When a live event is no longer possible—major exhibitors drop out, local government regulations prohibit in-person gatherings, or attendance is too low to justify sponsor investments—organizers have a decision to make. Pre-Covid, the decision was binary: postpone the event or cancel it. Today, there are more options. There is also more complexity.

Currently, organizers have multiple alternatives to an in-person event. Sure, postponement and outright cancellation are still on the table. But so are virtual (no in-person elements) and hybrid (a combination of virtual and live) events. The latter two options are inherently more complicated than the first two. Here’s why.

The Moving Parts

There are many moving parts to virtual and hybrid events. Both require specialty software to emulate face-to-face engagement online. The two also need a back-of-the-house production crew (sometimes two crews—one for the onsite production and another for the virtual production—in the case of a hybrid event). There are contracts to be renegotiated and partners to add and subtract. It’s a lot to coordinate on a tight timeframe.

What if there was a way to transition from an in-person event to a virtual or hybrid event using the same company, same point of contact, same service contract? Here’s what you would need:

  • A production partner that also provides virtual event software solutions
  • A partner project manager that can easily pivot from live to digital
  • A partner service contract in which the services can be shifted from onsite to virtual
  • A deposit that can be reallocated from a live event to a virtual event or moved to a future event
  • In the case of a hybrid event, a contract that isn’t tied to a specific venue

You can’t overstate the last bullet point. Venues, hotels especially, aren’t in much of a giving mood these days. They can’t afford to make any concessions, including releasing you from your obligation to use the in-house AV company to produce the onsite portion of your hybrid event. So, in addition to working with a production partner that can easily transition you from live to digital, don’t get locked into a facility contract that charges you for doing so.

AV Companies

Another reason why switching from live to virtual is challenging is that event management software provision and event production are typically two separate lines of business for one company. It’s rare for the same firm to perform both functions in-house. Most software firms partner with an AV company and vice versa.

Even if you have no plans to cancel your in-person event, and most importantly, if you’ve never produced a virtual or hybrid event, consider a partner that can do both. Having options gives you peace of mind, reduces your risk, and saves time. It can also save you money. Reallocating funds committed to a partner you’re already working with is often less expensive than starting from scratch with a new company.

Contact the event production experts at SmartSource® to discuss our SmartPlan program, and confidently navigate whatever comes your way.