schedule to keep all attendees on their toes.

·   To stay within budget: A hybrid event doesn’t need to break the bank. In fact, offering attendees the option to attend a conference virtually might be more cost-effective, as certain expenses associated with in-person corporate events, including catering, venue and transportation costs, will be reduced. Whether you’re interested in organising a webinar, streaming pre-recorded video presentations, live streaming your event or going a step further and creating a virtual world, here at Jugs we offer a variety of setups and virtual component options to fit every budget.

Hybrid events are allowing us to engage with one another once again in this new, changed world, and it won’t be long before hybrid events become the go-to option for companies of any size. With the right technologies and professional event planners by your side, you too can organise engaging and accessible events which deliver excellent results without going over budget.

If you’d like to explore this option, get in touch with our event planning experts here to see how we can work together to ensure a successful outcome for your next corporate event.