We have briefly mentioned multi-site conferences before in articles. Many hotel and venue chains have invested in the technology that makes linking meeting rooms over several of their sites so much easier.
Holding a conference over different sites has a lot of advantages – not just post-pandemic.
Currently we face quarantine rules that can change with very little notice making it very hard to commit to being able to attend a meeting overseas. Even in the UK different parts of the country may impose different rules. We also have to be aware that some people may not be able or willing to attend a large meeting.
Even after the pandemic people will have got used to being able to attend a meeting virtually and not having to travel and stay overnight. The money businesses have saved on flights and hotel rooms will be a consideration too.
Reduced Carbon Footprint
Then there is the question of sustainability, how can 500 people from around the globe meet face to face in a sustainable way. You can of course use the many carbon footprint calculators and offset your travel if you wish.
A solution to all these issues is to run your events as hybrid and over multi-sites. You can have a 3-day conference where each day takes place in a different location. So, each delegate attends in person at the site nearest them and attends virtually the other 2 days. Each person can attend live for 3 days at their closest venue and you can just broadcast the speakers to each destination.
More Venue Choice
Linking sites and venues also gives us a lot more choice for larger conferences. No longer do you need to find a room that holds 500 cabaret; you can find 5 rooms that hold 100 cabaret if you wish. For very large events it may help you avoid the increased cost associated with the larger dry hire venues. It also opens up more location choices. Cambridge would struggle to host a meeting for 800, but by linking meeting rooms in multiple venues it becomes an option.
Some clients have been doing this for years, holding conferences for 1000 plus by linking rooms, its not new. What has changed is the technology is now more accessible and venues have invested in their meeting space and broadband making it easier to do. Marriott, Etc Venues and Hilton are just some of the chains that have built the technology into their meeting rooms allowing venues to be linked virtually.
If you want to hold an international conference but are nervous because of changing travel restrictions then consider a multi-site conference. When you are streaming speakers to other venues then you can also have virtual attendees or record the talks for virtual delegates to watch at a later date, extending the reach of your live event. The only consideration is the time diferences; so staggered starts and careful planning may be necessary.
Call us to talk through your options we would love to help.