Face-to-face attendance is once again the norm. However, the rise of virtual events, the current economic context, and the environmental challenges have sparked awareness within organizations regarding audience travel, time utilization, and budget optimization.
In this article, we will introduce you to the multi-site format, its advantages, and its implementation. To gain a clearer understanding of the possibilities in event formats, keep reading!
What are multi-site or multi-hub events?
According to the Meeting Design Institute:
“Multi-hub meetings take place in several places at the same time and each location has a group of participants that come from one region or one continent. Locally, there is a face-to-face meeting and globally, the venues are connected in a way that makes everyone feel they are part of one bigger event.”
Multi-site events aren’t a traditional hybrid event, since several small in-person events are held at the same time.
Each audience attends both in-person and virtually. The speakers or the panel can be in the same place, or they can speak from different venues. Still, they will be heard by all.
What are the benefits of the multi-hub format?
- It reduces transportation constraints for a great number of participants.
- Time-saving: the participants commute locally to the event and don’t have to travel for several hours.
- Travel and lodging expenses are small or non-existent.
- Rental costs for venues are reduced: some meetings can take place on a company's premises during work hours.
- The environmental impact is significantly reduced (According to several studies, transitioning from in-person format to virtual format reduces carbon footprint by 94%).
- The spirit of exchange and sharing is preserved. In each hub, people can meet and exchange while sharing the event virtually with other sites.
- Freedom of organization for each region with a common core for every venue.
For all these reasons, meeting hubs can be planned more regularly than big in-person events, or they can be set up in addition to annual events.
Multi-hub format: for which events?
The multi-site format is adaptable to all types of events; the choice depends on your objective. If your goal is to create a moment of sharing and optimize costs, then multi-site is the ideal solution! However, here are some examples of events that are well-suited for the multi-hub format:
- Corporate meetings for the companies with dispersed employees;
- Teaching and training international seminars;
- Marketing events like product launch, etc.
What are the tools to set up a multi-site event?
In the same way as for a classic virtual or hybrid event, a minimum of technical resources are necessary to broadcast the event live to the different sites. Here are some essentials.
Audience interaction tools to increase the opportunity for the venues to participate and share their emotions: live chat, Q&As, emojis, votes, surveys, etc.
Large scale video conferencing platforms that allow speakers to see all the participants and to speak directly to them instead of speaking to a camera, reinforcing the feeling of a shared live experience.
Reliable production tools adapted to that format: control room, streaming quality, etc.
A simple organization that has to be prepared in advance: a manager for each venue (not necessarily a professional), an appropriate room, event scripting, etc.
Example of a multi-site event with Sparkup
Here is a configuration for a multi-site event with a single control room, particularly suitable if the main speakers are all located at one site. This doesn't prevent shorter speeches from speakers at other sites without a secondary control room.
In this setup, the event is broadcasted from Madrid with an in-person audience. The event is livestreamed to each site (Paris, New York, etc.) on screens.
Participants at the hubs are also filmed, and Sparkup aggregates the video feeds to create a video mosaic that allows the speaker to see all the sites in real time.
Additionally, all participants are connected on Sparkup to interact.
In the case where the event involves speakers from different sites, the use of small remote control rooms in addition to a main control room helps streamline the event and ensure the comfort of speakers and audiences.
Is the multi-site format a good compromise when a big in-person event is impossible (due to logistical, economical or health reasons), or is it an opportunity to nurture a community, communicate with the teams or train them throughout the year?
This event format opens many new opportunities
It can help the organizers to plan regional agendas, but also to invite local speakers without travel restraint and to improve participants’ interaction. By encouraging engagement and participants’ visibility, they can be different from a traditional video conference. And while preserving the human factor, they limit ecological and economic impacts.
Events are transforming and reinventing themselves.
A multi-hub is an interesting format for many of them. The opportunities offered by this format caught the eye of the MICE industry. According to Voyages d’Affaires, the Hybrid City Alliance gathering Geneva, La Haye, Ottawa, Prague and Durban created in 2021, - “promotes a multi-hub strategy that could become the norm”. It wishes to “encourage an interregional approach and smaller in-person formats taking place simultaneously.”
Would you like to set up a multi-site event and create a real connection between your speakers and participants located at different sites? Contact us to discover how Sparkup can help you create a moment of cohesion among the different hubs.