Time to ditch hybrid meetings? Not so fast

With face-to-face meetings back on the agenda, are hotels dialling down on hybrid offerings?

Meetings and events with a hybrid element are still being requested by clients, according to hotels M&C Asia spoke with.
Meetings and events with a hybrid element are still being requested by clients, according to hotels M&C Asia spoke with. Photo Credit: M&C Asia

With the majority of countries within the Asia-Pacific region looking to attract MICE and incentive groups once again, and a rise in face-to-face meetings, is it time for hotels to ditch the hybrid elements introduced during the pandemic?
//is it time for hotels to ditch the hybrid elements

Mark Meaney, general manager at Conrad Seoul, says while face-to-face events and meetings have returned, the demand for hybrid elements is being maintained to some extent.

“Some of our repeat clients host a web symposium on a regular basis,” he says. “All of our hybrid elements are still available – we leave it up to clients and their comfort level.”

These hybrid elements include upgrades made in 2020, namely full HD projectors, larger screens, and two large LED media walls in the hotel’s two ballrooms. 

All of our hybrid elements are still available – we leave it up to clients and their comfort level.
Conrad_Seoul_Mark_Meaney_2209
Mark Meaney, general manager, Conrad Seoul

“Our AV vendor also invested in green screen technology to accommodate optimised hybrid events,” adds Meaney. “This year, we also invested in upgrading our audio system in all of our function rooms, installing high-power and additional speakers alongside a centralised control system, making it more convenient for online and face-to-face meetings.

"We’ve also developed a variety of easy-to-eat menu options of Korean, Western, or Japanese bento that our clients can choose for working hybrid meetings.”

At Grand Hyatt Seoul, general manager Peter HIldebrand says the venue is keeping its hybrid elements and continues to work with an AV partner to provide up-to-date technology. Hybrid features include 360 VR cameras so all attendees can be present in a ‘virtual’ meeting room and a Hyatt-branded complimentary app specialising in collaboration and exhibition tools.

“Many of our physical meetings are adding virtual solutions for speakers and attendees who may not be able to travel,” he says. “Also, people have adapted and now feel comfortable with enhanced virtual meeting technology – hybrid is a new norm.”

One of the most important factors when facilitating hybrid/online events is ensuring a consistent and robust internet connection. Ferry Tjahjono, executive assistant manager, rooms/sales at Centara Grand and Convention Center at CentralWorld in Bangkok, says steps were taken to substantially upgrade internal networks to allow for better data management. 

With the world partially open again, we are finding that some meeting delegates are still not comfortable venturing out or meeting face-to-face.
Ferry Tjahjono, executive assistant manager, rooms/sales, Centara Grand and Convention Center at CentralWorld
Ferry Tjahjono, executive assistant manager, rooms/sales, Centara Grand and Convention Center at CentralWorld

“With the world partially open again, we are finding that some meeting delegates are still not comfortable venturing out or meeting face-to-face," Tjahjono says. It's safe to say the new normal means people would like the flexibility of having both remote and in-person capabilities, and it's important that event organisers can cater to both audiences.”

In Japan, which recently eased restrictions, Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel says it will continue to promote hybrid products as the demand for events in a virtual hybrid format is still ongoing. The hotel's offering includes hybrid meeting setup packages, hologram projections, a virtual stage and virtual meeting kit.

The hotel says it will also develop new meal plan products according to the season and delegates can order gourmet delivery boxes for delivery. A snack box aimed at re-energising those attending virtual meetings includes mixed nuts, paté, sea salt crackers, ready-made soup, potato chips and water and a ballpoint pen. A ‘virtual celebration kit’ meanwhile includes roasted pork jerky, terrine de Champagne, sparkling wine and chorizo bites, among other items.



Latest News