On Tuesday 17th August 2021, the Hire Space Virtual Team delivered the fourth instalment of Adapt with Arena, 'Delivering The New Attendee Experience For In-Person Events'. This event was held in partnership with Events At Club Chelsea, which you can find out more about below.
The second and final panel discussion of the morning saw our partners Events at Club Chelsea delve into their recommendations for events opening back up again. We were joined by Lucy Adamson, Meetings & Events Manager at Events at Club Chelsea, Charlotte Pierce, Head of Business Development at Events at Club Chelsea, Philip French, Managing Director of Peachy Productions, and Cameron Roberts, Digital and Community Editor at Conference News, who moderated the session.
Watch the full video and read the key takeaways below.
Table of Contents
Watch The Panel Discussion
Reconnect at Chelsea FC
Reconnect was a recent hybrid event held at Chelsea FC with the aim of - as the name suggests - reconnecting and bringing people together after so long apart. During lockdown, Chelsea created 4 virtual events as an engagement tool and to keep people connected to Chelsea as a venue, so Reconnect as a hybrid event was a natural progression from those initial virtual events.
The unique challenges of a hybrid event was a huge learning curve for the events team, and they found they needed to lean on their AV supplier Peachy Productions for their knowledge, expertise and guidance on how to smoothly deliver this event.
To see how the event went, check out the Reconnect showreel below!
Getting sign-off to go hybrid
The Chelsea events team were required to present the event initiative to their director and finance team in order to get sign-off.
This goes for most planners navigating the current events landscape; in order to get sign-off it's really important to think intently about the purpose of your event and why you want to run it in the first place. What are your objectives and how is this event going to help you achieve them? Who is your audience? What is the cost implication? What tech will you need? What type of event will best suit your objectives? Once you've got your answers to these questions, you need to communicate them clearly and intently to your stakeholders or decision-makers to convince them that this event will be beneficial and worthwhile to your company or organisation. Confidence is key!
Unique challenges for an AV supplier
It's little things, such as wireless internet connections and lighting, that create the biggest challenges, such as someone dialling in from abroad. As a supplier, but also as a venue or event planner in general, it's important to have the flexibility to cope with any technical difficulties that might occur.
Hybrid also requires a different level of thinking - you're having to design a set and stage for not just in-person attendees physically in the room, but also people who are watching online too, so the requirements of these two audiences are very different. AV suppliers therefore need to strike a balance and a compromise on both sides in order to achieve a cohesive fusion of the two. This is also true for how you deliver the audience engagement elements for both audiences.
There is also a health and safety element; how to mitigate and ensure that you're following the right rules but in a structure that works for a hybrid event. This highlights the importance of the role of a venue's health and safety team, and how they can work more closely with the events team so that they're both aligned.
Must-haves for post-pandemic venues
Chelsea's top two must-haves are:
- A strong, fast, internet speed - we recommend a dedicated, hard-wired ethernet connection (if possible), 10Mbp+ upload & download speed and open ports.
- An excellent AV supplier
This whole process is a learning curve, and we are all learning together, so be confident, ask questions, learn new things and our events will all become better because of it.
It's also a good idea to offer clients more flexible packages than perhaps were an option in the past. For example, attendee sentiments have drastically changed and people may not feel comfortable being at an event in-person all day. So, perhaps offering more flexible packages would work well, ie offering an hourly rate as well as offering a daily rate.
To find out more about measures and must-haves for post-pandemic venues, download our Safer Events Whitepaper.
Ensuring a great attendee experience
Event professionals need a wider range of skills. For example, Peachy are receiving a lot of enquiries for video recording, which entails different skills and capabilities than say, live streaming. Another example is set design - we now need to cater to people who aren't even in the room, so this requires deeper thinking and a different way of planning to ensure a great experience for everyone.
The Reconnect event received great feedback, which was largely due to the attendee experience that Chelsea's events team and Peachy Productions delivered. The team understood that all attendees, whether in-person or virtual, should have an equally great experience, and so not only were all AV considerations taken care of, but the events team also came up with various initiatives to enhance their attendees' experience, including sending out items in the post.
Helping venue staff cope with new safety demands
It's hard work for venue staff, as there are now a lot more layers to delivering an event that weren't even considered before, such as wearing a mask for 12 hours straight while serving a 3-course dinner. As venues and planners, it's really important to give plenty of lengthy breaks to venue staff so they can have a breather, take their mask off, eat a good meal, get support with any anxiety etc.
Constant communication, thorough briefings, and supporting on all levels are the three key elements to keep in mind with regard to venue staff.
How did you connect the experience for in-person and virtual attendees?
In-person attendees could network as they usually would, but for virtual attendees a decision was made to provide more of a passive experience, as opposed to a networking opportunity.
What is best practice to ensure speakers have the optimal set up when dialling in?
Peachy Productions notes that, initially, it's important to have a conversation with the speaker to gauge their experience speaking remotely, as some are more comfortable and well-practised than others. Depending on the client's budget, many AV suppliers can send out a pre-pack to speakers, which could be a webcam, or additional small light etc, to assist with those less well-versed. Secondly, it's important to connect with them pre-event (not just half an hour before) to check everything is up and running.
How has hybrid impacted how you would lay out a room?
There are new things to consider than there were before, certainly. Work with health and safety to ensure you've covered all restrictions/policies i.e social distancing if applicable, consider how many delegates there are, where the speakers will go, where the green room studio will go, where the extra tech equipment will go etc. It's also crucial to carry out an in-depth risk assessment to ensure that everything fits comfortably and safely.
About Events At Club Chelsea
Home to Chelsea Football Club, Stamford Bridge is one of London’s most iconic venues, with a record of over two decades delivering unique live events. Boasting over 60 function spaces, from intimate private boxes to spectacular halls, there’s a setting to suit any size or style of event, whether in-person or hybrid. And with an in-house AV production team, dedicated event management, onsite catering, and complete operations support, this prestigious venue guarantees to score highly with organisers and attendees alike.
About The Speakers
Lucy Adamson, Meetings & Events Manager, Events At Club Chelsea
Lucy Adamson has spent over 20 years working in the events industry and currently fronts the non-matchday team at Chelsea FC, as Meetings and Events Manager. With a dedicated team of sales and event coordinators, the venue hosts 2000 meetings and events annually, ranging from drinks receptions to 800 person conferences.
After working in hotels, historic houses and at both Norwich and Chelsea Football Clubs, Lucy has a wealth of experience and has managed an impressive array of events throughout her career.
Charlotte Pierce, Head of Business Development, Events At Club Chelsea
Charlotte is Head of Business Development at Chelsea Football Club and has worked at the club for nearly 8 years. Charlotte and her team are responsible for driving new business into Club Chelsea Hospitality, Events and into the Venue.
Charlotte started her career in travel 23 years ago, she’s worked on some major sport events - Asia Games in Guangzhou, Vancouver Winter Olympics and London 2012 Summer Olympics, Charlotte has a wealth of experience in Hospitality, MICE, Commercial Sales and team management.
Philip French, Managing Director, Peachy Productions
Philip French is Managing Director of Peachy Productions, a live event production company which has been running for over 13 years. Specialists in delivering audio, video and lighting equipment and solutions, the company has worked as the in-house AV partner at Chelsea for the past 11 years.
Cameron Roberts, Digital and Community Editor, Conference News
A journalist by trade, Cameron has worked in and around the events industry for several years as a content manager and conference producer, creating content for both in-person and digital events.
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