Even with a sharp increase in virtual events, in-person conferences will always be a necessary part of an event program. Thus, a new type of event has emerged: hybrid events, which are a combination of live and virtual events.
Like any event, a hybrid event needs to be planned well. You need to consider some factors while organizing one, such as the tools needed to promote it, setting, and goals. Hyrid events are ideal for programs that can be carried out online and offline. For instance, sales kick-offs, trade shows, global townhalls, and conferences make for great hybrid event programs.
Hybrid events are also suitable for attendees who usually join events in person but aren’t able to because of the following:
- Health and safety reasons
- Capacity limitations of the chosen venue
- Limited budget for traveling
Continue reading to learn about how you can host a successful hybrid event:
- Define Goals
To ensure that the planning process and event itself go without a hitch, you need to establish your objectives, such as goals for revenue generation or improvement of customer satisfaction.
Of course, the main goal is to engage your attendees. The event should encourage people to interact with each other both in person and virtually and offer them the opportunity to connect with your brand.
- Set A Budget
You can use event management software to set your budget. As you plan your budget, consider aspects, such as streaming services, stable internet connectivity, virtual event platforms, video production, and content development. Your budget should be enough to cover all these areas.
- Give Your Attendees Control
Let your attendees pick what they want to experience. They should have the freedom to choose how they want to attend the event. Here’s what you need to take account of:
- Give your audience choices regarding how they want to consume your content or participate in the activities.
- Offer them a choice to attend live or view the event at their leisure.
- Provide them with alternatives to interacting and engaging in chat groups, breakout rooms, or discussions. For instance, some technologies allow both in-person and virtual participants to choose seats that accommodate their comfortability and view options.
- Offer Wonderful Experiences For Both Virtual And In-Person Participants
Though an in-person experience can’t be replaced, you can still offer wonderful experiences for both virtual and in-person participants. The key is to create engaging content. Come up with presentations or activities that attendees will find interesting and fun
Developing engaging content for virtual attendees is challenging, however. To catch their attention, prepare content that will be fit for a video. Hold a Q&A or live polls. Avoid content that will be hard to follow, such an hour-long speech.
Note that virtual attendees don’t have to be part of certain activities like an interactive networking session. In that case, you’ll need to plan separate content designed just for them. Virtual attendees will want to engage in panel discussions with thought leaders or exclusive interviews with industry experts.
As mentioned earlier, your attendees should have the liberty to check out the event anytime they want. Therefore, it will be practical to provide them with accessible content. Offering content on-demand will not only be convenient for attendees who need to take breaks between but also for those who can only join the event for more or less an hour at a time.
- Ensure Your In-Person Participants Feel Safe
Outside factors can affect hybrid events. For instance, public health and safety measures will influence how and where the event will be conducted. So, reassure your in-person attendees that safety measures are in place. You can use a registration site or send event emails to inform them of the measures.
The following are some safety measures you can implement at your hybrid event:
- Ask both attendees and organizers to submit proof of vaccine and a negative COVID test result.
- Require masks.
- Include sanitizer stations at the venue.
- Conduct temperature checks before people enter the venue.
- Choose An Event Format
There are several kinds of formats hybrid events take: hybrid experience, on-site-turned-virtual event, and on-site, on-demand event.
- Hybrid experience: This includes a virtual event platform, as well as on-site elements, such as registration, mobile app, check-in, and badge printing. It’s designed for both in-person and virtual attendees because in-person attendees share the same viewing options as their virtual counterpart. In addition, virtual attendees will get to engage in all sessions that in-person attendees are part of.
- On-site-turned-virtual event: This kind of format is applied in one setting, with all hosts and presenters and a small number of in-person attendees present. It features a hybrid studio and a virtual platform that most attendees stream through. It doesn’t require check-in features or a mobile app, so it’s perfect for activities like Q&A sessions.
- On-site, on-demand event: Unlike the other formats, this event completely takes place at the venue. It gives in-person attendees access to electronic check-in features with badge printing and QR technology and mobile apps. However, its virtual platform is only for live sessions attended by online participants.
Pick the most appropriate format, depending on your goals and content.
- Figure Out The Number Of Attendees
Since hybrid events are bound to be affected by variables, such as attendance, it’s crucial to prepare your list of attendees. You can send a pre-event survey first, so you’ll have an idea of how many invitees can attend on site and virtually. If most of your invitees want to attend virtually, go for a hybrid event.
Once you have determined the number of attendees, you can start searching for a venue and a virtual platform package.
- Choose The Venue
Like launching audio rooms for global audiences, convention centers are gradually upgrading their setting for hybrid events by incorporating hybrid studios and in-person event spaces with broadcast technology.
With more event spaces that are now hybrid-friendly, you’ll have a lot of options to explore. Select the one that’s equipped with quality equipment and space your event requires.
- Evaluate The Event
Lastly, you’ll need to measure your event’s success. This is an important step, as it will allow you to gain insights that you’ll find helpful for future events. You can send a post-event survey to find out which content your attendees engaged with more and how they felt about the event. Ask for feedback from attendees who asked a lot of questions during discussions or participated in many activities.
Offering a bridge between in-person and virtual attendees, hybrid event is just as enriching as a live and an online event. Its success will depend on preparation. With the tips outlined above, you’ll be able to host a hybrid event that attendees will enjoy.