If the Covid-19 pandemic taught event organisers anything, it was that there is more – much more – than one way to organise an event. Here at Marble, we found ourselves, time and time again, rising to the challenge of reconfiguring events which, often at very short notice, had to contend with the fact that guests were forbidden from attending in person.

The hybrid event horizon

For the most part, responding to this temporary events landscape involved utilising the power of virtual technology to bring together people who couldn’t share the same physical space. Put like that it sounds like little more than a series of over-inflated Zoom calls, but arranging a virtual event is a skill set in its own right, one which involves creating and utilising digital platforms in a way that dissolves the distance between attendees and encourages interaction and collaboration. Marble successfully orchestrated this for the Huckleetree Earthrise Summit last year, attendees were treated to a diverse program of enriching content over the two-day event.

Marble’s CTO, Robbie Parry, speaking at the micebook EXPO re-Engineered panel.

The enforced switch to virtual events has meant that everyone is keener than ever to get back to in-person events in 2022, and while this is understandable, a switch to hybrid events could make a huge difference in terms of sustainability. An event that is held in one part of the country, for example, could include virtual hubs, enabling guests to attend without bloating the overall carbon footprint of the event. This was demonstrated at the Henkel-dx-ventures Xathon last year, an event Marble organised with five hubs, one virtual and four others across Berlin.

“While we have all seen a big return to live events, most larger-scale productions in our experience are now involving a hybrid or virtual element to them.  This allows content to live for longer, more people to attend who might not have been able to before and vastly reduced travel times for people who are non-local.  I see this as a development in the event/project life cycle, Covid gave us all a big kick to rethink how we were delivering live content for as many people as possible to enjoy.” – Robbie Parry, CTO at Marble.

There were, of course, virtual events before the pandemic struck, but these tended to be part of larger events delivered in hybrid form. What event organisers had to do in 2020 and 2021 was rethink the notion of what an event actually is from scratch, and the learning from this experience can now be carried forward into 2022.