by Leo Jakobson | November 28, 2013
Hybrid meetings and conferences are still not very widespread and remain difficult to run effectively, but they are becoming more and more important to corporate and convention planners, according to a recent survey by Successful Meetings.

More than half (53.2 percent) of the respondents to the Successful Meetings “2013 Hybrid Meetings Survey,” said they include a hybrid component in fewer than 10 percent of their events. Another quarter (24.5 percent) said hybrid meetings play a part in less than 25 percent of their events.

When asked if hybrid meetings are going to be important to their meetings strategy in the future, respondents answered in reverse. Fewer than one quarter (22.3 percent) said that hybrid meetings would not be very important, while 40.5 percent said they would be “important” or “very important.”

When it comes to achieving the goals set for a meeting or event, the planners who responded to this survey said they have struggled. Nearly half (48.9 percent) said their hybrid meetings had only “somewhat” met their objectives, and an additional 22.3 percent said they had not met them at all. That said, nearly a quarter (24.5 percent) did meet their goals. Just 4.3 percent exceeded them.

Technical Difficulties

One respondent who said her company has met its hybrid meeting objectives works for a big four accounting firm. Although her firm only uses hybrid events 10 to 25 percent of the time, it does consider them important to its future meetings strategy, says the planner. She adds that her problems are largely technical, citing “cost and ensuring proper bandwidth and connectivity to accommodate the number of attendees,” as the biggest challenges. Other technical issues planners cited range from “good camerawork” to “legal concerns and confidentiality.”

One respondent who works for a nonprofit financial institution admits that managing hybrid meetings technology is a big hurdle, but worth it. “As a global enterprise, being able to reach beyond the Washington, D.C. meeting room is key in giving equal access to information for employees.”