West Midlands Trains (WMT) is a train operating company running train services that serve local communities. They operate both West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway. BA Events support WMT with their stakeholder conferences, community rail events and accessibility forums.
- West Midlands Trains
Over the Covid-19 pandemic, we have supported WMT deliver their community rail conferences virtually. This has attracted higher numbers of attendees and generally made the event more accessible. WMT asked BA Events to merge their online model and live model in November 2021 – creating a hybrid community rail conference.
What were we asked to do, and what were our objectives?
– To engage those from around the WMR and LNR communities
– To conduct an efficient hybrid event that ran smoothly creating an impactful experience for speakers and attendees as well as for those watching at home
– To ensure that the online audience was able to interact with the in-person audience
At the start of the project, we sat down with the client to understand their objectives and what was important to them.
We worked with the client to understand what they liked about live events that we could ensure we protect as part of this hybrid event.
The BA Events team created a custom event page where the online audience could watch the live video, interact in the Q&A with the in-person audience and view the event programme. This event page was easy to navigate, accessible from any device and provided an opportunity for the online audience to interact.
In advance of the event, we worked with the client to create the event programme. There are a few things you want to consider when planning a hybrid event programme that are a little different to when doing just a purely live or virtual event. We were able to support WMT with this to ensure we engage with the people watching online.
It was important to WMT that when attendees walked into the event and joined online there was an striking stage – not just someone sitting in their kitchen that has become a common sight during the pandemic.
We worked to manage the venue that was selected for the event, Carrs Lane Church in Birmingham, developed the plans for the event stage and managed the staging provider.
The main purpose of the event was to provide the communities, ‘friends of’ and stakeholders with an update of what was happening within the rail industry generally, updates from West Midlands Trains and provide a networking opportunity for community groups.
This event was a real example of a train operator engaging with their local communities, taking an accessible approach to event delivery and creating an enjoyable programme for their attendees.
We had lots of positive feedback following the event, an example of which, “Thank you very much for the conference – very refreshing and inspiring!!”.