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Collaboration key as more cities join expanding hybrid movement

A network of cities working together to promote hybrid meetings has welcomed eight new members in the last three months.

The Hybrid City Alliance has added Antwerp, Cannes, Durban, Edmonton, Lausanne Montreux, Seoul, Sydney and Zurich to its ranks since launching in December last year. They join co-founders The Hague, Ottawa, Prague and Geneva, and expand the Alliance’s reach to five continents.

The group aims to make it easier for organisers to plan multi-location meetings.

Multi-hub conferences involve different locations delivering content around a wider national or international offering. There is usually a ‘host’ destination and various satellite meetings. Delegates choose to attend virtually, at their local hub, or at the ‘main event ‘destination.

Rather than working with multiple destinations, planners can make use of the alliance’s links, with their chosen central point of contact coordinating responses and delivery between the cities.

The multi-hub concept has several obvious benefits in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Delegates can choose to attend either online or at a local or regional event, depending on travel restrictions. A local hub also has the benefit of reducing average travel distances, saving delegates money and reducing the impact of international meetings on the environment.

As the Alliance has grown it has conducted a series of focus groups and discussions with a range of industry stakeholders, including professional congress organisers, convention bureaux and tech providers. The results of these discussions will be including in a white paper due for release shortly.

The Alliance is partnering with ICCA and supporting their North American Summit in March. This partnership will see the Alliance share case studies of recent hybrid events, assist in facilitating workshops and demonstrate the Alliance members’ position as experts on hybrid events.

Anna Look, Director, Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions (MICE) at Explore Edmonton, said: “Explore Edmonton is delighted to be one of the new members joining the Hybrid City Alliance and the second City in Canada.  We look forward to supporting this collaborative community and our clients as they look to the future of global events.”

Magdalena Krol, Relationship Management, Zurich Tourism, said: “Zurich as a boutique metropolis did not have the capacity to host larger congresses with more than 1500 participants.  Therefore, we recognised and took the chance to become a member of the HCA network and to host a part of larger congresses as a satellite hub. The destination has state of the art infrastructure and a network of AV partners and agencies, PCO’s that can effortlessly implement hybrid events.  With its exceptional location in the heart of Europe, we believe Zurich is a very good addition to the HCA network.”

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