The English Core Cities have joined forces to come together in a UK industry first, to support the conference and events industry as it continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, with the launch of Hybrid Events Solution UK (HESUK); a free-of-charge initiative open to all business audiences across the country, that will provide a solution for delivering national hybrid events in Covid-secure venues.
The conference industry has been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, with questions still hanging over us as to when the industry will start to meet face-to-face or in a live environment. In a solution to rebuild confidence within the industry and in light of the national lockdown, the Core Cities and their convention bureau teams are working together in a collaborative effort to help facilitate national business events to take place again, whilst taking Government guidelines into account.
Including the convention bureaus for Birmingham and West Midlands, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, NewcastleGateshead, Nottingham and Sheffield, the Core Cities have created HESUK as an initiative to provide a single point of contact for event organisers who are looking to organise or restructure national and regional conferences.
HESUK will allow delegates to attend the same national event at different Covid-secure venues within those regional hubs, enabling delegates to network and meet those within their field, whilst remaining in adherence to Government guidelines at the time of the event. Through live-streaming technology, each hub can be linked together, so speakers and contributors can be in different cities whilst still attending the same event and any delegates who can’t attend in-person will still be able to experience the event in a virtual way.
In ICCA’s Market Intelligence on Covid-19 Affected Meetings Report (Nov 2020) evidence suggests that in a post-pandemic world, the meetings and events industry will look very different to the one that we have all been so accustomed to, where both offline and online meetings will thrive together as the industry discovers new ways to connect.
The report also highlights the important role that hybrid event solutions will play in the future, with 84% of association planners intending to include hybrid and digital elements to their events moving forward.
Recognising this fundamental shift to the way organisers will be approaching event delivery, and in what is believed to be a UK industry first, the eight convention bureaus teams will be working together operationally. HESUK brings a fresh, out-of-the-box concept created to help the industry overcome the hurdles that lie ahead. Through one contact, the organiser will be able to work with Covid-secure venues across the network of Core Cities, as well as destinations outside of the Core Cities group.
On the initiative, Heather Lishman, Association Director of the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) said: “The Hybrid Events Solution UK is a glowing example of how the conference and events industry is innovating and working together to support each other through this damaging period. It’s wonderful to see this level of collaboration from the English Core Cities.
“Live conferences and events have ceased as we continue the fight against COVID-19. Going into 2021 there is a strong desire to get live events back, to have people meeting face to face, networking, sharing and learning together. Creating a hybrid event is a solution to enable this, as the world navigates its way through the pandemic with rapid testing and vaccines on the horizon. The biggest challenge is confidence; organising a series of live event hubs across several destinations is a big logistical challenge, therefore we welcome this solution which seeks to make the process easier for organisers, which should get people meeting as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Simon Hughes, Chairman of Business Visits Events Partnership (BVEP) said: “The Hybrid Events Solution UK is a fantastic concept, and it is inspiring to see these cities working together to help instil consumer confidence and get the conference and events industry up and running again.”
Any organiser interested in using the service simply has to contact any one of the Core City convention bureau teams: Birmingham and West Midlands, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, NewcastleGateshead, Nottingham and Sheffield.