A conference plenary in Fremantle, Western AustraliaIt is hard to imagine this time last year BC (before COVID-19) that the Encanta team were working on the inaugural PIANC Asia Pacific Conference which was to be delivered 16 – 19 June 2020 at the Esplanade Hotel Fremantle by Rydges.

The COVID-19 pandemic soon changed those plans, and rather than cancel like so many events did, the event was postponed to the first week in December.

Even those dates were touch and go with Australia fighting the pandemic, border closures and capacity restrictions giving rise to uncertainty to deliver this as a live event becoming increasingly evident.

Enter the option to create a hybrid event, with the local organising committee welcoming Western Australian delegates to the Esplanade Hotel Fremantle by Rydges while the rest of Australia and the world watched via the online platform; Hop-in, by AVPartners.

The outcome proved to be extremely successful and allowed more than 270 participants to join from places such as Afghanistan, Canada, Iceland, Singapore, Thailand and the USA to name a small selection of the countries that participated in the conference and presented online.

Strong support from industry ensured the events ability to pivot in this manner, with additional entitlements carefully considered to ensure appropriate acknowledgement of sponsors over the 3-day conference program.

A strong local presence of more than 120 in-person delegates had the opportunity to meet face to face thanks to COVID-19 safe strategies implemented by Encanta and the venue that ensured the health and safety of participants.

The conference concluded with a strong technical tour program on the final day, which afforded many delegates the opportunity to visit facilities they would not normally have the chance to visit; a real perk of a live event.

The 2021 Encanta event calendar will see the majority of business events across Australia and New Zealand delivered in a hybrid format, as vaccines are rolled out and delegate confidence is restored.