The third part of our series with Henrietta Balint, Senior Director, Global Meetings & Events, Radius Travel addresses company culture, gaining buy-in from key stakeholders, and achieving your company’s objectives through virtual and hybrid meetings.
How can companies find the right cultural fit for virtual meetings?
That’s an interesting question; I was speaking to a client about that recently. Despite all the changes in technology and the restrictions caused by COVID-19, the reality is that meetings remain the best way to achieve engagement in business. There will be a staggered return, as we have to rely on borders opening and restrictions being lifted. While virtual engagements and meetings may not match a company’s culture, even when face-to-face events return, they will need to allow for a hybrid setup.
Gaining confidence and buy-in from key stakeholders is very important – it comes back to really understanding the desired business or event outcome and building solutions that can help deliver on those.
If you’re able to demonstrate how you can achieve those, even in a virtual or hybrid setting, that will go a long way towards getting your stakeholders on board. That should help minimize any resistance towards virtual meetings. You can then move forward with face-to-face meetings in a hybrid setting if/when it’s desired, but it doesn’t have to be the end-all.
When it comes to virtual meetings specifically, when buyers are sourcing a solution, what makes a good strategy?
Simply put, you must be clear on what you’re trying to solve for and the type of meetings and activities that you’re looking to manage. What does the solution really need to support? Live events? Pre-recorded sessions? One-to-one chats?
In terms of platform, there is no one-size-fits-all yet. We are certainly starting to see integrations and the ability to seamlessly link up various platforms so that the attendee experience can be holistic and be managed end-to-end in the same way as in-person meetings.
What are the benefits of having a local, in-country partner when it comes to meetings and events?
The local market expertise will continue to be key in a hybrid setting. Our local partners provide that backend support and on-the-ground support for hybrid meetings. Under normal circumstances with face-to-face events, local teams bring tremendous value in terms of engagement and relationship with local market stakeholders.
We have really seen that resonate with our customers, particularly because you have stakeholders in meetings and events environment from across the organization. You have marketing, sales, department heads, executive assistants. It’s important to have a strong relationship with those stakeholders.
Local teams bring local market expertise that is critical for language capabilities. This expertise contributes significantly in terms of an event’s success.
While we hope that we never have to go through a situation like COVID-19 again, our teams on the ground have been instrumental during the shut-down in supporting our customers, addressing cancellations, changes, and so on. We were the conduit between various suppliers and the client. Utilizing our global relationships to deliver the right outcome for clients has been critical.
Are you ready for a damn good virtual meetings strategy?
We’re ready to help! We’re offering a FREE virtual meeting strategy consultation with our team of experts to help you get started on your virtual meetings journey the right way. Visit our virtual meetings site and connect with a virtual meetings strategy expert today.
Senior Director, Global Meetings & Events, Radius Travel
Heni has a wealth of experience in both M&E and transient travel, having spent more than 20 years in commercial travel management company roles covering both sectors. A native Australian, Heni has lived and worked in Europe, Asia Pacific, and North America, and currently resides in the U.S.