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Hybrid event in Vancouver

Running live events during a global pandemic can have a number of challenges. This case study looks at how we organized a seamless hybrid event in the ever changing times and restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Event

A bi-annual formal gala which is typically hosted in person to recognize the Dr. Rogers Prize recipient. Every two years $250,000 is awarded to a Canadian Complementary Alternative Medicine(CAM) recipient to celebrate their achievements in alternative health care.

In the past, this one day event has been an all encompassing celebration. With the Gala held on a Thursday with breakfast taking place in the morning and a Colloquium in the afternoon. 

Hybrid event at Fairmont Waterfront

Quick Facts

  • We’ve been producing this event for 10 years
  • 1 day event with 3 sub events
  • 250-350 guests each year
  • Bi-annually hosted at the Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver

The Issue

It was uncertain how this event would be held in 2021, due to constant changes in the British Columbia Provincial Health Orders. The conflict was whether this event should be held in person, virtually or a combination of both as a hybrid event. As restrictions continued to change throughout the consulting processes the client knew they were not interested in a completely virtual event. Therefore, an in person event or hybrid event were the two final choices available. 

When the province introduced vaccine passports one month prior to the gala, there was an added layer of complexity to navigate. With this change in regulations, many guests were uncertain as to their ability to travel as well as comfort level. Thus resulting in a constant change in the guest list.

The Objective 

The goal of this event was to continue forward with the planning of the gala no matter the event restrictions. Our team provided event consultation and event productions services to ensure the bi annual gala went smoothly. 

Our client was very invested in the outcome of the gala continuing forward. They wanted to ensure that the CAM recipient was able to receive acknowledgement of their achievements. As well as, that the funds were dispersed so that the recipient could continue furthering their research and practice.

How The Objective Was Achieved?

The original vision for this event was adapted with the current restrictions and a number of health and safety measures were incorporated into the event design.

In assistance with the hotel, safety measures such as sanitizer stations, temperature checks, mask signage and education as well as vaccine passport checks were all implemented.

This year we decided to go with a panel of speakers compared to previous years where a keynote speaker was hosted. We had one in person panellist with four virtual panellists.

To accommodate health and safety guidelines the ballroom was filled at a reduced capacity. What once was a 500 person ballroom was safely turned into a ballroom for 100 socially distanced guests. 

For this event, two audio visual companies were brought on board. One to manage the in person event while the second to manage the virtual aspects. The goal was to make at home guests feel connected to the in person guests as the attendees are a tight knit community.

The Results

Once the majority of the challenges had occurred in the pre planning stages a successful hybrid event took place. With approximately 100 in person guests and over 100 virtual guests the gala went off without a hitch.

Attendees of the in person event were spread out amongst 17 tables to abide by the provincial health orders. Guests enjoyed the live portion of the event while a delicious plated dinner by the Fairmont Waterfront was served. 

Guests who enjoyed the at home event were treated to a live stream of the panel and the awards ceremony, along with a recording of the welcome address.

In Conclusion

Our experience producing this hybrid event is proof that in person events can take place during the Covid 19 pandemic. As long as all health and safety guidelines are considered there are ample opportunities for guests to enjoy themselves. The decision of going with a hybrid event is a great option for organizations that have international members and want to provide an alternative to those who may be unable or unwilling to travel during these times.


Event Consultation, Design & Production // Bright Ideas Events
Photography // Brian Dennehy Photographer
Gifting // Charlies Chocolate Factory
Live Event AV // Encore Audio Visual
Virtual Event AV // Oh Boy Productions
Venue, Bar, Catering & Rentals // Fairmont Waterfront
Signage // Fast Signs
Flowers // Flowerz
Ice Sculpture // Ice Decor

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