Subtleties and nuances of hybrid events
Organizing and running hybrid events is hard work, but fortunately, there are many ways to simplify the process. Read our article to learn more.
There are many benefits to hosting hybrid events - perhaps even more than their fully in-person or fully virtual counterparts. But achieving this can be difficult, especially if you do not have access to the relevant knowledge, information, tools or event management platform.
Why you should consider hosting a hybrid event
By going from the in-person norm to the virtual one, seemingly overnight, we are finally starting to return to how events used to look before. While a return to in-person events would be great, there are many people who love the virtual format.
The good thing is that there is a way to make everyone happy. This is a hybrid format.
Hybrid events take all the good things about in-person events and combine that with all the great things that the online format has to offer. Of course, it is impossible to please everyone, but hybrid events are a step in the right direction.
Visitors are not the only ones who will be pleased with the hybrid model. Organizations hosting such events will also benefit from:
Content that is consistently relevant
This type of content remains relevant long after publication. In this case, it will remain fresh and interesting after the conclusion of the hybrid event; and because the hybrid event format has a tangible online presence, it's a great way to promote long-lasting content.
Reduces barrier to entry
The virtual event is acclaimed for its availability. Hybrid events effectively lower the barrier to entry into what would otherwise be an exclusively face-to-face event. This allows people who cannot physically attend the event to be able to attend.
Reducing the negative impact on the environment
Unsurprisingly, virtual events are much more sustainable than in-person events. You reduce energy consumption by limiting the number of people commuting to and from the venue, as well as reducing the overall energy consumption that the physical space would otherwise consume. If you choose the hybrid path, you still enjoy some of the environmental benefits as it often means you need a smaller venue for the event and not as many people commute to the physical venue.
The ability to diversify income streams
Hybrid events offer an excellent opportunity to diversify revenue streams without significantly increasing overall costs. There are many ways to take advantage of this opportunity, but one notable example is selling sponsorship packages.
3 challenges of hybrid events (and how to overcome them)
While hybrid events offer attendees the best of both worlds, as well as the freedom of choice to host the event in the way that best suits them, that doesn't mean they don't have their problems.
Here are three common obstacles that can stand in your way of planning and hosting a great hybrid event, along with some strategies and tools to overcome them:
1. Bridging the gap between online and physical audiences
When you're trying to cater to a divided audience, it can be difficult to get the interaction between them in a way that feels natural. Fortunately, technology has allowed us to develop comprehensive event management platforms that offer features to help bridge this gap.
If you've chosen a hybrid format for upcoming and future events, take advantage of the hybrid event platform with the innovative features you need to ensure seamless engagement, such as:
- Advanced presentation features.
- Seamless collaboration capabilities.
- High bandwidth live streaming
- Hybrid meeting rooms
- Interactive tools such as a dynamic poll or a live Q&A session.
- Event gamification features
2. The complexity of planning a hybrid event
Hosting a hybrid event involves many logistical issues. The right platform for hybrid events can make this process easier. Look for a solution that integrates with the rest of the tech stack, collects physical and virtual contributor data automatically, and streamlines the reporting process. With detailed analytics, you can track your performance in real time and make calculated adjustments to improve your visitor experience.
3. Attracting sponsors
Sponsors are waiting for the results. Event technologies allow you to achieve these results as efficiently and effectively as possible. Using an innovative solution, you can direct physical and virtual visitors to your sponsors in several different ways, for example:
- Sponsor booths (both virtual and physical).
- Sponsored sessions and games.
- Sponsor profiles in your branded event mobile app.
- Push notifications, splash screens, and banner ads
Planning a hybrid event
Programming an event is an integral part of the event planning process, and perhaps even more important for hybrid events. When your audience is divided into two different segments, face-to-face and virtual, there are more opportunities for hitches, misunderstandings, and communication breakdowns.
Creating a comprehensive hybrid event program will help keep everyone on the same page by highlighting important times for events, meetings, breaks, etc.
Here are a few key points to keep in mind when planning your hybrid event:
- Different time zones.
- Breaks in content.
- Session duration.
- Interaction with the audience.
- Networking opportunities
- Prerecorded content.
Hybrid Event Best Practices
Best practices for preparing, running, and ending an event require preparation, execution, and follow-up that must be purposeful and planned.
In reality, your event "starts" long before the show starts and ends after everyone has gone home - you have a lot of work to do during those times. So, here are some best practices to help you excel in preparing, hosting, and wrapping up your next hybrid event.
Before the event
Each hybrid event requires careful planning and preparation in order for it to be fruitful for all participants. In addition to clear communication so that everything goes according to plan before the event, there are a few other important things that need to be done:
- Set a budget and set goals. You should have a good idea of the budget you will be working with before even starting the planning phase. Your budget will affect things like scheduled events, event capacity, event management platform, and more.
- Create buzz around the event. Hosting a hybrid event is no excuse to mess around with marketing, in fact, you will have to put in extra effort to create buzz around the event so that more people know about it.
During the event
During the event, it is still your responsibility to stay on top of everything that is going on and be available to speakers and other guests for support, while encouraging the engagement of your physical and remote attendees. It may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools, things get a little easier. Here are some considerations to keep in mind during the event:
- Whenever possible, host speakers at the venue. The advantage of having a presenter at the event venue is that it is much easier to live stream the speech to a virtual audience while still allowing the live audience to enjoy listening to the physical space of the event. So take your speakers in person if it makes sense and broadcast their talks to a remote audience.
- Prepare speakers in advance. At many events, speakers make up a large proportion of the participants. To make them feel at home and comfortable, prepare them ahead of time so they can deliver an amazing speech to both live and virtual audiences.
- Encourage participation on social media. Encouraging social media activity during the event is a must. This will help increase the satisfaction of both physical and virtual visitors and facilitate networking. It's also a great tactic for gathering information for post-event follow-up and evergreen content strategies.
- See data in real time. An event management platform that offers real-time data analytics to help you keep your finger on the pulse of the event. You will be able to identify trends, lulls and booms, and adjust your strategy accordingly to stimulate or correct certain situations.
After the event
When an event ends, it doesn't mean it's over. There are many things you can do to keep event attendees engaged and attract new customers, as well as take stock to better plan your next event. Here are a few options for things to do after the event to help you stay relevant and use the experience for your next event:
- Repurpose the content. Event content is very valuable and should not be wasted. Recycled and up-to-date materials can (and should) be used after the event is over, helping to increase attendee engagement and engagement, as well as working more effectively with potential clients.
- Analyze event success and report ROI. Advanced reporting features make it easy to view, collect, and provide insights from event results. This is an essential best practice as it will help prove the value of the event to stakeholders and guide planning for future events.
- Constantly engage your contributors. Using social media or integrated community hubs on a virtual event platform after the event is over is a great way to keep people interested. Building a community after an event is useful in many ways, but the most notable ones are related to attracting potential attendees, converting, and keeping people informed.
For many, hybrid events are the future and the absolute best option for any corporate meeting. Say yes to accessibility and consider hosting your next physical and virtual event.
Hybrid events are the best option for driving more attendance, increasing accessibility, and catering to more attendees, but it's not always easy. Request a demo today and find out how OnlineExpo can optimize your event experience to ensure successful hybrid events.
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