6 tips for planning a hybrid corporate retirement

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Set amid 16,000 secluded acres in central Florida, the Streamsong Resort is a state-of-the-art lodge-style property with 228 guest rooms. The property is a great place for golf enthusiasts: it is home to Florida’s top-rated collection of golf courses and is the only destination in the world to have three courses designed by architectural firms Coore / Crenshaw, Doak and Hanse / Wagner. (For the non-golfers in the group, the property also offers guided bass fishing, a clay sports course, archery lessons, and an on-site spa.) Streamsong Resort has a partner internal audiovisual, AV Media Inc., to attend hybrid meetings; all event spaces are wired for sound with in-ceiling speakers and flat screens or projection screens. Additional technology can be provided as needed.Photo: Courtesy of Streamsong Resort

Corporate retreats are a great way for team members to relax and rejuvenate, brainstorm ideas and problem-solve, and generally take a break from the distractions of everyday business life. Of course, in our new hybrid world, not all employees will be comfortable on site. But yes, organize a hybrid company retreat is possible, with a little extra planning and the help of a strong AV partner and a carefully selected venue.

Here are six quick tips for creating an effective hybrid business retreat.

1. Do not try to duplicate the experience in person exactly.
“When planning a hybrid corporate event, you need to plan the event and experiences for three different groups of attendees: the in-person experience, the virtual experience, and the combined experience,” notes Lisa Schulteis. , founder of the virtual event management company. ElectraLime marketing as good as YourEventMarketPlace. “Make sure you focus on each of these elements to make sure the experience you deliver is engaging and takes into account the needs of the employees. Do not try to give virtual participants an exact replica of the experience of being there, because that is simply not possible.

Jenna Linneken, strategy director at experiential events agency Total brand experience, Okay. “It’s not just about delivering your event content in person to your virtual audience, so it’s not just about bandwidth or filming presenters in person using screen technology. green and put that content online, ”she explains. “What you need to think about is how do you bring your virtual audience into the live event? Think about in-person presenters, virtual panels, or a way to bring your virtual audience together with the in-person audience by visually setting up meetings between virtual and in-person attendees.

2. Humanize the experience and prioritize quality content.
And remember that connection should always be the primary goal of a corporate retreat. “Whether the participant attends in person or digitally, it is important to humanize the experience,” says Linnekens. “Take this opportunity to reinvent your retirement! Meet your team and management, and interview your attendees to find out their vision, wants and desires. Look at the reasons Why you organize this retreat with a new purpose and use what you find to deepen your brand, messages and overall goals.

And don’t overlook the content! “People attend events for two main reasons: to network and to learn,” notes Rachel Andrews, senior director of global meetings and events at Cvent, an event technology company. “Virtual attendees should feel engaged and inspired, just like those who meet in person, and both audiences will expect compelling content with the information they need, delivered in a way that matches their experience. viewing. “

3. Pay special attention to the audiovisual capabilities of a place.
Part of the charm of corporate retreats is that many take place in remote areas that give employees a break from their daily lives and work schedules. But don’t assume that these idyllic spaces have access to high-speed bandwidth. “Choose your location wisely,” advises Andrews. “Sites that offer the right technology, like on-site experts, AV equipment, reliable Wi-Fi, and streaming capabilities, can help increase production capabilities and levels of engagement for the virtual experience.” and in person. “

Linnekens agrees. “Look for hotels that embrace the conferences of tomorrow with integrated hybrid conference and meeting options” she says, noting that the elements she is looking for include live webcasting capabilities and seamless integration of virtual and live events, high-definition video and streaming capabilities, or even a true turnkey hybrid studio if necessary. “It should provide a safe and fully customizable space to pre-record presentations as well as to assist in the production of webinars and live broadcasts,” she adds.

Schulteis suggests bringing an LED wall where virtual participants can be projected. “This allows the keynote speaker and live attendees to see virtual attendees, as well as virtual attendees, see themselves as part of the event,” she explains. “The venue will also need to be able to support a larger audiovisual production team. Since hybrid events involve a mix of virtual and live programming, there are additional requirements for AV production personnel and equipment for the virtual side of the event.

4. Send swag to virtual participants.
Your in-person attendees enjoy all the luxury of a corporate retreat, which means your virtual attendees should be pampered, too. Consider sending them meals or meal kits, as well as any gifts that attendees in person receive.

Home mailings can also be a fun team building opportunity. “Look for team building activities with kits that are shipped to attendees wherever they attend,” says Jayne Hannah, deputy director of corporate events. for a virtual, in-person and hybrid team building event business Team cohesion, citing activities like her company’s mixology or gingerbread house kits, which send materials to participants’ homes.

5. Connect participants in person and at home where possible.
“A key goal of any corporate retreat is to help participants network and make meaningful connections,” notes Andrews. “In the planning process, think about how to facilitate ways of bringing together in-person and virtual participants, for example, through interactive activities and meeting rooms that encourage collaboration in small groups. “

Linnekens suggests creating “innovation lounges”, where organized conversations can take place with virtual participants. “It’s important that they don’t feel like their experience is passive and that they are having special moments with keynotes and leaders,” she says, adding that organized and one-on-one dates can also. be a great way to connect participants.

In terms of team building experiences that incorporate both an in-person and home audience, Hannah recommends avoiding activities made for large groups. “Divide large groups into small groups made up of both in-person and virtual participants, and use video conferencing tools to connect,” she advises, suggesting that someone from the team in person could be assigned. to hold an iPad or laptop so remote team members can be included. “When you’re in hybrid business, connection is key. “

Most importantly, be strategic with any team building games or activities you choose. “You’ll want to create events where everyone feels equally included, so anything that requires physical activity to participate won’t work,” notes James Green, co-owner of Build a head, who creates life-size cardboard cutouts for events. “Instead, stick with things like games and discussion groups where anyone can participate.”

6. Be strategic with your schedule.
A major advantage of a hybrid pension is that all staff can participate regardless of their location, but that means you’ll need to carefully consider time zones and other scheduling issues.

“One of the main goals of retreats is the in-person team building that takes place throughout the stay, so you won’t be able to fully replicate this for virtual participants,” says Green. “The best way to make sure everyone feels equally involved is to plan for specific and urgent events. Home workers won’t want to sit in front of their screens all day, but they will be more inclined to tune in to events that should take some time.

And for these pre-planned hybrid events, adds Hannah, Allow time for in-person participants to settle in before the start of the video conference so that virtual guests are not confused by chatter / movement or feel left out of the conversation. Likewise, make it clear when the event is over so people don’t wonder when it’s time to leave.

Ready to plan? Read on to discover 13 luxury properties with great features for participants of in-person and virtual retreats.


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