Case study: Fusion Meetings and Events hosts hybrid conference
Fusion Meetings and Events, active in over 60 countries worldwide, and working across the drinks, leisure, pharmaceutical, finance and health sectors, hosted a hybrid event in St Andrews for OGUK, the representative body for the UK offshore oil and gas industry.
About the project
As a not-for-profit organisation, established in April 2007, OGUK aims to inform, engage with, and champion the UK offshore oil and gas industry. FME has worked with OGUK for the past 10 years.
The 2021 Offshore Decommissioning Conference, held at The Fairmont Hotel over two days in November, involved 300 in-person and 150 virtual attendees who had access to thought leadership, industry insight, and an opportunity to meet and discuss issues facing the sector.
Commenting on the event, Louise Edwards, senior events adviser at OGUK, who was responsible for the overall delivery and management of the residential conference, said: “In order to remain an industry leading event in decommissioning, the OGUK Conference for 2021 had to evolve and develop into what was our first ever hybrid event, the first time in eighteen months that some of our delegates met in person, whilst others took part virtually. As a result, we were naturally cautious of restrictions, how the event may be impacted, and the need for a ‘Plan B’, or entirely hybrid format of delivery.
“Working closely with Fusion Meetings and Events, who facilitated discussions with the hotel in order for us to contract the event with terms and conditions that supported our concerns and cautious approach, I am delighted to say that the event was a huge success."
Edwards added: "Right from the contracting stage, Fusion provided much welcomed support as a liaison with the venue along with handling all the accommodation requests of our attendees, and supplying the hotel with a rooming list prior to the event. Having the Fusion team support the event in this manner was reassuring and professional, particularly in these new and uncertain times."
“Most particularly, Fusion’s liaison with delegates over accommodation was first class, and a major administrative support to us which allowed the OGUK team to focus on the conference programme, speaker liaison, and the marketing efforts, amongst several other tasks."
Fusion Meetings and Events
Stuart Evans, director of Fusion Meetings and Events, commented: “It was our pleasure to deliver this event for OGUK which will give them confidence and reassurance to continue with a similar format in the near future. The past few months have seen us contract over one hundred events, some planned for 2022 and 2023, but with many smaller events, with up to 200 people, having already taken place since summer 2021.
“Using a firm like FME is not only to make clients feel secure regarding Covid procedures, but ensures that we get them the best price for their event, as we take on all negotiating on their behalf. It’s a very bespoke approach too, one size does not fit all.”
Fusion Meetings and Events have also provided its clients with a plan of how to run events safely next year, with Covid-19 protections and insurances in place. This includes US based International Student Exchange (ISE), a business which sources host families for exchange students, and has been an Fusion Meetings and Events client for the past 11 years.
Due to this support, ISE will now hold its event since 2019 in Heidelberg, Germany in December 2022, a multi-million euro event which sees 400 US guests gather over eight days. Working closely with FME, they have also contracted Edinburgh to host the same size event in 2023, an exercise which involves the booking of 800 rooms, which intends to serve as a major boost to the city’s hotel and conferencing sector.
“We are coordinating hundreds of personnel to come together at the one time, so we need to forward plan,” said Evans. “We can ensure groups have the correct insurances and advice. It’s a bit like using a professional travel agent at the moment, rather than booking direct yourself and hoping for the best.”
Having seen a role for virtual events during the pandemic, Evans believes that, in some cases, hybrid events mixing with some face-to-face may now continue for some time.
“We are here to assist with whatever type of event the client is happy with,” he said. “It may be quite fluid for the next few years. We would appeal to the professional and business world to support us by using our services. We are so happy now to finally be back doing what we love.”