“Facing a pandemic” “Lock down” These were the headlines of 2020
Through a live broadcast from Oslofjord in October of last year, we got the opportunity to show the world some of the possibilities that our innovative hybrid studio can provide. From this studio, created for the purpose of hosting events through the difficult Covid-19 times, our CEO, Stian Fuglset, got the privilege to speak during the annual International ICCA Congress.
It was a great pleasure to be reinvited today to the hybrid ICCA event hosted from Dubai; “From resilience to revival”. Today, we shared more about how the studio, combined with our fantastic facilities, can be customized and utilized for events despite the constant infection control restrictions.
Desperate times calls for desperate measures, and we chose to see this as an opportunity to innovate and create new business models in order to maintain some level of activity. In just three weeks, and in collaboration with an important customer, our hybrid studio was up and running.
The build itself, was a big investment with complex technology, but we were determined to find a solution for our upcoming events so that our clients could still meet – even though it was not face to face. In return we have gained customer loyalty by showing that we are truly adaptable, innovative and solutions oriented. This continuous operation has also helped us create a certain level of income and thereby securing some job stability.
However, the most important reason for doing this, was our strong belief that hybrid events also will be a part of the future way of meeting. With our perennial experience hosting traditional events, and live TV productions, we only needed an interactive component to be able to combine the best of both worlds in this innovation.
Since then, we have expanded our studio, and now we can facilitate for up to 6000 delegates in the audience by utilizing the fixed seating in our plenary hall. We do not believe that the hybrid solutions invented in the Corona times will reduce on-site participation. Hybrid events will open the opportunity to connect several hubs into one event. This can potentially increase the audience size in total, reduce long distance travel costs, enable valuable and busy speakers to attend, and reduce borders between people, continents, and cultures.
Hybrid Studio after the extension
We sometimes get questions like: “Looking back, would you do it again?” and the answer is a definite yes! The studio has provided us with many opportunities and positive outcomes. We were able to keep most of our staff and we strengthened the relationship to many of our customers. Despite of a lockdown, we were able to host more than 50 events, and some of our clients actually ended up coming more often than planned.
Because we have plenary and accommodation facilities spread across our convention village, we can facilitate for groups division on site and thereby increase the number of guests. We provide the different groups with their own dedicated space for accommodation, sanitary facilities, entrances, parking and recreation, and we use dividing walls in our plenary halls. The dividing walls makes it possible for all the groups to see the same stage, without coming into contact with each other.
Illustrated example of group division
One of the events we are planning for now, is a summer camp for young people, and we are expecting 6000 delegates. We hope that restrictions will allow for 2000 of these delegates to be present in the audience, the remaining delegates will be able to follow the broadcast via live stream in their hotel rooms and apartments. The ability to offer a flexibility like this is one of the greatest advantages of being a convention village.
Through facilitating for group division like this, we can increase our revenue based on accommodation and food and beverages, but most important, we provide our customers with the opportunity to meet. It has been a great learning experience for us, but also a reminder that even a crisis, like the Corona virus, can lead to something good – if you keep a positive mindset and you are willing to innovate.
We believe in the physical meetings, but we also believe you can get the best of both worlds by bringing a digital component into traditional events. Therefore, we are convinced that this studio will be popular, even after Corona.
We see a rising trust amongst planners in Norway who slowly, but surely are starting their sourcing and planning again. Our international market is still a little quiet, but the activity in this segment is also returning. Oslofjord will continue to be a dynamic and adaptive venue. We consider the fast-changing world to be a great opportunity to innovate and evolve. We truly miss having physical events here at our beautiful venue, but we will meet again, and we are looking forward to the next ICCA Congress.