Since the arrival of COVID-19, thousands of events have been postponed, cancelled or moved to virtual platforms. While the vaccine has allowed many businesses to resume events and meetings as usual, breakthrough cases and the Omicron variant have continued to stall the ability for face-to-face encounters. So, what does all of this mean for the future of in-person meetings?

In early December 2021, Encore surveyed a number of meeting and event planners to gain insight into what trends they are seeing and what they predict for meetings going forward. Keep reading to learn more or check out our Winter 2021-2 Planner Pulse Report.

More planners are requiring vaccinations

Many organizations across the country, including the event planning industry, have implemented new protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and help attendees feel comfortable attending in-person events. Last fall, event professionals noted that reduced interest for in-person gatherings was due to a perceived lack of safety precautions. From requiring masks to creating socially distant floorplans, event planners are taking additional measures to promote a healthy environment and build confidence about meeting in-person.

According to our survey, 48 percent of planning organizations now require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to attend in-person events. Meeting professionals have opted for enhanced protocols to create both a safer meeting environment and more peace of mind for attendees.

Planners continue to use hybrid platforms

It’s no secret that the rising number of COVID cases and the presence of the Omicron variant have led to some hesitancy to attend public events. That is why hybrid events have been one of the leading meeting formats over the past 18+ months.

Our survey indicated that 49 percent of meeting planners have executed hybrid events during the last six months—a 4 percent increase over the number of hybrid events conducted since conducting our survey in fall 2021. While the goal is to get more attendees to participate in-person, planners are starting to make virtual meeting components a permanent option.

Planners anticipate higher spending in 2022

One of biggest ways the pandemic has impacted the events industry is by how many resources businesses and organizations are willing to invest in their meetings and events. Thankfully, there is a lot of optimism going into 2022. According to our latest Planner Pulse survey, 11 percent of event professionals indicated that their meeting spend has already recovered to pre-COVID 2019 levels, while another 46 percent are expecting to do so this year.

Planners predict an increase of in-person events

While virtual events have taken the industry by storm since early in the pandemic, many attendees are eager to get back to face-to-face gatherings. As previously mentioned, the vaccine is allowing for in-person events to make a comeback…slowly. While there is no specific timeline on how quickly in-person meetings will start to be a more regular occurrence, meeting planners are confident that we will see a steady rise in the second quarter of 2022. Event professionals are suggesting to other planners that they use this time to learn how they can leverage some of the best practices from their virtual and hybrid events.

Meeting planners are optimistic that the number of in-person gatherings will continue to increase throughout 2022—stateside and worldwide. Encore not only has the solutions you need to present your events through virtual and hybrid formats but is also dedicated to promoting how in-person meetings can happen safely. Share how and where you are showing up during your meetings and events. Post your recent or upcoming event with #BeingThere on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.

Last week, Encore team members attended and participated in MPI’s WEC Las Vegas! It is one of the first big events in the past 15 months, and we couldn’t be happier to see each other face-to-face! We had the opportunity to catch up with our presenters and ask them a few questions about their experiences.

This is one of the first large in-person events in the past 15 months. How is an in-person event different now than it was before?

John Kirby, National Account Manager: The hugging was egregious, and I’m a hugger! Just kidding! I would say that it was incredible to feel the excitement of walking into a room again, to see a team working, even if it wasn’t OUR team, to be in a space full of people that were just as excited as you were.  You could see on the event staff’s faces how happy they were to be working again. I felt charged up on  dopamine every time I met someone new, hugged a friend I hadn’t seen in a couple of years or interfaced with someone I had not met before. I could feel it in the way I walked the floor, talked to people and embraced the opportunity to learn that I was given. I wanted to be as present as possible to soak up what I had been missing so badly for all these months.

encore - wec 2021

John Rissi, SVP, Customer and Industry Relations: The enthusiasm to be live again was palpable, with everyone sharing their stories of Zoom exhaustion. We will quickly return to normal based on what I saw here and the desire to be together and in person has never been stronger.

Tom Andrika, Director, Customer Engagement, Concise: Temperature checks provided safety and security to attendees. Spaces and seating are still more spread out, but the energy of human connection still brings people closer! It’s never felt better to hug!

Debra Mategrano, Regional Sales Director: It felt amazing to attend an event in-person! I appreciated the health screening form each attendee filled out daily before entering the convention, and the daily temperature checks provided a sense of security. The ribbons offered to attendees to wear as a way of expressing their comfort level with physical interaction was quite useful, and the overall exhilaration coursing through the veins of the conference made the entire experience feel remarkably unique and powerful!

Encore - WEC 2021

 What are your positive takeaways from WEC?

John Rissi: We are an industry of huggers! The passion of those involved in MPI and this industry is stronger than ever.

Ron Nicynski, VP, Strategy and Development, Hargrove: People are SO happy to be LIVE again. This industry is PROUD to have made it through this, together, and we’re ready for what is to come.

Ben Erwin, President and CEO: Live events are back! People in our industry are ready to leverage the silver linings of the past year, like digital tools and increased conversations on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to build back better than we ever were before.

Tom Andrika: Based on my observations and conversations with fellow attendees, as long as we continue on the upward track of coming out of the pandemic, in-person events are going to come back heavy and hard. Virtual and hybrid events will still be part of the ecosystem and will be advantageous solutions for specific types of events and certain business goals. Understanding audience journeys and effectively planning and executing audience engagement moments in order to change behavior or drive change is critical.

Debra Mategrano: People are ready for in-person events. The networking capabilities that WEC provides in-person are instrumental to us as a supplier to this industry, and for all customers in the industry!

Did you see any areas where we have the opportunity to improve the attendee experience at in-person events?

Ron Nicysnki: People seem anxious that they don’t know how to really engage a virtual audience AND a live audience equally, simultaneously.

Ben Erwin: I felt a little restless sitting in a large audience watching a speaker without my computer in hand. Educational sessions in dark rooms after having plenty of these on Zoom were less satisfying than meeting people one-on-one to truly connect.

Matt Harvey, VP, Virtual and Hybrid: The opportunity for hybrid to be part of building back better is real.  But there are key gaps around complexity and cost that need to be solved. 

Debra Mategrano: More engagement elements could have boosted the take-away experience for breakout attendees.

John Rissi: As an industry we still have a long way to go to be as diverse and inclusive as we should be, but the will to make change is strong! 

Are there any presentations you particularly enjoyed? Any key insights gained?

John Kirby: In particular, there was a session I attended on Busy Bosses: Leadership Lessons for Those That Don’t Have Time, and it talked a lot about strategies for engaging your teams when time is at such a premium to get the best results and build culture while doing it! I was also reminded at several points in different sessions how important the concept of self-care is. I need to employ more of that for myself so I can show up for my team members and customers the way they deserve each day!

Ben Erwin: I really liked Rich Bracken’s presentation about investing in your mental health and Michael Bush’s presentation on creating great workplaces.

John Rissi: I enjoyed the session with Michael Bush from Great Place to Work. He really inspired me with his discussion about inclusive leadership. I loved his description of the best leaders as those that listen, think and speak with purpose!

Debra Mategrano: Beyond the Badge with Zoe Moore was great. This breakout was incredibly engaging and relevant without being over the top!

Tom Andrika: Food packaging is different and feels like a reversal on sustainability goals, which is an area we will need to improve on.

Encore - WEC 2021

As we celebrate Pride Month 2021, many are reflecting on how far we’ve come in equality and inclusion for members of the LGBTQ+ community.  Others are reflecting how far we still have yet to go.  But just as we celebrate the unique and important differences between those in the LGBTQ+ community, Pride Month often holds unique and different meanings in the hearts of each person depending on their own story.

Looking back and ahead, the leaders of our Pride at Encore Business Resource Group (BRG) took time to reflect on what this month means to them personally.  Here’s what they had to share:


Donna Hubley, VP, Field Sales

In our world, we can be surrounded by people at any given time, whether it’s through work, with friends, at our homes with our family.  Just because you are surrounded by humans, it doesn’t mean that you can’t feel alone at times. Pride makes me feel that there is a community, a protective circle, defending your right to be…you.  You may not know the community members by name but you know they are there. And there alongside you, protecting you as well as going into battle with you. In short, Pride is knowing that I have a massive extension of my friends and family network.  I flat out love that. ​​​​​​​


Ken Scearce, National Account Manager

I look forward to June every year because we slow down and make time to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and our extended family that we choose.  I came out at the age of 23 and quickly found a connection within the LGBTQ+ sports community that I never dreamed existed.  Today, I am still surrounded by those same friends I met almost three decades ago. Over the years at Encore, I have connected with many team members and customers who are part of the LGBTQ+ community or allies. I am so proud of the commitment to diversity Encore has made over the last few years and for the month of June, we have really been able to showcase some of our progress and outline what the future could be by working together and supporting each other.  


Bob Caldrone, VP, Talent Acquisition

As the leader of talent acquisition at Encore, it is critically important we source, recruit and hire a diverse work force that represents the communities we work and live in. Although it’s important that we have this philosophy and approach year round, Pride month allows us to highlight the efforts of the organization. I am so proud to be part of the Pride Business Resource Group at Encore and leverage all the current and future initiatives identified by the team. The future is very bright.


Marissa Mireles, Area Director, Venues

Although it took a long time for me to be comfortably “out”, I often joke that I don’t have a “coming out story”. I don’t mean to say that lightly, but because of the great community of friends I had as a young adult and because I am blessed with an amazingly accepting family, I never encountered a “coming out moment”. Instead, I was just me. I remember starting with this company having no fear to be myself, and it was delightful and reassuring that everyone around me felt the same way. The support and welcome of the various team members I’ve met throughout my years with the company give me a sense of pride of which I am truly grateful. Pride month is always a time for me to appreciate what I have while knowing not everyone has the same experience, so I love to think about what we can do with our BRG to make that a possibility for everyone within our community.


Emily Landrum, Digital Services Specialist

As a bi woman married to a man, it can be hard to see myself as a full-fledged member of the LGBTQ+ community. I never feel nervous to hold hands with my partner, and I’m spared a lot of stares and comments from children and the elderly. It can also be harder to find my people in a new place – I haven’t had a lot of luck with my “I’M BISEXUAL” forehead tattoo. However, this straight-passing privilege has allowed me to have conversations about Pride, equality and the queer community with people who don’t normally have a lot of contact with us, and I’m always excited when I get to answer a “dumb question” or clear up a misconception. To me, Pride is a reminder of just that – how proud I am to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community, to be a bi woman and to be working for a company that’s showing its commitment to equity and diversity.


Shane Slaughter, Senior Director, Program Production

Pride is unapologetically living my life with the person that I love. Pride is raising my children without prejudice or bigotry. Pride is sharing my love for my community and helping others to achieve their dreams.


Encore strives to create workplaces that reflect the communities in which we work and live, and where every individual has a full sense of belonging. By doing so, we fuel our innovation, collaboration, expertise and excellence, and connect more closely to our customers and the communities we serve.

We are proud to launch our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion page on, which can be found by clicking here.

We will also be featuring members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community on social media next week, so feel free to follow along with the hashtag #PrideatEncore!

Need help getting guests engaged at your next event? Here are six steps.

What started as a quick pivot to virtual events in the early stages of the pandemic has now shifted to hybrid events, and it’s now expected that hybrid events will remain a common format long after the pandemic is behind us. An Encore Planner Pulse study completed in April shows that ‘effectively engaging both in-person and remote attendees at hybrid events’ is the most important challenge facing meeting professionals.

When planning a hybrid event there are two distinct audiences to consider: in-person attendees and virtual participants. Therefore, as an event professional, you have to work harder to engage everyone. There’s an experiential gap; someone’s on site, someone isn’t. How can you ensure each participant group is involved and what does success look like? 

When we think about the hybrid audience, we map how to shift from pushing content at participants, to truly engaging them. If you simply provide them with information, they might listen or read, but it will be a passive experience and one they may not learn from.

There are six clear steps to help capture the attention of your participants wherever they are, and move them from informed to engaged, for hybrid event success.

Hybrid Engagement

Step One: Agenda

The first step towards achieving higher engagement is setting expectations. Having an event agenda available within your platform is an easy first step and lets everyone know what to expect and where they need to be at the right time.

Step Two: Content and Messaging

Provide contextual content around the agenda, such as presentations, auxiliary information and speaker biographies, to get participants into the right mindset for the content of each presentation. Messages can be sent to participant groups or individuals through the platform, to prepare them for, or nudge them to join a specific session.

Step Three: Chat and Forum

Then comes the networking piece. As a participant, I’m in the right place, I’ve got access to great content, but can I learn a bit more about a topic, by having conversations with others attending the event? While watching a presentation, participants can simultaneously network and interact through Chat and Forum features, expanding their knowledge and actively engaging with experts and cohorts.

Step Four: Questions, Feedback and Polling

These are engagement tools that allow presenters to reach out and connect with participants to encourage live conversation and interaction. While there may not be two-way audio and video running, virtual participants can contribute to the success of a hybrid event by providing in-the-moment feedback, add their opinions to polls and ask presenters live questions that other attendees may want to hear the answers to.

Step Five: Interactivity

Your hybrid event must be interactive to engage your participants. Many studies show that if a speaker talks through a 60-slide presentation, your audience will struggle to maintain focus (or fall asleep). Insights should be pulled from the minds in the room, or at home, via Chime Live’s interactive suite and used to perpetuate and/or segue to different topics, to keep participants involved and engaged.

Step Six: Live Stream

Lastly there is the live stream presentation. Your presenters should have energy and enthusiasm for their content. We recommend working with their existing personality traits to achieve the best results. If they are naturally humorous, then encourage the use of humor. Visuals and motion graphics including speaker bumpers and video recalls, borrow techniques used for TV and Netflix, to make for a richer broadcast environment.

To learn more about Creating Engagement at Hybrid Events, catch the recording of the ProEDge session with Chris Bryant, Director of Global Accounts with Concise.

4 Questions to get you started

Covid-19 has meant an unprecedented rise in the number of virtual Annual General Meetings around the world. Even markets that once only permitted in-person shareholder or voting member meetings are now considering hybrid formats. 

So what exactly constitutes a hybrid AGM?

A hybrid Annual General Meeting is an AGM that has both in-room attendees as well as remote attendees who participate via a virtual event platform. Like any type of hybrid event, it’s the combination of both the in-room and online experience which makes it hybrid.

These two audience groups can apply to both the shareholders as well as the company board of directors and other stakeholders. For example:

  • In-room and virtual attendees with board of directors attending in-person
  • In-room and virtual attendees with all, or some of the board of directors attending virtually.


Unlike other elective events, AGMs are a legal requirement of publicly listed companies and come with a unique array of requirements. This new hybrid model presents AGM planners with a whole new set of challenges and considerations.

To assist with your planning, here are four helpful starter questions on how to plan a hybrid Annual General Meeting.

How do you start planning a hybrid Annual General Meeting?

1. How many shareholders and speakers will I need to allow for and where are they located?

The first two parts of this question you can determine quite simply. Once you have your total possible audience size, you need to factor in your average attendance rates as well as your venue’s capacity. With current travel restrictions in place, you should allow for a larger portion of shareholders to attend virtually. Similarly, depending on the location of your board members or other speakers, they may choose to attend in-person at the venue or virtually via a live-stream or pre-recorded video.

Understanding the numbers you’ll need to allow for will not only help with venue selection, but also what kind of virtual event platform and hosting you’ll need for the virtual component. For example, a virtual audience of only 20 requires far less technical power and support than an AGM of 10,000 shareholders with attendees streaming from different locations.

Once you have an idea of who will be where and how many will be there in-person as well as attending or presenting virtually, this information will help form the basis of your technical requirements for your hybrid AGM production partner.

2. What AGM participation requirements do I need to consider?

The key to running an effective hybrid AGM is using hybrid technology that doesn’t disrupt the in-room experience but which also encourages participation for the virtual attendees. As mentioned previously, understanding how many shareholders will attend in-person versus virtually will help identify which virtual solution will meet your needs.

What hybrid event platform will you choose?

With many solutions available, finding the right virtual event platform for you needs can seem overwhelming. An obvious place to start is asking your venue’s in-house event technology and services provider if they offer one. Encore is in-house at more than 100 venues across Australia and boasts an award-winning interactive event platform, Chime Live. The platform has already been used for hundreds of hybrid and virtual AGMs worldwide because it offers a virtual experience, that’s engaging, flexible and supported by a team of experts. It combines high-definition video streaming with a suite of interactive features like live polling, Q&A, speaker bios, documents and more. Importantly, it has all the security protocols in place to be legally compliant for hosting AGMs online.

Is the platform secure?

As sensitive company content is shared along with important decisions made during AGMs, you’ll need to source a platform or integrated solution that allows for secure virtual registrations to ensure the correct people are actually attending and voting. Your AGM production partner will be able to provide a solution to manage this both in-person and virtually.

Accessing and sharing company documents, videos and resources

If the company wants to share documents, videos and other company reports you’ll need to consider how both in-person and virtual attendees will access these. Additionally, you might want to ask attendees to complete a survey on how they found the experience and any improvements which could be made. We recommend tailoring these surveys to the different audiences as some questions would be irrelevant. A platform like Chime Live can provide you with two survey versions for your audience groups to access digitally.

Does the platform allow for shareholder voting both in-room and virtually?

Voting and Q&A sessions are typically required at AGMs. Your virtual event platform will need to be able to facilitate this with all security and moderation protocols in place. For example, limiting voting to only those members allowed to vote as well as being able to cast a single vote anonymously. The beauty of an online voting system means your in-person shareholders can cast their votes using an internet-enabled device like their tablet or Smartphone. Similarly, for the Q&A session rather than run around the room sharing a microphone which goes against COVID-safety rules, your in-room shareholders can ask their questions using the virtual Q&A feature in the virtual platform. A designated moderator should be on-hand to vet questions before sending live to screen.

3. What challenges might the shareholders or board members face?

Challenges can range from bandwidth issues to scheduling content within different time zones. This is particularly challenging when your shareholders are international. In that case, there will likely be latency (delay) to contend with, which your presenters and operators need to know in advance. It becomes essential for live presenters or operators to have these details when collecting audience feedback, such as timing a poll question and determining how long it remains open.

What COVID restrictions and hygiene considerations will affect your event?

In-person attendees will want peace of mind that their health and safety are of the highest priority. Due to the event industry’s recent adaptations to combat COVID-19, this will remain important for some time. Encore’s MeetSAFE guidelines provide best-practices in the design and delivery of safe AGMs and events of all kinds. The guidelines ensure events are delivered safely in the changing landscape for live, virtual and hybrid meetings and events. The guidelines were developed with four key areas of event design and delivery in mind:

  • Room layout
  • Traffic flow
  • Technology enhancements
  • Cleaning guidelines.

Be ready to ask your event production partner these questions and how they can help mitigate challenges remotely and in-person to ensure a positive experience for your AGM attendees. The good news it, one of the biggest benefits of running a hybrid AGM lies in the ability of being able to ask some shareholders to attend virtually if restrictions change dramatically. 

On the other side of the coin, adding a virtual element can be daunting to yourself as well as your board members who may be required to attend virtually. We strongly encourage partnering with an experienced production company who can provide rehearsals, virtual stage management, and on-site tech support. Even the concept of a COVID-safe hybrid event is hard to imagine for those not familiar with the model. If you’re facing difficulty getting the hybrid AGM design over the line with the board of directors, consider presenting them with a realistic 3D rendering of the event.

Double check and check again the security protocols in place

Security is one of the most important elements when organizing a hybrid AGM. Ensuring your virtual platform is secure as well as any integrated software (if you use a third-party provider) is critical to the company’s integrity and AGM’s success. An experienced hybrid AGM technology provider would already have all the relevant measures in place to keep the AGM secure from anti-hack platforms, to tight security protocols to secure cloud based networks. Recording the event is another security measure to enable the AGM to be instantly audited allowing a complete review of the entire event and ability to pinpoint each member’s activities and attendance. As a courtesy, you should notify all attendees at the start of the AGM that the event is being recorded for security. Speak with your event technology partner to find out what security protocols they have in place for their platforms.

What accessibility features does the virtual event platform have?

Accessibility is another important element to ensure your AGM caters for attendees specific needs. There are a range of accessibility features which can be incorporated into the in-room experience as well as via the event platform to ensure everyone is accounted for. From something as simple zoom, audio control, font size and typeface, through to sign-language, translations and captioning. Discuss options with your production partner to see what is right for your company’s stakeholders.

4. How will board members deliver their content?

The nature of hybrid events means you’ll have to allow for both in-person production services as well as virtual. Depending on how your board members plan on presenting, you’ll need to consider the stage look as well as a virtual backdrop for those presenting virtually. With restrictions still in-play, make sure you follow the COVID-safety plan of your venue and event production partner when designing the stage look to ensure there’s adequate spacing, hygiene measures etc.

What backdrop or virtual studio will you use?

For consistency, it’s best when the stage looks mimic each other. Whilst you’re limited to what’s available for the in-room stage look, Presentation Stages have the ability to incorporate a range of digital assets into the backdrops such as embedded videos, animated graphics, microsites and more. They can even change in appearance to suit the topic of the presentation. A basic Presentation Stage setup typically consists of a static backdrop or green screen and desk with the presenter and production team. Your speakers have the opportunity to live stream their presentation or pre-record it and host on the virtual platform. If you’re looking for something that stands out, Encore has a variety of Presentation Stage environments that vary in size, technology, and custom content options. While extremely impactful, this type of environment requires rehearsal and production time in advance of your AGM. 

Make your AGM available on-demand

Whenever possible, we recommend you make content available on-demand. For one, it provides longevity to your content as well as an archive of the AGM for auditing purposes.

The take away – hybrid AGMs are here to stay.

In fact, 88% of attendees at Lumi Global’s ‘AGMs of the Future’ event believe that AGMs will be mostly hybrid or virtual.

A hybrid annual general meeting provides a solution to keep your stakeholders feeling connected, while also allowing all shareholders or members to attend despite changing restrictions. Answering these four questions is a great place to start when planning an in-person, hybrid or fully virtual AGM. Arming yourself with detailed answers will go a long way in leading discussions with potential production providers. Choose an experienced, full-service event production company to help guide you through the planning process and provide a seamless service for all your needs.

According to Meeting Professionals International [MPI], over half of meeting planners say their next in-person meeting is contingent on the distribution of a safe and effective vaccine. In the February 2021 edition of The Meeting Professional, MPI shares results from their winter 2021 Meetings Outlook survey.

Virtual Events and Hybrid – Keeping Us Connected

While planners keep an eye on the long-term safety of mRNA vaccines, they turn to virtual and hybrid formats to stay connected and offer value. A live hybrid event combines a group of in-person and online participants in different locations. Wherever they’re viewing from, participants are looking for a collective and individual experience that’s positive and memorable – through their eyes.

Attending in-person is a weighty decision based on comfort level with traveling, risk/reward analysis with what they expect to gain and experience, and how they prefer to engage with others. In an era of customer experience and targeted marketing, hybrid and virtual experiences cater to a person’s comfort level with live events, learning style, desire to network, and desire to travel.

Make Hybrid and Virtual Events Memorable

And so, more than ever, it’s critical to really know your audience to know what to prioritize for your in-person and digital experiences.

Setting up a camera on a tripod and streaming it for your audience might be appropriate for a single presentation, but it won’t work well for an annual meeting or congress.

Meet their experience needs by putting yourself in their shoes at EVERY stage of your event, just as you do with your in-person attendees. With creativity and the right partnerships, you can effectively find solutions that won’t break your budget. For example, at an in-person annual meeting, your audience is overcome by the environment. There’s a buzz in the main concourse. People are mingling, walking from space to space; there are branding elements everywhere. How do you recreate that excitement online? Use a hand-held camera and do a live walkthrough in your event space. With in-person attendees in the background, highlight fun or unique areas onsite as well as in your event app. Pre-record segments from in-person or remote attendees asking them to share what they’re most excited about and play those segments at the beginning or during breaks.

Vary the Experience – Based on Audience and Meeting Type

The example above does not work for every event type and audience. The point is to develop an experience specifically targeted to those personas in your audience. Fostering that feeling of a shared experience increases your value proposition. Why? People feel seen, and their needs get met.

How else can you break the monotony of viewing online or sharing a new meeting format? Use an event platform. Engagement tools during your educational opportunities allow your audience to check in with themselves about what they’re learning, engage with your presenters, and chat with other participants. Plus, it’s one solution you can use for both onsite and online participants. Two-way communication and feedback through chat, questions, gamification, and other methods, plus the ability to review additional materials, can all reside in your platform and elevate the virtual or hybrid experience.

Other Hybrid Experience Types

For those who prioritize meeting like-minded people and building their professional network, a local meetup in smaller numbers or ‘pods’ might benefit both your in-person and remote attendees. They may not be willing to travel across the country, but they may consider meeting with others across town. How can you best serve them? What do you need to invest in? Don’t be afraid to try new things. Implement and measure. The reward is customer loyalty and attrition when you develop an authentic understanding of your audience.

Want to learn more? Join us for our next Professional EDge session, “A Meeting Environment To Suit Every Hybrid Experience”. Register for the March 17th session here.

How a QSR company transitioned their series of global annual conventions to successful virtual experiences.

By: Christopher Baron, Senior Director, Digital Services

Hosting annual conventions for a global audience can be a feat in itself in-person, let alone in the virtual world. Finding unique ways to engage attendees year after year, while ensuring your vendors achieve their objectives, and driving home key messaging, can be a challenge.

In early November, one organization needed to find the right mix of platform, production and technology to help them bring 10 separate global conventions to life – virtually. Here’s how they made that happen.

Bringing Together Big Brands

RBI General Session photo

Our client, a multinational QSR (quick service restaurant) company hosts several events for their investors, franchisees, vendors and corporate team members throughout the year. This includes a series of conventions for their most prominent brands. Last year, they were looking to find creative ways to host their series of 10 conventions virtually, connecting over 7,000 attendees from around the world including North America, Latin America, EMEA and Asia-Pacific.

Crafting the Right Virtual Experience


Partnering with the Encore Digital Services team in Canada and a team of specialists from our sister-company Concise, our client planned to host their 10 annual events utilizing our Chime Live platform. Chime allowed our client to create custom designed lobbies to engage audience members with an in-person feel as well as create a massive exhibit floor with over 200 unique exhibitors across all 3 of their iconic brands. To ensure a seamless attendee experience, a live information booth was created in Chime to answer any questions from the virtual attendees, provide technical support and register last minute guests.



This QSR company took advantage of our global Presentation Stages™, including our Ultimate stage in Toronto, to record key messages and broadcast them out to attendees around the world. Our Production team partnered with Encore team members in Switzerland for pre-production and video capture for pre-records of remote speakers, as well as Encore Asia-Pacific team members to capture pre-records of remote speakers in Singapore. Encore team members in Australia were also there to support the technical execution for on-demand streaming into Mainland China.


The team leveraged zoom for streaming as well as to create breakout rooms for the various educational sessions. And Encore Canada’s Video Networking Lounge, Powered by Rally  was leveraged for the various networking sessions within the Chime platform, to help attendees connect and replicate that live-event networking experience.

Global Collaboration for the Win!

At the end of the event, the Quick Service Restaurant brand team was thrilled. Not only was the team able to deliver on providing an engaging virtual convention that allowed for a virtual tradeshow, networking opportunities, and education, but the global reach provided by Encore, enabled our client to bring their global audience together for this shared experience.

For information on virtual or hybrid experiences, click here or fill out the form below.

‘Hybrid’ is defined as the combination of two different elements. In the context of hybrid events, it’s;

"a physical meeting in which an online audience also participates. Essentially, both the physical as well as the online audience come together and participate in the same experience or content at the same time, from different locations."

The benefits of a hybrid event for meeting and event planners lie in the benefits of hosting both the in-person experience as well as the virtual.

So why go hybrid now and not wait until restrictions ease so we can go back to ‘normal’?

The short answer is, the days of only in-person events may be long gone. Restrictions don’t appear to be easing anytime soon, and event planners are starting to capitalize on the benefits that hybrid events can bring. Another growing indicator for an adaptation to hybrid is the fact that participants are more engaged and are enjoying the new format.

According to IMPACT, in 2021, video (including web conferencing) is projected to account for 80% of all internet traffic.

The shift to hybrid events reflects changing attendee behavior and expectations. If you’re looking for reasons to add a digital or streaming component to your event – here are some key benefits of hybrid events. 

Hybrid Event Stage

Why adding virtual to your event can create positive ROI

Event planners are well-versed in the benefits of an in-person experience, so let’s look at what adding in a virtual component can bring:

  • Increased Attendance

    While a venue has capacity limitations for in-person attendees, hybrid events provide an opportunity to reach audiences across the world. By removing the need to travel, you’re effectively able to increase your number of registrations and appeal to a broader audience.

  • Thought-leadership 

    If cost-savings leave you with a larger budget, consider reaching out to presenters who may have previously been out of reach or who are new. This creates an opportunity to build new connections, give your attendees access to new and in-demand speakers and gives presenters exposure to new audiences.

  • Networking

    Interactive virtual platforms like Chime Live are designed to facilitate engagement and networking online. Whether
    via chat, live polling, virtual break-out rooms, video chat, or connecting via social feeds, the digital experience opens up new opportunities for presenters and attendees to engage on a more intimate level than in the past. The beauty of an event platform like Chime Live is the connection created between the in-person and virtual
    attendees. Rather than treating them as separate audiences, the platform is designed to be all-inclusive, giving each attendee the same experience no matter where they login from.

Virtual Event Sponshorship
    • A New Revenue Stream

      Take advantage of the online environment and seek creative virtual event sponsorships that will bring in more revenue and ultimately increase your ROI. If you’re streaming your event live or offering it on-demand, it’s a great opportunity to drive revenue via banner ads, ticketed content, sponsored segments, digital swag bags and more.

    • Data to Report on

      The qualitative nature of in-person events make it a challenge to determine if you’ve successfully hit your goals and targets. The benefit of a hybrid event that introduces a virtual element, is in knowing who attended, when they attended, for how long, what they watched and so much more. This gives you the ability to provide sponsors with data to justify ROI, and importantly, it provides you invaluable insights for improvement.

    • On-Demand Viewing

      A key benefit to adding a virtual component to your events is being able to stream it live or on-demand. This eliminates any time-zone or scheduling conflicts and means your audiences can access the content at a convenient time. Similarly, allowing attendees to view on-demand extends the life of content investment beyond event day.

    • The Opportunity for Social Connection

       With travel and lifestyle restrictions impacting the way we connect, hybrid events provide the benefit of social 
  •    connection with people around the world. Integrating social media into your virtual event platform is a great way
  •    to connect your participants and amplify the social reach of your event. 

Why you need to keep the in-person experience

Humans are social by nature. We need to belong, to connect, and to share moments. We even communicate subconsciously through body language and pheromones, with powerful impact.

The benefits of a hybrid event lie in the elements of in-person interaction and the benefits of adding a virtual component. When executed well, hybrid events have the ability to create truly transformative experiences.

Level up your hybrid event game and earn CE credits!

Get the best hybrid event production with Encore

Encore are experts at planning and delivering successful hybrid events the ones that stand out and keep your attendees coming back. With unparalleled creative, production and technology solutions, you can be confident in the end-to-end production of your hybrid event. We’ve also developed a set of industry-recognized MeetSAFE guidelines for the safe and responsible delivery of events. In response to the pandemic, our production and technical teams implemented these guidelines amidst changing restrictions to ensure room layout, traffic flow, hygiene and technology safeguards meet local requirements. Our teams are well-versed in adapting to the needs of any hybrid event. A successful event starts with a conversation. Let’s have one today! Get in touch with our team or call 866-351-1144.