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anon 04/04/2013 [1]

Hybrid wobbles

We're about to hold our first hybrid event, live-streaming a workshop session to an online audience. I think I've thought of everything - think - but I'm sure I've forgotten something obvious that could derail the whole process. What if the speaker moves around too much and goes out of shot? Does it matter? What if online audience can't hear Q&As? Any advice for a hybrid virgin??

Ronald van de Streek of Congrex (Holland) B.V. 04/04/2013

Dear Anon,

Maybe obvious, but make sure you have a good Internet connection! Many venues offer WiFi, but speed is almost never guaranteed. This also applies to Internet via cables.

Furthermore it is a real challenge to keep the (hybrid) audience involved in the sessions which is a must for a good hybrid event.

Also think about what you will do with the content after the event. Are you planning on sharing it throughout the year(s) to come? If so, did all speakers release their content to you for that purpose?

Good luck!

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anon 08/03/2013 [1]

Commission worries

We've recently appointed a PCO to run our annual conference and noticed a number of commission items in the fee struture, against hotel rooms, sponsorship etc. I understand this is standard practice, but can't help feeling a bit exposed by all of this. Any advice/things to look out for would be appreciated...

Genevieve Leclerc of The Transportation Society 22/03/2013

As an international planner who has worked for a PCO for 16 years and is now Director of Meetings for an international association, I totally understand your concern and perhaps I can help a bit. The revenue that a PCO derives from managing a meeting consists of more than half a dozen sources. It typically costs about twice as much to run an international meeting that what PCOs can charge their association clients, otherwise too much revenue out of the registration fee would go to administration. Therefore a portion of their revenue has to come from elsewhere, and commissions are standard because, unlike other revenue streams, they are tied to the PCO's performance. From your point of view, I would recommend: 1) Have a conversation with your PCO (ideally before contract) where you ask for transparency and wish to know where they make their revenue (it's ok for them to make money, unlike us they are not non-profit). Then 2) State your bottom-line, and what you hope to make as far as revenues for your organization, so they understand that you also need revenue to reinvest in your association. Scope out with them how they intend to make you ear this revenue. 3) Tie how much commission or other incentives they obtrain to performance (number of delegates, abstracts, exhibitors, sponsors, etc.) in the contract, and you can increase the percentage if the minimum is reached. 4) Ask for a bigger share of the profits (or commissions) if your target is reached. 5) Talk to your (their) suppliers and make them understand that you know this is going on and that you want to make sure it's on the up and up (i.e. commissions are written in contracts and you know about them). 6) You can ask for free rooms to be passed on to you and concessions from them, which they will give upon asking if you make it part of the deal. Make this work for you by entering in a true partnership with your PCO where both parties will benefit. It’s my experience that after all these years, few associations and PCOs have truly learned to work well together and trust each other, in part because not enough dialogue is happening on what each of the parties want out of the agreement (over and above ‘a successful meeting’). Good luck!

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anon 12/02/2013 [2]

Venues are too eager to please

I've noticed more venues are promising free wi-fi these days, which is definitely a good thing. But as congress co-ordinator for a fairly large society the big deal for me is not if internet is free but if it WORKS! So often there is a gap between what is promised and what is delivered in terms of capacity and when things go wrong you just get a shrug of the shoulders. I think I speak for most meeting planners in the association world when I say, 'give me a service that works, we'll talk about the price later!

Barbara Wutte of Peyton Events 23/03/2013

I agree, this is why we have upgraded the Wifi to a 30Mb download/ upload at the British Library Conference Centre and it is still free

Anaïs Lesne of Palais des congrès de Montréal 09/05/2013

You are really right, and organisers should always make sure to obtain quality wi-fi by first inquiring about: bandwidth size, hotspot density, bandwidth redundancy, free wi-fi speed versus pay wi-fi speed.
Those technical informations mean a lot!
In Montréal for instance, our 10-gigabyte network capacity, our 1-gigabyte bandwidth, the redundancy of our systems for accrued dependability, and our 479 hotspots Palais-wide can accommodate 20,000 wireless connections simultaneously and seamlessly. This also means you can browse the internet problem-free.
Our advice: thoroughly validate the technical specifications before saying yes to free wi-fi!

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anon of anon 18/01/2013 [0]

Should we ban ipads at congress?

Mobile devices are proving a real distraction at our meetings and seminars, especially tablets! People seem incapable of just sitting and listening to the speaker without looking at their iPad (other tablets are available). Is it time we banned them from meetings??? Can we/should we do this?

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anon 03/01/2013 [0]

How do you price webstreaming?

We're web-streaming various tracks from congress - including keynote speakers- and wondered if anyone had any tips re.pricing. Some of team think it should be free (!) but wouldn't that annoy members who have paid to turn up? I was thinking charging 25% of congress fee for full access...?

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Anon, in-house congress organiser 11/12/2012 [1]

Speaker 'off message'

Grrr. So our keynote speaker was fine, but his presentation was only (very) vaguely related to the blurb in our programme, which made our association look stupid and resulted in some negative feedback from delegates. do you ensure speakers say what they say they're going to say?

Anonymous user 17/12/2012

Chances are this isn't the first time. Ideally, seeing the speaker before hiring them might help prevent this kind of outcome. Using speakers' bureaus might also do the trick, especially for keynotes.

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