The Pixilated Podcast

Ep. 102 | How Venues and Hotels Can Prepare for Hybrid Events

October 13, 2020 Patrick Rife | Alex McGlynn Season 1 Episode 102
The Pixilated Podcast
Ep. 102 | How Venues and Hotels Can Prepare for Hybrid Events
Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to another episode of the Pixilated Podcast. I’m Patrick Rife and I’m Alex McGlynn and today we’re going to talk about How Venues and Hotels Can Prepare for Hybrid Events.

- Highlight any safety improvements you've made
- Upgrade your AV
- Create multiple wifi access points
- Add onsite technical consulting to your suite of products
- Rethink your list of preferred and required vendors
- Create a new sales pitch/plan
- Create new marketing collateral
- Know your capabilities and have them easily accessible
- Put a testimonial gathering plan together
- Test test, test, test

So, that is it for today before we go don’t forget to rate, review, and subscribe it helps us grow and we will see you soon.

Subscribe at http://podcast.pixilated.com/

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Patrick Rife:

Hello, welcome to another episode of The Pixilated Podcast. I'm Patrick Rife

Alex McGlynn:

and I'm Alex McGlynn

Patrick Rife:

And today in Episode 102, we're going to talk about how and using hotels can prepare for hybrid events.

Alex McGlynn:

So really quickly, if you're new listener, hybrid events are in person events that also have a virtual component for virtual attendees. So it's the same conference, just two different attendee experiences with the same hopefully the same outcome. Do we want to get that

Patrick Rife:

y'all Good? Good call.

Alex McGlynn:

Yep, take a quick break. So, uh, yeah, hybrid events. That's what they are. It's pretty simple concept. They're not going anywhere, I would argue they'll probably be here for at least the next 12 to 24 months, potentially longer.

Unknown:

So

Alex McGlynn:

today, we want to talk about how hotels and venues can start to prepare for a future where hybrid events become probably the norm for a little while. Pass that back. Yeah, so number one, sorry, no, yeah.

Patrick Rife:

So you we talk about hybrid events.

Alex McGlynn:

Yeah. And use

Patrick Rife:

how they're gonna get ready. venues, we're getting ready to rock this, like, here, come here comes business, it's coming back in.

Alex McGlynn:

It's coming back. The first one person event you have will probably be hybrid. That's that's how it's gonna be and challenging.

Patrick Rife:

Yeah, it's not gonna be easy. But you got this, you got this. Alright, so do it. Go for it. Number one.

Alex McGlynn:

Yeah. So the first thing that you should be doing is making sure that you're highlighting any safety improvements you've made any health improvements you've made. So pretty much if you have add an extra sanitation, save stations, if you put it in a cleaning protocol, if you doubled your cleaning staff, and whatever it is, it doesn't really matter. Make sure you have it visible and your marketing that you've done that and that everyone, all your staff members know to talk about it, it's gonna be really important. I think there's still going to be some skittishness about being public and being in large groups. So anything you can do to make you feel safe and secure is going to be really helpful. I would even argue that putting up some signage about it in the appropriate places I can have maybe the best view and the bathrooms and things like that is also probably appropriate. And again, just gives people a little bit a sense of peace.

Patrick Rife:

Yeah, so number two on the list is upgrade your audio video. So hopefully, a lot of you are already up on this, because vetting and adding new equipment is never I know, not a short term project at all. But that being said, it is never been more important to make sure that your facilities abilities to capture really high quality audio and video and make sure that that audio and video is in a format and being captured by the types of equipment so that way it can, it can add it to networks and stream it wirelessly. And whatever the case may be a huge part of being able to throw a hybrid event is being able to take the in real life part of that event and really be able to highlight it through through a virtual portal, right. So what's that mean? Like, like, whether it's GoToMeeting or zoom, or probably there's, there's some bigger platforms that are specifically venue centric, that hopefully they're reaching out to you, they're doing good business development right now to help you guys get up to speed, but really look at your AV, figure out where it needs upgrades where the weak spot is. And then I think the other thing that we mentioned real quickly is your ad team, your person, you know, spend a half an hour googling all of the top types of, of technology that you're going, you know, your AV team should be really familiar with zoom, go to like the top 10 that are that one of your clients might come in and say, Hey, we're running our whole platform or whole event on this platform, you know, like, don't have any, there will be some boutique ones. And you are given some grace to have to figure those out whatever the case may be, but you don't want to have one of the top 10 webinar platforms or top 10 virtual event platforms that a client is using and have your team be totally crickets about having heard about it. So you know, they're all mostly the same. But every single platform has its own intricacies. And you would really benefit to make sure that your staff is fully up to speed on those.

Alex McGlynn:

Yeah, absolutely. Also, for anyone who has a an AV partner, like ASAP or friedens, or someone like that talk to your rep, or your in house person about what they're doing to prepare for the kind of shift in what's expected from venues on the AV side, they should have a plan. And if they don't, you should push them to get a plan together. Because again, at least some segment of events are going to be hybrid. And if you don't have high quality audio and video capturing ability, it's going to be really hard for you to stream to these virtual event platforms,

Patrick Rife:

you're going to go somewhere else.

Alex McGlynn:

Exactly. And so kind of this next point goes hand in hand with that. It's a slightly different team, which is why it's a different point but it's still the same overall problem area, you need to make sure you have good consistent Wi Fi, and potentially have multiple Wi Fi access points. So different bands, if you don't know what I'm talking about, find your audio video infrastructure person or your network specialist, and talk to them about this. And just make sure that you guys are prepared for the fact that there's going to be a ton of data that has to be streamed over your internet to make this happen. And if you're incapable of doing that, for whatever reason, if you don't have the ability to add better Wi Fi, or better routers, or better overall connectivity, make sure you're telling your clients up front that that is going to be a not necessarily a pitfall, it's just going to be a roadblock, they're gonna have to figure out a workaround. And now it's not the end of the world. And then with 5g internet coming out, there's some really strong hotspot networks that people can get access to now, that is capable of streaming large amounts of data. But again, you just need to know that make sure that you are well versed in what you're you're able to do on the Wi Fi side, and you're able to make those upgrades you really should. Even without hybrid events, I mean, all those cell phones and laptops and tablets, connecting to the same internet sources is going to create some lag on its own. And then if you have to add video, high quality video and audio streaming into that mix, it's a, again, a lot of places are gonna have some struggle with it. And if you're thinking about it ahead of time, you can potentially avoid some of those those issues. Yeah.

Patrick Rife:

So next on the list, when it comes to issues is, is going to be implementation for I think the overall theme that you're talking about kind of is provisioning. Yeah. And in a way, it's the same for this this point, which is the implementation and the provisioning of that implementation. So a lot of your partners are going to come in and they're going to like, they're going to have all the like headline stuff of what they think they need to do to make their event hybrid, but they're probably not going to look under the hood at all. So adding on site technical consulting to your suite of products is going to be one huge opportunity to get a little bit more incremental revenue on the total deal. But two is going to be paramount to a successful event, because there's a really good chance that your partner or your client has done a little bit they've done some research, but they haven't talked with an integrator. And for these first hybrid events to pretend like the the skills and resources that you have an event planner are just going to carry over and it's going to be effortless is is just not true whatsoever. There are so many ways that you know, from from design to staffing to production, I mean the in every single category for any event, there are now two categories, and sometimes three if there's like a hinge between the two of them. So definitely thinking about adding technical consulting, to your suite of products is not only going to be an incremental revenue win, but it's also going to help the events go that much better. And it's going to happen to the benefit of your customer because they're going to have a better experiences and be much easier.

Alex McGlynn:

Yeah, absolutely. And this doesn't have to be someone you hire on staff, you should probably find like a local infrastructure consulting team, or technology consulting team to work with. But it's certainly something you should have in your Rolodex. Because like Pat said, definitely be there. Closer conversations you're going to have to have whether you want to or not. And the more that you can add as a partner in a vendor, the better off you are speaking partners, and vendors. rethink the list of preferred and required vendors that you have for your venue or event space. This isn't necessarily mean to cut out people that you've been working with for years or anything like that. But you do want to talk to them about what they're doing to prepare for things like hybrid events. You know what it was, at the beginning, we talked about safety improvements and health improvements, things like that, like what have they done to make their services safer for your clients. The last thing you want is you know, your catering company or your photobooth company or any DJ or something to expect him to go back to the way things were 12 months ago, that is going to cause people to feel a little uncomfortable. And it's probably not going to be a cultural conversation for you to have with your vendors. But it's a necessary one. If they haven't made those improvements, you know, you need to consider maybe switching to someone who has. And if they're no longer capable of working with you or they could have gone out of business. That's another unfortunate reality of the situation we find ourselves in making sure that they're equipped to come back in full force for you know, 500,000 or 1500 person event. And then finding new vendors to fill in the gaps where the newly created gaps that have arisen out of the idea of hybrid events. So yeah, it's like AV consulting, technology consulting. Those are new potential vendors, you could be adding to your list, finding a production cost Companies that are capable of doing video streaming and things like that, and making sure they have the technology, the equipment to handle it, all of those things, you know, especially you, venues that do nothing else, but events. This revenue is your lifeblood, actually, I don't have to tell you that. But then also, the other thing is, you probably don't have a ton of resources on hand. So the more vendors you can find to fill some of these holes, the better off you'll be, and happier clients will be, and you'll have way less headaches.

Patrick Rife:

Yeah, particularly if you can make sure that their philosophies align, I think like to build up what you were saying, I think a little bit about it, like, like the chain of command with the chain of cold command is and like grocery terms, right? So when you have delivering stuff that is perishable, like it always has to save a certain temperature otherwise, it's compromised, right? So like, in the same way, the infrastructure process for things, all things, but events going forward, it's going to be more like that, right? Like what good are we if we didn't make sure that the cater has, you know, implemented policies to operate at the like, highest amount of safety and a post COVID world, right, like it compromises all, so we have to make sure that that is kind of, you know, a much more thought out and cohesive plan. So next on the list is create a new sales pitch sales plan, you're going to really need to update everything when it comes to that and and in saying that, I mean that you won't have any sales pitches that don't at least make reference to all three of the options and buy three of the options, I mean, fully virtual fully in real life or a hybrid event. So your sales team is going to need to be able to talk about it, to understand the options to recognize how the products work, so they can help with the client, when they're in their discovery phase, like the discovery phase is probably going to be deeper, there's probably going to need to be two calls, because probably the scope call person isn't going to also be the person that's putting their hands under the hood for some of the the technology side, and they're going to need to bring that person in, it's going to just in general, be a probably like a longer sales cycle that has more touch points in it. So you know, you'll probably need to adjust your pricing accordingly. And you'll also need to make sure that like, from a collateral standpoint, from a pitch standpoint, like all of it has been worked all the way through, because, you know, when you get into those discovery calls, you need to be prepared for any way that it's going to go. And the buyers are going to already be sensitive and overwhelmed to the process, because it's so new anyway. And because there's a lot on the line, right? Because they used to know how to, like deliver the goods in their position. And these were like in real life events, and then the whole thing changed on them. And now they've got to like, catch up to this entire new ecosystem. And they're like, they're gonna be worried they're gonna be concerned about Can I do this isn't gonna come up the way that I want it to. And like, all of that is going to fall on the feet of your sales team. So make sure that there that there will build out and well educated to be able to kind of bring this new suite of products and events to the marketplace.

Alex McGlynn:

Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, just to double down on this, your clients and partners might not expect you to have all the answers, but you should try to have them anyway, the more value you can add, and the more information you can provide, the better relationship you're going to have with your customer. So keep that in mind. Also, this is kind of a secondary point that I just thought of when you're talking like the suite of things you could offer. So obviously in person at hybrid events are pretty obvious ones, you might be thinking, How can I help with a virtual event. So what we're actually seeing in the events ecosystem is the production side of events still being hosted at a venue because it has the built in a B to make successful presentations easier. And then it being streamed to people who are sitting in their living room. So if you've seen any award shows recently, a lot of them are moving to this platform, a lot of big conferences are also moving to this kind of way of doing things where they're still having the production side, there's just no audience available. So think about it. Like when the NFL like when the NFL is playing, they're still playing the football game, there is no audience there. Everything's being filmed and streamed. A lot of events are going to happen the same way where speakers are still on a stage with a professional mic setup, because it's easier to create high quality, audio and video that way. There just won't be an audience in the, in the stands, so to speak. So you can still offer those types of services. And again, this kind of goes to the next point, which is creating new and more interesting marketing collateral. Think about different ways that you can kind of fit into this new universe and create Marketing Cloud around it. Like Ben said, Everything you do should have all three options on it. You should be highlighting the health and safety protocols you put in place you should be highlighting any new AB upgrades you've made. You should be highlighting new Wi Fi upgrades you've made you should let you need to let everyone know who's on the internet searching for a new venue for their other apps. Coming event, exactly what you've done to prepare for this moment so that they can trust that you'll take care of them, whether it's a virtual hybrid, or in person event.

Patrick Rife:

Yeah, totally. Well said. So next up on the list is know your capabilities and have them easily accessible. So like, know what you do well, like, know exactly what you know, like, whether it's documentation for, you know, your AV, whether it's sales, collateral, you know, like, whether it's where your sweet spot is gonna be like, like, I mean, maybe that should be the underlying point more than anything for this one is. It's always requiring of amazing discipline to not go after everything all at once, and there's probably a really good chance that you're starting to get a pretty, pretty large variety of different types of events that are coming in. And each one is going to necessitate a different people playbook. So you know, if you can focus on what you do exceptionally well, and what you guys are most aligned with being able to come back alongside of like, that's going to be a really huge asset to you. Because obviously, the quicker you can get back on your feet and feeling good about it like that reverberates, it's going to reach out to your customers and your clients, it's going to help drive reviews, it's going to help your team feel like they're moving in the right direction, and they're coming back. And you know, positive energy begets positive energy. So,

Alex McGlynn:

yeah, it's okay to not be able to do everything that your client needs, I mean, you could, there's still a high probability that if you're their preferred venue, you'll still get the deal. They just know ahead of time that there's going to be a little bit of additional work on certain points. And also, no one's ever expected you to have all the answers. And everyone's got an RFP that asks for the world, and you send them back something a little bit more reasonable, and they accept it without asking questions. So again, just have that in mind, like Pat said, know what you're good at know, areas where there might be some issues or some stumbling blocks, and just be prepared for it, you know, putting a testimonial gathering plan together. And that's not the best wording, but you need testimonials about hybrid and virtual events. And the only way you're going to get them as if you ask for them. This isn't something you should probably be doing all of the time. And most people events share pretty good about this. But you need to be really diligent about the first four or five people who have events at your venue after this, like whether you have to give them discounting, or you have to put their logo on your website or something or whatever, it doesn't matter. Offer them things to get them to give you a really good testimonial. So when the event went well, because you're gonna need those people are going to be looking to their peers for what's working and what's not. And if you have, you know, the last four hybrid events you hosted were a huge success. It's a big win, and it can make people feel a lot more comfortable working with you.

Patrick Rife:

Yep. So the last point is to test and test and test and test and on cross tests with different teams, get everybody in the same room, break them down by sales and operations, catering, work groups together, just between sales and K, like just talk, run mock events, there's a lot of moving pieces, and nothing's gonna help you map them out more like just doing it. And, you know, like, make sure you do the work, put the work in so that way you come out of the box really strong because you know, your clients, your business, everything is going to do better for for that effort.

Alex McGlynn:

Yeah, and there's nothing worse than your new state of the art Wi Fi system failing on you during your first life event. And I mean, anyone who's ever dealt with Wi Fi issues, you know, you bring the consultant in and they tell you everything should be good to go. And then a day later, right back where you were, and they're right back inside trying to fix it again. Make sure you test everything you don't want to run into problems during an event. Yep.

Patrick Rife:

So that's it. That's the end of today's episode. If you guys don't mind before you go if you could please remember to rate review or subscribe your reviews help us find more listeners for our podcast and your subscription ensures you get notified on your platform of choice each day when we publish a new video or podcast. So without further ado, and until tomorrow, I'm Patrick Rife. Peace