The Future is Hybrid
July, 21 2021

Fully virtual congresses may be the engagement technique associations must embrace right now for their business resilience, but hybrid will surely be the blended congress solution of choice for their robust recovery and growth beyond the immediate impact of COVID-19.

360 degree design to experiences - digital transformation

Digital transformation, virtual and hybrid, is empowering associations to revolutionise their ability to engage their audiences through their congress. Association partners provide the turn-key capacity to build all of the solutions needed for a hybrid congress solution, selecting on behalf of associations, the best digital engagement tools, destination, venue and production to achieve optimum results for their association customers.

Association partners like MCI, have a long and established understanding of the importance of a congress to achieving the core objectives of an association. How the congress needs to align with the overall strategy and fulfil goals. As global restrictions start to lift and physical distancing measures a significant consideration at congress venues, they are working with associations to build hybrid solutions for their congresses. With this in mind, Association partners are selecting the venues that best align with the partner’s hybrid redesign, configured to match precisely the overarching objectives of their association customers. 

Marie-Claire Caldwell, Head of Sales & Marketing, ICC Belfast mentions, “the venue team act as an extension of the Association partner (PCO). The ICC Belfast ICC Belfast takes a partnership approach when working with the partner to successfully deliver hybrid events. The specialist, in-house team will advise based on experience with past clients what works particularly well and how to take any event to the next level. Their intricate knowledge of the space, hardware and software available at ICC Belfast also means that from conception to close, the event experience is operationally seamless.”

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Broadcasting - bandwidth for live streaming 

For hybrid events, having on-site technology enhancements like high bandwidth for live streaming, customisable studios and broadcasting capabilities as part of the venue infrastructure, all support the Association partner in delivering the best hybrid solution for the association.

The venue teams’ knowledge of production capabilities and the logistics in situ are important in the collaboration with the partner for the delivery of the in-person hybrid elements. Jill Spink, Marketing & PR Manager, Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) comments, “Within our venue we can facilitate the team and the technology infrastructure to deliver an effective and enjoyable event, with the required health and safety procedures for those involved on site.”

Live blended with virtual for sustained community engagement 

The benefit of hybrid sees localised live experiences paired with digital engagement that allows the experience to transcend borders and allow for on-demand interactions and online association communities to thrive.

MCI is at the forefront of digital solutions for our association customers. Our understanding of core association objectives coupled with the depth and breadth of congress management experience is key to ensuring the effective hybrid transformation of congresses, working hand-in-hand with venues to ensure the best experience for our association customers.


Barbara Calderwood

Barbara Calderwood
Barbara Calderwood

Divisional Director Associations

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