With industry leaders predicting hybrid events to be the new norm for the next few years, the Kobe Convention Bureau has been working closely with its local partners to ensure Kobe is capable of delivering a range of hybrid event services with a focus on safety in the age of Covid-19.
This September the annual ‘Meet in Kobe’ members' meeting was held and allowed the bureau to hold a demonstration hybrid meeting for its 100 plus local member companies who support MICE events in Kobe and professors looking to take their conferences hybrid.
With the physical meeting taking place at the Kobe International Conference Centre being streamed to online participants live, the meeting gave participants firsthand experience with the onsite and virtual components of a hybrid meeting.
The meeting focussed on the key elements of hybrid meetings, with the bureau staff breaking down the ins and outs of organisation, to the varying needs and expectations of onsite and online participants. Via live streaming on YouTube online participants were able to interact with onsite participants and presenters via chat and participate in Q&A and feedback sessions.
With the desire for face-to-face interaction still present but with Covid-19 still a threat, virtual elements that allow participants to interact with one another regardless of where they are attending were an integral part of the demonstration.
Another focus of the meeting was the onsite infection prevention measures. Thermal cameras, temperature guns, face masks and shields, social distancing, and people traffic management were all employed to make sure that contact between people on site was limited and when unavoidable, was done so at a safe distance and with enough protection between people to prevent droplet infection. These elements allowed the members and professors, who are generally on the organising side, the chance to experience a hybrid event in the age of Covid-19 from a participant’s point of view.
The convention bureau also took the opportunity to announce its new support package for hybrid meetings and financial support for hybrid meetings held in Kobe from starting this October. The message to organisers: Kobe is ready to host all kinds of events when the time is right.