Before you select your venue – determine your technical requirements!

Not doing so may result in unexpected costs of thousands of dollars!

It’s no secret that the pandemic has had an everlasting effect on nearly every function involved in our lives. What we did and how we approached tasks in 2019 no longer works today.

Since we are a fundraising support company, let us address these changes to this industry. Pre-pandemic: zero in on an appealing popular venue, acquire a ticket, suit up in your favorite attire, accessorize and throw that party!

Mingle, enjoy a glass of wine, and ink your offer on paper of the items of your liking.  Fingers crossed and perhaps you take home a treasure all in support of your favored charity.

Fast forward today: We all want to continue to support our favorite charity, as we continue to believe in their mission.

Today we have people participating online from home, other cities etc. As we move back to the brick-and-mortar venues the pandemic has taught us the value of online integration where we may have two audiences, (a), in person and (b), online remote. Even the in-person audience enjoys the convenience of bidding or pledging a donation on their phones. The hybrid event is born!

Hybrid functions are fun and exciting attendees from one or more venues join with remote participants from anywhere else comingle and network with each other in person and virtually though the use technology. People at a venue and outside the venue may place bids, donate, listen to guest speakers presenting from anywhere and even chime in though a chat or capture though a Livestream Broadcast.

A hybrid event can be simple or very complex depending on the desired presentation.  But producing any type of evert involving technology means that there is one more consideration over the old school approach. Can the venue of choice support the technology required to run the event?

Before you select your venue define what your production will involve then determine the technology requirements to support your production. What type of production are you seeking to present?

  • Simple mobile bidding on the phone.
  • Streaming Live broadcast.
  • Streaming video with guest speakers presenting from the venue
  • Streaming video with guest speakers presenting from the multiple venues and remote locations with two-way communications.
  • Multiple camera feeds, the sky is the limit!

So, you say, hey we just want something simple, just mobile phone bidding is a must but perhaps on you wish list you would like to consider a 30-minute Livestream for an awards ceremony. Should be simple enough, right? Yes and no, the production might be simple but are the technology provisions at the venue capable or affordable to support your modern age event?

Recent actual case examples:

Scenario 1: We love our favorite venue that we have used for years!  Question: Are they able to support 700 users on their Wi-Fi all attempting to engage in paperless mobile bidding? This lovely venue is in a rural area and cellular data is unreliable.

Scenario 2: “Wow we are so pleased to be assembling at the famous XYZ banquet center located in metropolitan downtown urban city USA”. (The venue happens to be near a sporting stadium which will cause not only a traffic gridlock, but your attendees will be in competition with 60,000 to 70,000 sports fans for cellular service). This situation has actually been experienced not by one of our clients but a nonprofit who never saw it coming. Check your date for competitive events!

Scenario 3: We have a repeat client organization that we have supported a completely virtual event in the past. This time they requested a hybrid Livestream event engaging attendees online and remotely online. The event was held at a 3-star hotel in Cleveland Ohio. We contacted the facility to state our technical needs and determine if they could accommodate. We required Wi-Fi and wired ethernet to support the livestream. We assured that our requirements would be provided with no problem and for no additional charge, (red flag – you get what you pay for).  When we arrived at the facility, we were directed to a polite young man who introduced himself as the “tech guy”. When we asked him for the ethernet provision during our set up window. He responded that it was his second week on the job and he had no knowledge of how to provide us with wired ethernet internet access, and offered apologies. Having suspicions that something like this might happen, we brought our own internet connection as a backup, (a subject of another blog post) which supported the technology needs of that function flawlessly.

Scenario 4: A potential client exclaimed, “Oh we are so excited to get back to our favorite 5-star Boston function venue we booked our event for Friday April 1st at the, (name withheld). This year instead of paper, we would like to use mobile bidding and a simple livestream to engage remote guests who will not be attending in person. We are requesting quotes from contractors to support and produce our event”. We of course responded cheerfully; “we would be happy to provide a quote, give us day or so to determine the technology requirements. Upon contacting this fine 5-star hotel we discovered that ethernet was available for a fee of several thousands of dollars, (gulp). We replied, “Okay we will make a note of that, but you must have Wi-Fi that will support several hundred attendees correct”? We were informed, “yes of course but there is a charge for that as well, after all we are the, (name withheld)”. The organization was flabbergasted when we informed them of the upcharges.

Moral of the story: be sure to determine your technical needs and be aware of the costs before you select your venue.

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