HYBRID CITY ALLIANCE THRIVING IN THE “NEW NORM”

The Hybrid City Alliance, which now counts 24 members from 16 countries, has received ICCA Best Marketing Award 2021 at the 60th ICCA Congress. The alliance was spawned in December 2020 in the midst of the pandemic under the initiative of four convention bureaux, representing The Hague, Geneva, Prague and Ottawa. The idea behind the new alliance is to help convention planners organise hybrid events by coordinating their networks and knowledge.

Hybrid City Alliance is a new player in the MICE industry but it already makes waves. The HCA’s mission is to connect the world to a global network of partners that foster collaboration to provide meeting professionals with access to knowledge, innovation, and tools to produce hybrid and multi-city events. The Alliance acknowledges the growing importance of hybrid events for the industry and sees it as a good way to return to live formats. The hybrid character of events opens also new opportunities: multiple hub meetings can easily take place involving a few cities in one country or several cities around the world, with simple meetings with basic technology or more complex audio-visual productions.

HYBRID CITY ALLIANCE THRIVING IN THE "NEW NORM"
The four founding members of the Hybrid City Alliance.

Since its launch, Hybrid City Alliance has been growing rapidly. It already has 24 members based in 16 countries. Five of them are in the Americas (Canada, Costa Rica and Ecuador), nine in Asia (Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand), eight in Europe (Belgium, Czechia, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK), one in Australia and one in South Africa, with the potential to further grow in 2022.

The purpose of Hybrid City Alliance is thus to show the opportunity provided by organising an event in multiple destinations thanks to technology.

The Hybrid City Alliance is seen as a way to collectively and individually raise the profile of hybrid options for the clients and for the cities. It offers a single point of contact for clients looking to organise a hybrid event. Clients can select one, two or more destinations as a multi-city event.

HCA brings together venues with great infrastructure that can support hybrid events and have a quick response rate to match clients’ criteria.

Clients are able to draw on the collective expertise of the alliance which acts as a proper adviser. By operating at the level of the convention bureau, the aim is for each bureau to handle client requests for hybrid events themselves, in collaboration with their city partners, while using the network to help share hybrid solutions in other cities.

The multiple city hybrid meeting (multiple hubs) can now be seen as a suitable alternative to online meetings at a time when greater face-to-face participation is desired but include all the benefits of both online and face-to-face events. It is also an opportunity to present to delegates new destinations in a safe manner.

A first award for Hybrid City Alliance at ICCA

The alliance managed, in less than a year, to achieve its first award: the 2021 ICCA Best Marketing Award was announced during the 60th ICCA Congress. The prestigious award recognised innovation and future-forward thinking of the Hybrid City Alliance, especially during what will be remembered as a very challenging year for the MICE industry.

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