The Hague Convention Bureau, Ottawa Tourism Business Events, Prague Convention Bureau and Geneva Convention Bureau launched the Hybrid City Alliance yesterday in a collaboration that sees the four like-minded destinations come together to provide a creative new offering for conference and event buyers.
Multi-hub hybrid meetings and conferences continue to grow in popularity, particularly in the association sector, where destinations and different locations collaborate to deliver local content for an event around a wider national or international offering. Delegates can choose to attend virtually, at their local hub or at a central “main event” destination based on their needs, resources and travel restrictions.
The Hybrid City Alliance provides international event organisers with a streamlined event planning and delivery service. Rather than working directly with multiple destinations, clients can make use of the Hybrid City Alliance’s close links, with a central point of contact at their preferred Alliance member, who will coordinate responses, RFPs and delivery.
The members of the Hybrid City Alliance, though very different in their own right, have similarities that make them ideal partners. Conferences and meetings spread across the hubs will therefore be aligned in terms of destination size, offering, speciality, welcome and feel.
The multi-hub concept has several benefits, specifically in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Delegates can for example choose to attend either online or at a local or regional event, reflecting local travel restrictions. A local hub also has the benefit of reducing travel time – which in turn has a financial impact for the delegate as well as a positive sustainable impact on the planet.
The Hybrid City Alliance is an open group with opportunities for other destinations to join if they would like to benefit from this collaborative approach.
Bas Schot, Head of The Hague Convention Bureau welcomed the new initiative saying: “Today it is not about I but about WE. In order for the industry to rebound faster, we all need to act together. Therefore, we are glad to extend our Ottawa partnership with like-minded innovative destinations such as Prague and Geneva, who are eager to focus on solutions for tomorrow and we also look forward to welcoming other destinations to join us to shape the future.”
“Building on the success of our partnership with The Hague which was signed in 2019, Ottawa Tourism is proud to co-launch the Hybrid City Alliance along with other world-class destinations, who share our passion for the future of meetings. We look forward to leveraging our strong relationships with the other destinations in the Alliance and sharing resources and contacts. The result will be attracting more business to our capital city, showing the world Ottawa’s strengths and telling Canada’s stories on an international stage,” added Glenn Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Ottawa Tourism.
"Current situation regarding COVID-19 and restrictions related to it within tourism and meetings industry sector have acted as a catalyst for the development of various technological solutions. Hybrid events or broadcasting from virtual studios were used in a small extent to complement the usual on-site meetings long before the crisis hit. But now, these event types come to the fore and we expect them to play a significant role in each MICE-focused destination in the future as well. Prague definitely has a lot to offer in this area, which is why we perceive our involvement in the Hybrid City Alliance as key to the future direction of the destination and the fulfillment of the Czech Republic's vision as a Country for the Future," says Roman Muška, Managing Director at Prague Convention Bureau.
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