At Tractus Events, we have hosted in-person, virtual, and hybrid events. From off-grid meetings to wedding receptions to fully immersive hybrid workshops - we help our clients make meaningful, memorable experiences.
In this post, I’ll share our top three most common tips for planning hybrid conferences.
Tip #1: Make sure your venue can provide you with hard-wired internet.
Wi-Fi is not stable or fast enough for streaming live sessions to the internet. You’ll want to make sure your venue can provide you with hard-wired internet. Ask for ethernet jack locations on the floor plan.
Bandwidth is measured in megabits per second (mbps). Make sure to confirm with your venue whether they are giving you the speeds in megabits or megabytes.
Tip: to convert speeds to megabytes per second, divide the number of megabits per second by 8.
During your site visit, run a test on the venue’s internet connection. Confirm with your venue how much upload and download bandwidth is included, and how much is extra.
Rule of Thumb for Internet Speeds
You will want to have 4.0-6.0 mbps download per incoming video feed (e.g. for each speaker).
You will want to have 6.0-8.0 mbps upload per outgoing session (e.g. per Zoom Meeting you have open).
Remember - upload and download are usually different speeds. Confirm with your venue how much bandwidth (speed) you will get for each. In some cases, your connection will be symmetric - you’ll get the same upload and download speed.
Tip #2a: Hybrid Audio/Visual Budgets are Higher Than In-Person Only
If you want to produce an appealing, engaging hybrid conference, you will need more equipment than traditional in-person events.
For example, if you have online speakers, you’ll need to give them a physical presence in the room. This can be a televsion on the stage or a second projector.
Good lighting is critical for a compelling live stream. In our experience, most rooms require some additional lights - that way the presenters look professional, not like hostages on a stage.
You may also need additional TVs to display the remote participants, slides, live Q&A feed, and more.
Case Study - How a $3,000 A/V budget turned into $43,000
We had a client who came to us after they had booked a venue and had an audio/visual quote from the venue’s preferred provider. They had forgotten to mention to the A/V provider that the conference would be hybrid, and needed to be streamed.
This event was to be three days, with a few breakout rooms and a main stage. All they would have needed for an in-person only event would be a podium microphone for each room and some digital projectors for the slides.
The quote reflected this - it was around $3,000, including labour and delivery.
We had to be the bearer of bad news in this situation. After touring the venue, it was clear that the lighting would be insufficient. The presenters would appear dark and grainy on camera. Plus they had zero camera equipment to stream the sessions.
After working with the provider, they re-quoted the audio/visual setup needed. It came out to $43,000.
- Each room needed a camera.
- Each room needed lights.
- Each room needed a video producer to run the Zoom calls.
- Each room needed a television to display the slides and the remote presenters.
- Each room needed some more microphones.
But the biggest driver of the cost was the increased labour. In fact, it was over half of the quote.
After all, we went from needing one technician for a few days to needing four on-site, along with all the time needed to set up and take down all the equipment.
This leads to our next tip.
Tip #2b: Find venues which already have lights, cameras, and televisions
Working with venues which already have cameras, lights, audio equipment, and a streaming setup can lead to a substantial cost saving. A major part of the A/V cost is labour.
Tip #2c: With more A/V equipment per room, you will have reduced seating capacity
All of your hybrid event’s A/V equipment is going to take away from your floor space. This means reduced seating capacity.
Each camera will require a 4’x4’ space. Lighting rigs may require additional space. Televisions can take away from seating areas as well.
A 100-person room may only seat 75 after setup.
Don’t forget to account for that lost space when you’re planning your ticket sales.
Tip 3: Engaging with a hybrid event producer early can save you money later
There is nothing worse than having the budget blow up due to unforeseen costs. Bringing in a hybrid event producer early can help save you money later. At Tractus, we help our clients figure out what can’t and can be done with the budget they have.
We work with their venue and the audio/visual provider to build out hybrid quotes that meet the needs of their show. We know how to translate your business requirements into technology-speak for the A/V team.
Engage us early for best results
Are you planning a hybrid conference or trade show? Not sure if your venue can meet your requirements?
We can help you find the right venue, provide you with a hybrid A/V setup plan, and take the headaches out of going hybrid.