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  • 1.  Our first Hybrid Event hosted by Visit Fort Worth

    Community MVP
    Posted 04-28-2021 10:43

    JOB TITLE – CRM Administrator

    TOPIC OF SHARE & TELL - Hosting our first Hybrid Event 

    SPECIFIC EVENTS/INSTANCES – Annual Meeting 2021

    TYPE OF EVENT/PLANNER SUPPORTED - Hybrid event (started as in-person and then we added the virtual component to it a month out)

    TOOLS/TECHNOLOGIES LEVERAGED - Zoom Meeting, pre-recorded videos of our partners

    WHAT WORKED FOR YOU (DO'S - write at least 2) –
        • Communication is the key: At Visit Fort Worth, we have been hosting our annual meeting for the past years, and there are always a lot of different departments involved (Marketing, Convention Services, Operations) as well as the host location, Audio Visual Company, Community Partners and Guest Speakers.

        To keep everyone up to date, a lot of meetings happen. This year, due to COVID19, we resorted to electronic communications (emails, checklists), virtual meetings (not everyone had to attend all meetings, so there had been staggered times/days) – senior team, internal department meetings, main "players" responsible for different stages/sections of the meeting.

        Not being able to just pop into someone's office this past year made us come up with alternative communication options – Zoom Meetings, Microsoft TEAMs, etc.

        There are checklists, guidelines, and notes from previous years on what worked/what didn't work, and meeting notes were taken and distributed to everyone involved. Follow-up emails to discuss the progress. We created a website that outlined rules, shared them through emails and on social media to keep everyone informed.

        • Pre-planning (review of the previous year's meeting) and planning checklists; carried out weekly meetings to discuss the progress; utilizing social tables to set up room diagramming

         We usually start planning during the Spring/Summertime of the current year (deciding on the theme and graphics and slogan, who our guest speaker(s) should be, who will be the award recipients, the host location). The nitty-gritty starts with tagging attendees in our CRM system, sending out invitations (via email or mail); working with the host location on the layout of the room, and with the Audio Visual company to ensure all is good to go.

        Not knowing how the COVID situation was going, we considered it an in-person event on a much smaller scale to ensure we comply with all health and safety regulations and make our attendees, staff, and guests feel comfortable.

        Bi-weekly meetings to discuss regulations, monitor COVID numbers, discuss floor plans, determine food distribution, discuss ticket sales, and weighed the benefits of an in-person versus a hybrid meeting. The virtual part was added towards the later planning stages when in-person ticket sales neared capacity.


        WHAT TO AVOID (DON'TS - write at least 2) –

        • Last-minute changes and not communicating to all parties involved – as mentioned, the key is communication and understanding of the ever-changing COVID situation you need to be aware of any potential setbacks and have backup plans.

        We had a great system in place to communicate, so we did not run into the problem of not being able to adapt to last-minute changes (adding a virtual part to the conference added more planning and work, but was thought about throughout the whole planning process).

        • Not having a backup plan for any unexpected issues occurring – we didn't have anything like this happen as we had plans in place, and we surprised ourselves how smooth all went.

        Our audiovisual partners quickly added the virtual component and booked even musical entertainment to welcome the online group, so no matter where guests were viewing from, the experience remained the same



        Andrea Timbes-Cox
        CRM Administrator & Lead Catcher
        Visit Fort Worth

      • 2.  RE: Our first Hybrid Event hosted by Visit Fort Worth

        Community MVP
        Posted 04-29-2021 09:56
        I love this share and tell!

        Andrea, I always perk up when you jump into community because I find so much value in your counsel and experience.

        As communications manager for the Americas Channel and with a Learning and Development (L&D) background, I agree, communication via MULTIPLE modalities is key!

        Along with Know Before You Go emails with logistics details, I always create custom event pages for Shipping and Printing (because we all know presenters show up at the last minute and ask the event staff to print a 20-page handout, in color, for all registrants of their session), how to download the conference app, how to register a colleague (WHY is this still so hard - that tickbox "I am registering on behalf of another" is nearly invisible), etc.

        Now we also need to communicate:
        • COVID-19 safety procedures followed
        • educate virtual attendees on the change of paradigm that the Registration Website is not the content delivery place: the Virtual Attendee Hub is now the "Virtual Hotel and Conference Center"
        • and more...

        I have not used social tables yet, and I am itching to!

        Your post gives me an idea: my team wants to have a completely in-person event, no virtual component, in January 2022. However, I will pitch to my team that we should invite quota-achieving partners only for the in-person event, and delivery everything to everyone else virtually.

        Brenda Ainsburg
        Channel Program Manager
        Siemens Aktiengesellschaft
        United States

      • 3.  RE: Our first Hybrid Event hosted by Visit Fort Worth

        Community MVP
        Posted 04-29-2021 10:17
        Edited by Andrea Timbes-Cox 04-29-2021 10:19
        Brenda - thanks for your kind words. 
        Also - take advantage of the Social Table certification that Cvent is offering - I don't use Social Tables as often as our Services Team, but I was a great refresher and it has come a long way.

        Let me know if you have more questions.

        Andrea Timbes-Cox
        CRM Administrator & Lead Catcher
        Visit Fort Worth