Coventry and Warwickshire hybrid events

Venues in Coventry and Warwickshire have seen an overwhelming return to physical meetings, conferences and exhibitions as enquiries for hybrid events decrease.

Conference Coventry and Warwickshire, the region’s convention bureau, has been speaking with venues across the area – with one venue reporting that 75 per cent of enquiries favour face-to-face over hybrid events.

The convention bureau canvassed major venues from across the region, including Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry Conferences, Warwick Conferences, British Motor Museum, Telegraph Hotel, Eliot Park Innovation Centre and IXL Events Centre.

Coventry Conferences reported that four out of 10 enquiries are still requesting hybrid capability, which is a stable level, while at Warwick Conferences there is a decrease in hybrid enquiries.

However, both venues emphasised there is still a place for hybrid events to reach global audiences – and there is still work being done to improve hybrid capability at Coventry Conferences.

Most of those surveyed indicated that the reasons for the drop-off in hybrid requests are led by the reduced impact of Covid-19, but were also impacted by a number of other factors.

These include organisers not being aware of what hybrid can bring to an event, but after discussions with venues they are more likely to request hybrid support.

Cost is also a factor, with organisers increasingly cost-conscious and the number of virtual attendees not able to justify the additional costs.

It was also suggested that, on some occasions, organisers believe giving a virtual attendance option will lead to delegates not attending in person, with in-person attendance being the priority.

Coventry Building Society Arena, the region’s largest venue, highlighted that they do still have hybrid enquiries but these tend to be from industries were Covid protocols are still essential – for example Government or NHS.

Toby Batchelor, Head of Commerce at the British Motor Museum, said: “Hybrid is still an element of conference and exhibition delivery, but I think it is now being used more as an extension for organisers rather than the focus.

“Clever and savvy organisers are always looking for ways to extend the audience for their events and reach further. Hybrid can help to do that.

“However, I would say that hybrid is more of a focus for small meetings and not larger scale events. The focus for larger events is certainly face-to-face.”

Beth Collins, Event Sales Coordinator at IXL Events Centre, added: “Hybrid events were a fantastic solution to still host events during the uncertain times going through the pandemic.

 

“We have held some hybrid events and are fully prepared to design two experiences - in-person and virtual - should the client ask for it. However, in our experience, hybrid events are not as important any longer as enquiries for face-to-face events have returned to normal levels.”

Conference Coventry and Warwickshire is part of the region’s newest destination management organisation (DMO), Destination Coventry.

Paul Jones, Managing Director of Conference Coventry and Warwickshire, said: “There has been a huge desire from people to get back to face-to-face events and the inevitable impact of that has been a reduction in enquiries for hybrid events.

“However, we would say there is certainly still a place for hybrid and we have fantastic technology and capability in venues across the region in order to deliver high-quality hybrid meetings, conferences and exhibitions.

“But the return to face-to-face events is fantastic for our visitor economy and we have a wonderful, varied portfolio of venues for event organisers to choose from in Coventry and Warwickshire.”

To find out more about Conference Coventry & Warwickshire visit https://www.conferencecoventryandwarwickshire.co.uk/

Published: 21st July 2022