After 15+ months of tight restrictions on gathering, Michigan is finally beginning to open up again. Typically, masks are only required for unvaccinated people until July 1, and capacities for indoor gatherings have drastically increased. However, just because regulations are loosened doesn’t mean that every attendee will be comfortable around so many people and so few masks. After so many months of social distancing and quarantining, some might be eager to go “back to normal,” while others may want to continue with virtual meetings and be hesitant about increasing capacities for some time.
Meeting planners in Michigan will find that striking the balance between these two viewpoints will be the sweet spot for the near future of meetings and events in the state, and Ann Arbor is prepared with professional hybrid meeting capabilities to meet planners and attendees in the middle. Thanks to some new partnerships, Ann Arbor can be a hub for both small and large meetings—while still keeping attendees within their comfort levels.
Hybrid Meetings in Ann Arbor
The Kensington Hotel recently partnered with AV Squared to drastically expand their meeting and event capabilities, and therefore, Ann Arbor’s. Via a permanent setup in the Kensington’s Conservatory Room with a green screen, teleprompter, video camera, and other professional equipment, events can be broadcasted to other meeting rooms within the hotel, guest rooms, or even other hotels and venues across town.
Although the Kensington has a permanent setup, they also offer an additional mobile unit so that broadcasts can happen from other rooms within the hotel’s 10,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, whether it’s the Executive Boardroom, the Grande Ballroom, or the Library.
The mobile unit can even visit other venues in town, and broadcast to a number of spaces at a time, so a planner isn’t limited to the Kensington’s options for hosting or broadcasting their meetings and events— expanding the possibilities for capacities and venues tenfold.
Plus, broadcasts aren’t limited to Zoom or Webex, so planners can opt for whatever online meeting platforms they desire for broadcasting.
Another option for hybrid meetings in Ann Arbor is the Sheraton Ann Arbor, via a partnership with One Source Audio Visual. The hotel provides Wi-Fi, microphones, screens and cameras to enable presenters to direct their best meeting and events.
Opportunities for Hybrid Meetings
Hybrid meetings are suitable for many different gathering scenarios—and perhaps for more than a planner anticipates. In “normal’ times, when a large attendee list doesn’t fit within the capacity limits for a planner’s desired venue, broadcasting the meeting to some attendees’ homes, workplaces, or another hotel provides a simple solution. Attendees who live across the country won’t need to miss a conference because of the cost of plane tickets and hotel stays, as a hybrid meeting closes distance between a remote employee and his team.
But in this new era, hybrid meetings serve their purpose: enabling safety and social distancing. Even for attendees that live nearby, hybrid meetings allow them to either tune in from home or with a smaller group of people as they are comfortable.
Other times, planners and team leaders don’t realize that hybrid setups can simply be useful when wanting to guarantee a professional setup, smooth technological experience, and the ability to focus on their content—because sometimes, Zoom backgrounds aren’t always enough.
Ann Arbor's Expanded Capabilities
Thanks to the Kensington and the Sheraton Ann Arbor’s hybrid meeting capabilities, Ann Arbor’s meeting and event capacities have expanded exponentially. In addition, the new Garden Marquee meeting space at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest will allow planners to host larger association, corporate and social gatherings in addition to their existing 33,000 square feet of conference space. Plus, utilizing the Fairfield Inn and the new Hampton Inn across the street from the resort in a hybrid meeting capacity will allow the resort to increase the number of attendees at a meeting in Ann Arbor by hundreds, opening up new opportunities not available before.
When planning large meetings in Michigan, Ann Arbor is a large contender, thanks to new hybrid possibilities.
Sponsored by Destination Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor is a progressive university city with small-town hospitality with a walkable, vibrant downtown, an award-winning culinary scene, a rich arts culture, and home to innovative tech companies, historic treasures and event spaces that defy the ordinary. Located just 20 minutes from the award-winning Detroit Metro International Airport, Ann Arbor offers over 150 meetings spaces and more than 5,000 hotel rooms. Destination Ann Arbor's staff is available now to support you with complimentary planning and research assistance, facilitation of hotel proposals and room blocks, site tours, networking recommendations and welcome materials for your attendees. From functional to inspiring, extraordinary to traditional, Ann Arbor has the ideal venue for your group, conference or event.