Hybride Events - Interview with Gabi Henze, Encore

Live events, virtually expanded through digital technology, are nothing new. With the advent of the Corona pandemic, they have actually gained greatly in significance. 

Gabi Henze, Sales Manager Central Germany Encore
Gabi Henze, Sales Manager Central Germany Encore - © Andreas Fehr

The special events service provider, encore (former KFP Five Star Conference Service), has been a reliable technical partner for hotels, agencies and industry for 30 years. What’s more, the high-tech experts are equally experienced in the professional organisation of hybrid events.

Ms Henze, what is of particular importance when planning hybrid events?

Getting audiences truly excited is never easy, regardless of whether it’s for a live event or not. With hybrid events, it’s even more difficult, especially when you consider that participants aren‘t able to see one other. Here, the key to success is to create lively and, more importantly, interactive event formats, whether it’s a workshop or general assembly, a marketplace or networking area. The event’s timeframe also needs to be considered, as no one really enjoys sitting in front of a screen all day.

Presentations should ideally last no longer than 20 minutes; otherwise, audiences will “switch off”. At encore, we have developed a special set of guidelines for successfully transforming events from “on site” to “on screen”.

Hybrid events are generally understood as events where people participate virtually as either “listeners” or “speakers” by way video telephony. What else is possible these days?

It is, for example, possible to depict entire conference centres virtually for online participants. 3D visualisation of conference rooms and permanent options for interaction are setting “the new standard” here. Virtual coffee breaks with video chats in the cafeteria or fully interactive trade show booths with avatars acting as on-site contacts have become two further bestsellers since the start of the pandemic.

What are the biggest challenges facing hybrid events?

We’ve seen the development of a large number of platforms and tools in recent times, all of which have their specific advantages and disadvantages. Selecting the most suitable platform and tools for interaction is obviously of primary importance. Final selection is in the end determined by your specific objectives and your event’s target group. Which role does the brand experience play, are we dealing primarily with presentations, which options for interaction should be available, which digital skills does the target group dispose over? encore has put together a team of consultants to determine the answers to these and other questions.

In what direction will hybrid events develop in the future, in you opinion?

Hybrid events will remain a firm component of the special events industry even after Covid-19, simply by virtue of the many advantages they offer – savings of time, reduction in travel costs, and so on. The most successful hybrid formats will be those that, just like with live events, convince participants and audiences with their vivid and creative design, similar, in a way, to successful TV shows.

Thank you for your time.