A hybrid version of PCMA's first event in Asia Pacific was decided upon due to recovery strides the region was making, but engaging two different audiences during the same four-hour period was no mean feat
Convening Asia Pacific: Global Recovery Forum, was PCMA’s first hybrid event in Asia Pacific, that was broadcasted from ICC Sydney.
The hybrid model was decided upon as a result of the recovery strides the region was making including social distancing guidelines, alongside strict health and safety policies. It was also seen as a beacon of possibility on how business events could be safely hosted in a face-to-face environment.
The forum was designed based on insights gleaned through months of research, interviews and consultations carried out through 2020. The information collected revealed what skills and information the events community needed to survive and thrive in a Covid-19 and post-Covid-19 world.
From this, an intensive four-hour programme was co-created by event planners and the industry, and centred on change, challenge and transformation through a pandemic.
Brand experience experts, event organisers, marketers, technology specialists and creators were either in Sydney or beamed in from around the world, including Singapore, Tokyo, and New York. They shared practical advice, strategies and results already achieved in a Covid-19 world to inspire and motivate the PCMA community to adapt to the new normal.
The face-to-face event upheld the Covid-19 restrictions on venue capacity such as having 4m2 per person, QR Code registrations upon entry into ICC Sydney, heat-detecting cameras and social distanced tables.
Held during the physical lunch and networking breaks, digital attendees had the chance to partake in six interactive deep-dive sessions with key industry leaders via ‘Conversations with the Experts’. These conversations were designed to provide practical and key insights into managing and innovating business events in the Covid-19 era.
PCMA also engaged Interprefy to deliver live and simultaneous translations of the presentations from English into Japanese, Korean and Mandarin, for the entirety of the event.
Digital audiences were given the chance to provide instant feedback via polls and chat directly with everyone online.
PCMA’s team, already dispersed throughout the globe and unable to travel, meant engaging third party organisers and relying on partners to assist in the delivery of the live event. A strict lockdown regulation meant even managing director APAC, Karen Bolinger, was unable to attend the event in person.
But creating content to engage both a virtual and live audience comes with its own set of opportunities. Balancing the needs of the in-person attendee, such as breaks, F&B and networking all while keeping the virtual audience tuned in was nothing short of a team effort. Leaning on the skills of PCMA’s education experts to curate content was top priority.
Meanwhile, understanding the effect of “screen fatigue” and how to combat it took the combined knowledge and talent of everyone working on the event. There was also a steep learning curve regarding the platform and technology used, how to brief suppliers, engage partners and offer value to all who participated.
While PCMA has offered hybrid learning during larger conferences for many years, it was traditionally a small piece of the programming. This was the first time an entire event’s success rested on the ability to engage two different audiences during the same four-hour period.
However, building a virtual and live schedule side by side was a helpful visual in understanding where gaps may lie for each group.
The content streams were based on specific insights from PCMA research. As these were ‘of the moment insights’ such as how to develop new business models for events, learn to increase your digital skillset, or understanding how to drive value, the team needed to get creative and look for companies who had already adapted and were able and willing to discuss their learnings with an audience.
Although PCMA had produced smaller in-person events previously within the region, Convening Asia Pacific was a new event and it was critical to its success that the team create and cement the brand with the intended audience, as well as sell tickets.
Event Convening Asia Pacific: Global Recovery Forum
Venue ICC Sydney
Date 10 November 2020
Attendance 100 (physical), 300 (virtual)