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Gothenburg focuses on hybrid experiences

The recent explosion in digital meetings and experiences can hardly have escaped anyone’s notice: Zoom and Teams meetings, digital training, and online gigs, guided tours and wine tasting. One increasingly common buzzword is ‘hybrid’, a combination of physical and digital meetings and experiences to ensure the best of both worlds.
The hybrid experience destination project is now being launched with support from the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth – a strategic initiative to facilitate the post-pandemic recovery of the visitor industry.

Photo: Peter Kvarnström/Göteborg & Co

“The project we’re launching to facilitate hybrid experiences is an important scheme that will benefit and help Gothenburg as it recovers from the pandemic,” explains Annika Hallman, Director of Gothenburg Convention Bureau.
“When it comes to meetings, we see excellent prospects for hybrid solutions to help kick start the industry. The support we’ve received from the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth offers additional opportunities to develop the concept and facilitate the recovery of Gothenburg’s visitor and experience industry.”

Göteborg & Co is now embarking on a project to position the city as a leading destination within the development of hybrid experiences. The project is part of a strategic focus to facilitate businesses’ post-pandemic recovery, and will involve venues, arenas, event organisers, attractions and other players within the visitor and experience industry. Hybrid meetings combine the opportunities offered by physical meetings with the accessibility of digital meetings, not least in terms of sustainability. Put simply, a hybrid meeting involves some participants being physically present at the meeting venue, with others attending digitally.

As well as being financed by the City of Gothenburg, the project has also received support from the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth’s funding for sustainable destination development, which includes meetings and events.

One person who will be fully focused on hybrid experiences during the coming year is Henrik Svensson. Henrik has recently joined Göteborg & Co, and will be leading the work to position Destination Gothenburg as an arena for hybrid meetings and experiences. He has extensive experience of the meeting industry (having worked for MCI) and events (such as the Göteborgsvarvet half marathon).

Henrik Svensson, Project manager at Göteborg & Co

Hello Henrik! Great to have you on board. You’ve certainly been given an exciting assignment!

“Yes, I’m really looking forward to leading the project and being part of Göteborg & Co. We’re in the midst of a real growth spurt, and there’s so much happening in the visitor industry. Being part of this is truly inspiring.”

What experience are you bringing to your new role?

“I’m an entrepreneur and have worked in the meeting and events industry for virtually my entire career. I started working with trade fairs in the 1990s, before moving on to conferences and congresses. During this period, my roles included project manager, CEO and head of sales. The next step was events, and I was Head of Sales for the Göteborgsvarvet half marathon for more than five years. Alongside my work and hobbies, I’ve also been involved in businesses within meetings and events. I hope that my broad experience and my entrepreneurial side will now contribute towards Gothenburg’s continued development as an experience destination.”

Last autumn, Göteborg & Co carried out a survey to map the need and demand for hybrid meetings among meeting venues in Gothenburg and Region Västra Götaland. The responses showed that more than half of those asked already offer hybrid meetings or have started to do so as a result of the pandemic. The vast majority of meeting venues expect to see growing demand for hybrid meetings, both in 2021 and in future years. The survey also revealed that meeting venues currently lack the full competence needed within their organisations to meet the demand for hybrid meetings.