Pivoting to a Global Hybrid Event model and the lessons learned
This case study will examine the drivers for the Hilton team to pivot to a hybrid event for a global customer audience, how the project was executed and the valuable lessons learned relating to planning, technology, engagement and content.
In 2020, Hilton Worldwide Sales decided to resurrect a premier customer event for the first time in 10 years. The “Hilton Summit” was scheduled for May in Puerto Rico. The goal of Summit was to bring together Hilton executives, hotel and corporate leaders as well as key customers for a business update, networking, idea exchange, and to give back to the Puerto Rican community.
Due to the pandemic, the event was postponed to November, then eventually cancelled when it became clear that customers and hotel team members could not attend.
The public health crisis’s impact on travel, hotel operations and business was substantial but the Hilton team agreed it was more important than ever for Hilton’s leaders to speak with customers, answer questions, and provide their thoughts on the state of the industry.
The Hilton team decided to host a Global Hybrid Event in October, inviting customers to join in person where it was possible, and encouraging virtual customer participation where it was not.
Customers were able to view a hybrid event live – in a safe and socially responsible environment – a key objective for the event. With comprehensive technology redundancies and pre-recorded content mitigating onsite risk, the team was overprepared for a technological glitch on site. The team also managed event expectations to available resources, ultimately overdelivering and providing a great in-person and virtual experience for attendees.
The Hilton team organized a Global Hybrid Meeting, connecting Hilton Executive leadership with customers globally. This included live and in-person speakers and attendees in McLean, VA and London, 25 live viewing parties with 418 customers, and 4,300 virtual attendees. A high-risk event, but one with great reward, followed successful event planning and execution.
Live Event Broadcast
Post Event Views
Live Viewing Parties
Americas: 17 | Asia Pacific: 1 | EMEA: 7
Post Event Views
Though there were multiple lessons learned as the Hilton team navigated the new Hybrid event territory, especially within the planning process, the “pivotability” of both the hybrid event model and the Hilton team allowed for quick fixes, providing customers with a seamless event experience.
In the post-event survey, customers – both those attending virtually and in-person – rated the pre-event engagement and live event a 4.4 out of 5. Comments regarding the overall experience were positive, while also giving the event planning team valuable insights on lessons learned:
- Customers were able to view a hybrid event live, in a safe and socially responsible environment.
- Comprehensive technology redundancies—the team was overprepared for technological disruptions on site
- Professional look and feel of the broadcast
- Pre-recording content mitigated onsite risk and was well received by attendees
- Managed event expectations to available resources
“Thought the whole setup was excellent, very professionally done.”
“Excellent event — it will be interesting as we partner like never before to bring great events, learning and experiences to our customer/members. Thank you for leading on this Hilton!”