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The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on nearly every aspect of everyday life. It has also pushed many businesses online, which led to a wide range of online events, such as webinars, seminars and conferences. This shift gives businesses the opportunity to expand their reach to include stakeholders all over the world. A good example of a hybrid event in Norway is the Norwegian Swimming Association’s 2020 edition of the yearly coaching and leadership conference. 

In September every year, the Norwegian Swimming Association (NSF) organises a conference for all member clubs throughout the country. Coaches and club representatives get together to learn, share experiences, and reconnect with fellow coaches. NSF’s goal is to organise an event that is accessible for all clubs, regardless of their size and ambitions. They are convinced that every club has something interesting to share and should get the opportunity to do so.

Swimming in the Fýri Resort pool, Hemsedal, Eastern Norway
The pool at Fýri Resort in Hemsedal.
Photo: Kalle Hägglund

Embedding a virtual event in a conference at the venue

When the pandemic shook the world in March 2020, the NSF had to look for safer alternatives for their annual conference. Luckily the Thon Hotel Arena by Oslo Airport, where they normally organise the conference, could help them out. They offered plenty of facilities and options to move a big part of the conference online, while assuring the necessary safety precaution for those who decided to come to the venue.

The event was a great success. Around 130 people attended at the hotel and another 700 participated online, thanks to live broadcasting at the venue. The conference featured several Norwegian and international speakers who discussed the current state of affairs in the world of swimming, water polo, diving, and artistic swimming. They covered topics such as training optimisation and top performance, culture building, talent development.

Three people on stage at the Norwegian Swimming Association’s coaching and leadership conference in Oslo, Norway
The Norwegian Swimming Association’s coaching and leadership conference.
Photo: Norwegian Swimming Federation (NSF)

Outstanding tech support and focus on health safety

Due to the pandemic, it was more challenging than usual to organise the event. The organisers didn’t just have to take care of setting up the conference venue, they also had to provide the technical support behind the scenes for everyone who followed the event remotely. Everything went smoothly and the remote participants also had a great experience watching the different sessions on their screen at home.

At the venue, the event organisers took care of all necessary safety measures. The participants received a safety briefing at the beginning of the conference and were asked to comply to the safety regulations. The Thon Hotel is a large hotel with plenty of space, so participants could easily keep a safe distance from each other. There were also many hand sanitising stations spread across the venue, and every participant received a small bottle of disinfectant to give the virus less chance of spreading.

Despite the unusual circumstances, the NSF and their partners managed to set up a fun, engaging and inspiring event with lots of information about swimming in Norway.

Helpers during The Norwegian Swimming Association’s coaching and leadership conference in Oslo, Norway
Norwegian Swimming Association’s coaching and leadership conference.
Photo: Norwegian Swimming Federation (NSF)

More and more hybrid and remote events

With the support of Thon Hotel, the Norwegian Swimming Federation has shown that it is possible to quickly turn a traditional conference into an event that allows people to join remotely. Many other venues throughout the country can also facilitate and organise a remote or partially remote event.

Do you want to learn more about organising hybrid events in Norway? Get in touch with us for more information on the topic. Read more about hybrid events and find the right venue.

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