Hybrid events have been the talk of the industry for the past year, and for good reason. The hybrid approach allows event organizers overcome time and location limitations, offering the possibility to create more inclusive events and execute with greater confidence.
But what do you need to consider when planning a hybrid event? How do you know which platform to choose? If you’d like to know the answer to these questions and dive deeper into hybrid, then keep on reading.
Hybrid is simply an event strategy that has both a virtual and in-person component. They can happen in parallel or in different schedules. You can access these events remotely as well as in-person – this makes them more accessible and creates opportunities for a higher ROI. There aren’t any fixed definitions and the industry keeps coming up with new ways to do hybrid right.
Quite simply, hybrid events mean you can reach more people and take on a more inclusive approach to your events. They can provide extra value to both attendees and organizers by increasing the types of content you can put on and allowing you to really get creative while increasing ROI. Here are just a few compelling reasons to consider going hybrid:
Hybrid events are a great way to involve as many people in your event than before, but they aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Your audience will have different expectations than the next one, so you need to be proactive when planning your hybrid event.
You need to make sure the online pillar of your event is in safe hands, so ensure that you’re working with a trusted technology partner that knows how to create a hybrid event experience.
The first question you need to ask yourself is what experience your audience wants from your event and work backward from there. Are people there to network, learn, engage, etc?
Make sure your technology is in the hands of people with a track record of understanding these motivations and who know how to seamlessly connect people to your event with as few obstacles as possible. As with most things in events planning, research is key. Find a partner with testimonies on not only how proactive they’ve been in the past, but how well they react to technical difficulties.
Consider the immediate needs of your attendees as well as yourself. If your own team isn’t equipped with the appropriate technical knowledge, always go for a partner that provides full support at all stages of your event planning and execution process.
Keeping everyone, especially those attending remotely, engaged is key to creating a successful hybrid event. Don’t forget: a lot of people will be attending by themselves behind a screen, so it’s important to hold their attention as if they’re in the room. Here are a few ways to do just that:
Audiences have an increased demand for flexibility in the workplace and events. This can be facilitated in a plethora of ways, such as by providing recordings of speakers or easy access to live broadcasts. Take into account that virtual attendees won’t be compelled by the same agenda as the ones attending in person.
Don’t rely on content alone, you need to keep the virtual audience actively engaged with it and take something away from the experience. For example, encourage your online audience to engage during events with chatboxes. You can use this tool yourself to gauge and adapt to feedback while allowing for the voices of remote attendees to be heard both on and offline with a digital moderator if you want.
Games don’t have to be gimmicks, they can be a great way to engage remote and physically present attendees at your event. Aspects they can interact with – or compete against other attendees in – leave lasting impressions, give them something to talk about, and help disseminate information in a palatable way. Anything from a treasure hunt, a participation leader board, integrating an app, or simple problem solving can spark competition, collaboration, and engagement – no matter where they’re attending from.
Hybrid events can provide a great opportunity to get more people than ever engaged with your future events. By providing on and offline content, you have a much wider scope to tailor your offering to your audiences and attract even more attendees that previously wouldn’t have been possible. But don’t be mistaken – hybrid events are quite complex and involve many moving pieces. So you want to avoid replicating your in-person experience for the virtual audience. Your event’s success depends on it.
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