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12 Keywords for the Change in Meetings Industry Trend 2. Hybrid Meetings

[12 Keywords for the Change in Meetings Industry Trend]

Today, we are witnessing speedy development of new technologies such as mobile, social media, and virtual reality, and an outpouring variety of social issues such as economic depression and environmental questions. Under such circumstances, meetings industry people, who should lead the change, need to smartly cope with trends in the world with their brilliant insight into the world affairs. In this light, we have identified twelve major trends that reflect latest changes in the global meetings industry. Second keyword is hybrid meetings.
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2. Hybrid Meetings

Physical meetings + Virtual meetings = Hybrid meetings

Even though some people worry that virtual meetings may eat into offline meetings, today’s virtual meetings are being established as a form that can replace face-to-face meetings. Rapidly emerging for last several years in meetings industry, ‘hybrid meetings’ are drawing spotlight as compound meetings that combine face-to-face and virtual meetings.

Advantages of Hybrid Meetings
① Increased exposure: An organization that holds an event receives exposure online and offline through hybrid events, thus enjoying an opportunity to get more widely recognized.
② Expanded opportunities for networking: Live webcast enables networking that overcomes physical distance among worldwide participants.
③ ROI(Return on Investment) enhancement: A registration system built for filing personal information of participants in a live webcast has potential value that can improve the return on invested capital for the sponsor or the host.
④ Strengthening solidarity and ties among organizations: Solidarity and ties among participating and related organizations are strengthened through the operation of an online community.
⑤ Expanding platform for participants: Those companies and/or individuals that cannot join an event for financial reasons are given an opportunity to share the content.
⑥ Increased participant loyalty: Loyalty to an event and its supervising organization can be boosted by increasing prospective candidates’ interest and participation in the event through various channels online and offline.

Like this, hybrid meetings register a high return on costs and have the advantage of enabling participation in an event by people from countries of the world, who could overcome physical distance through various channels. Such ’economic efficiency’ harbored in hybrid meetings has drawn a huge response from the entire industry as it was well-suited to the depressed market in the wake of the financial crisis that struck the global market, and is expected to show continued ascendency up ahead.

Successful Cases of Hybrid Meetings ? Annual PCMA Meetings

As the front-runner in hybrid meetings, PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association) achieved a lot by holding hybrid events between 2011 and 2012. According to PCMA, 300 of those who registered for the 2012 event decided to join the face-to-face meeting based on their participation in the hybrid/virtual meetings of 2011. And 112 of those 300 persons who decided to join the face-to-face meeting of 2012 based on their participation in the hybrid/virtual meetings last year either had never attended annual PCMA meetings or had not done so for last six years, thus showing that virtual meetings have been greatly influential in encouraging participation in face-to-face meetings.

PCMA presented online various contents such as nine concurrent sessions, a master’s series, learning lounge sessions, and daily interviews with conference speakers and industry leaders in all sixty-four events of 2012, and 225 of those who participated in the events connected to webcast content for average 10 hours. There was a huge increase (60%) in the time that participants spent attending the sessions, from 3,123 hours in 2011 to 5,123 hours in 2012.

Top 7 Trends in Virtual Meetings for 2012

According to the Virtual Edge Institute (VEI), the world-renowned virtual meetings consulting firm, the virtual meetings theme that will dominate the meetings industry in 2012 is ’more and more’. Continuous experiments and adaptive process are going to be conducted on various digital strategies, while virtual meetings and related technologies are going to be used as means for creating added value in various activities such as the operation, marketing, and promotion for meetings related events. The top seven virtual meetings trends for 2012 as suggested by VEI are as follows.

① Simplified interface
② Event programs included in existing website
③ Convergence of event technology
④ Information network accessible 24/7
⑤ Diversified virtual meetings platforms
⑥ Arrival of simplified pricing models
⑦ Reduced Internet bills

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