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A closer look at hybrid events

A closer look at hybrid events (1)

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.

How can you define hybrid events?

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. 

Why should you hold hybrid events?

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:


  • You can be much more flexible; hybrid events can be anything from a one-room meeting with an online broadcast to a full conference with many streams and online activities. 
  • You accommodate the needs not just of attendees, but also speakers who might not have been able to present in person. This reduces concerns about space, venue hire, crowd safety, and more, without compromising your event’s content. 
  • You futureproof yourself to ensure that your event can take place regardless of world events and people can attend from around the world with minimal environmental impact. 
  • Online spaces also provide even more capacity for sponsorship along with more inclusive resources for potential attendees who would otherwise not be able to physically attend. 
  • Attendees can more comfortably customize their event experience for what works best for them, choosing which speakers and content to access, along with allowing speakers from around the world to attend. 
  • Hybrid events and content mean that you have more control over how bespoke an experience you can offer your attendees, meaning you can tailor your output to your audience at a granular level. Attendees will see relevant, quality content that’s easily accessible and will be more inclined to engage. 

What you need to know before you go 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



  • Assess the risk of technical complications and work around the assumption that if something can go down, it will. So, it’s essential to have the right support internally or externally.
  • Make sure you have specialized staff on hand who can bring the virtual component of your event back on as soon as possible, and keep them briefed on what is happening, how, and when. In the meantime, make sure you have a backup plan so audiences aren’t left with radio silence. 
  • Remember that you’re essentially running two events with a lot of crossovers. This means separate marketing and social media initiatives for your remote and in-person audiences, as well as practices to make sure both sets of attendees are taken care of and get value for their ticket. 

How to know if you’re working with the right partner for 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. 

How to build attendee engagement

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:

Keep it fun and flexible

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.

Get people chatting

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. 

In a nutshell

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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