Posted in: AG Events, Mark's Insights,

Here we are in September 2021, and I’m facing many of the same decisions we were making in the early spring this year. Do we or don’t we go live, offer hybrid, or pivot to virtual with our conferences?

Back to the….Past?

I wrote about this back in March in my Decisions, Decisions blog post. At that time we knew the APAC Regional Conference and EMEIA Regional Conference would be virtual due to travel restrictions between countries. We were considering keeping the North American Executive Team Conference (ETC) as a live/virtual hybrid, with a similar approach for the LATAM Regional Conference. Feedback was telling us that about half of the regular attendees were in. All of those attendees, of course, were from the US, as there were travel restrictions everywhere else.

We were thrilled with the results of ETC, as I shared in my post The Future is Hybrid. And while extremely successful, we also learned some valuable lessons for the future. At that time, we felt confident that we were coming out of the pandemic and travel was going to open up everywhere. Turns out we were extremely lucky. We were also careful and had excellent safety protocols in place.

That was May. By August, we had to shift the LATAM Regional Conference to virtual, again due to limitations on travel between countries.

Plans for Fall Conferences

So here we are looking at our fall conferences. The Global Forum, which was scheduled for Dubai in October, has now gone virtual. Then we have our North American Summit in November, which is currently scheduled for hybrid. We’ve been polling our association and board members asking for feedback throughout the decision-making process. It seems many of our members are comfortable traveling within their own country—if they can—but to travel internationally is a risk that many aren’t willing to take.

Given that and the financial risk and requirements we faced in Dubai, we had to make a decision fairly early, and we decided to cancel the live option and go virtual. For Summit, while US firms plan to send participants and the registration numbers look strong, it’s unlikely that we’ll see live participants from Canada or other countries. And for both the Global Forum and Summit 2021, we have taken the lessons learned from our year of virtual and hybrid events to make each experience top-notch.

Changing Rules of Live Engagement

After traveling these last four months, I can tell you that the rules around live engagement are all over the place. We will continue to institute the appropriate safety protocols to ensure that live attendees are safe and that we’re following all the local rules.

Some have asked if we plan to limit attendance to fully vaccinated attendees. Allinial Global is not taking that position. We will, however, conduct daily temperature checks and require each participant to complete a health safety survey at the start of each day. We implemented both of those measures at ETC, and they seemed to work well.

We are trying to provide the best experience possible, whether live or virtual, and we look forward to a busy fall filled with great content to help our member firms with their top concerns.

Both the Global Forum and Summit are now open for registration, and we hope to see you at both.  

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