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Business & Economy

English cities come together to create hybrid event solution

A consortium of English cities has come together to find new ways to help the conference and events industry navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

With questions still hanging over the industry as to when face-to-face meetings in a live environment will be able to take place, the NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau together with Birmingham and West Midlands, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield are working together to rebuild confidence and facilitate national events post-lockdown.

Alongside other convention bureaus, the NewcastleGateshead team has been involved with the creation of the Hybrid Events Solutions UK (HESUK) – a scheme open to all business audiences that will provide a solution for delivering national hybrid events.

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.

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.

Paul Szomoru, director of business events at NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau, said: “It is great to see business events professionals from around the country collaborate to launch Hybrid Events Solutions UK.

“The service is free of charge and aims to make life as easy as possible for organisers who are keen to hold events both in person and virtually.

“While virtual meetings and events have kept the industry going, we know that there is a real desire for people to get back to face-to-face meetings.

“HESUK will give organisers confidence that the industry is working together to overcome the current challenges and that we will be ready to meet again when it is safe to do so.”

Collaboration between this network of English Core Cities has made HESUK possible and will enable event organisers to secure venues across the network liaising directly with other convention bureau teams.

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.”