Hybrid events to stay in Malaysia, but knowledge boost is sorely needed

Even though Malaysia’s borders are set to reopen on April 1, signalling the return of in-person events, industry stakeholders at the recent Tourism Reconnect conference stated that hybrid events will remain as there are many positives in the format.

Jointly organised by Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) and PATA Malaysia chapter, conference speakers called on the business events industry to conduct workshops and training programmes for event planners on how to pull off successful hybrid events.

(From left) Mitra Malaysia’s Tunku Iskandar; Malaysia Semiconductor Industry Association’s YJ Lim; TINTech Group’s Presanth Chandra; HotShoes Asia’s Lee Mark; and Dreamz Production Events Management’s WY Cheah speaking at the networking event

Presanth Chandra, co-founder TINTech Group, who spoke on the panel, Business Recovery & Mastering Hybrid Events, opined: “Organising hybrid events is still relatively new in Malaysia and event organisers do not have adequate knowledge on how to organise a memorable event for both in-person and virtual attendees, although they are well versed in the benefits of hybrid events.”

Benefits, Chandra added, include being able to attract a global crowd at the fraction of the cost, and having the ability to record sessions that can be viewed again at a later time.

Lee Mark, group chief operating officer of HotShoes Asia, and vice president of Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers, added that another advantage of the virtual component was that it had the ability to include online campaigns and competitions to further drive audience engagement.

Mark further pointed out that organising a hybrid event required technical know-how in order to create memorable moments for all delegates. The structure of both programmes also had to be treated differently as they require different engagement strategies.

As such, Chandra called upon PCEB, as well as the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau, to help develop the necessary training programmes that can educate event organisers on how to curate immersive and engaging content for both in-person and virtual audiences.

Elaborating on what would make a successful hybrid event, Dreamz Production Events Management’s managing director, WY Cheah, said the content creation paths had to be different for the in-person and virtual audiences.

The live in-person sessions have to engage the senses, and offer a ‘wow’ factor to entice international delegates to make the trek to Malaysia, while the virtual sessions had to ensure that the audience was fully engaged through constant engagement and interaction, elaborated Cheah.

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