Photo credit: FRESH

FRESH is an annual conference specializing in meeting design, that experiments with new formats, techniques, tools, and technologies within the meeting industry.

In 2017, FRESH was the first conference that made the radical decision to split itself across five countries. FRESH18 decided to take on the challenge again and branded itself as a Multi-Hub Conference which meeting professionals could attend in either Basel, London, Copenhagen or Johannesburg. For its sixth instalment, FRESH brought a new focus on participant interaction and engagement, and what that looks like in a hybrid meeting environment.

This year, FRESH created a programme that drove interaction between its four hubs. The challenge of interaction was addressed via innovative Pitbull Sessions, with which FRESH demanded its facilitators to sink their teeth into interaction and not let go. The programme was split into 30 minutes speaker presentations and equal amounts of time spent on facilitated interaction. The result, a programme that encouraged participants to spontaneously contribute, ask questions and remain engaged. “The collaboration with three other cities, whilst sat in London felt real,” said Nicholas Tinker, Regional Business Development Manager at CVENT. “It was a connected, shared experience I didn’t think would be possible in that format. Now, I’m excited about what the future holds for multi-hub meetings.”

Organising a Multi-Hub Conference is something FRESH is now very familiar with, but what about its sponsors? Not many event tech suppliers can say they’ve created an event app programme with three different time zones or a registration page with four different locations. Yet both Cvent and EventMobi rose to the challenge and made it happen.

FRESH stands for experimentation and innovation, and this year they pioneered something truly unique. The FRESH Conference was once again ahead of the game and premiered an industry first of virtual breakouts; The Spider-Hub. The Spider-Hub takes the Multi-Hub concept even further, by splitting an already split meeting into smaller focus groups or breakouts. Since people are more likely to interact in smaller groups, the Spider Hub format deepened the level of interaction. The breakouts gave participants the opportunity to connect with people from other hubs in a more intimate setting.

With a programme designed to drive interaction and no innovation spared, FRESH showcased how a Multi-Hub Conference can create a collective, engaging experience despite participants being in four different countries.