In a matter of days, live events and conferences that had been planned months in advance were suddenly postponed or canceled.
Virtual events became the new normal, and we had to learn how to create effective programs. We navigated through the storm and learned a lot of lessons along the way.
One of the most important lessons the event industry learned was that while virtual events certainly have their benefits, live events will always be an important part of any robust event program.
Now, it’s time to think about a different type of event – hybrid events. There will be situations, such as this global pandemic, where a virtual event is the only option. There will also be situations where an in-person event will be the most effective way of collecting leads and engaging your audience. Hybrid events, or events that combine both in-person and virtual experiences, will be an essential part of the new normal in the events industry.
In this blog, we will walk you through the basics of a hybrid event.
Creating a successful hybrid event requires planning and brainstorming. Are you hosting an internal or an external event? Do you have the tools needed to market and promote your hybrid event effectively? What are you hoping your attendees will get out of this event? Answering these questions and more will help you as you begin to build out your hybrid event program.
The first decision you must make is whether to include a virtual component in your event at all. Does it make sense? When should you host a hybrid event versus an onsite event versus a virtual event.
Hybrid events are the perfect solution for those programs that can effectively be held both onsite and virtually such as Trade shows, Conferences, Sales kick-offs & Global town halls.
Below are some examples of when an attendee who normally might be on site for an event may have to attend virtually:
The attendee cannot or does not want to travel due to health or safety concerns.
The attendee’s organization has limited travel spend and, therefore, cannot travel to the event.
The venue where you will be hosting the onsite portion of the event has capacity limitations, so not all attendees will be allowed to gather onsite.
A best practice may be to send out a pre-event survey to garner the current situations and feelings of your invitees. If you get the sense that many would prefer the option of attending virtually, a hybrid event may be the best way to go.
Internal Hybrid Events can be held to benefit the company’s internal stakeholders, including employees, leadership, staff, etc. For many companies, it is nearly impossible to gather all your internal stakeholders in the same room for a meeting. This is where hybrid events come into play.
External Hybrid Events that are targeted towards your customers, prospects, clients, etc. Transitioning your live external event to a hybrid setting can help draw in more attendees and lower your carbon footprint
It is important to take the time to identify the goals of your hybrid event, as well as gather all the tools you need to execute on these goals effectively. Below we outline common elements of taking your event hybrid.
One common misconception we have heard in the industry is that all you need for a hybrid event is a virtual streaming provider. A successful hybrid event requires the same elements and features like an onsite event. Paired with a great virtual streaming provider, these elements will make your hybrid event a great success.
Engaging Content - Your content is arguably even more important at a hybrid event. Not only do your in-person attendees have to be engaged, but your virtual attendees should also be involved throughout the event.
Marketing - A hybrid event attracts both in-person attendees and virtual attendees. This gives your organization the chance to attract two (or more!) times the number of attendees to your event, which means that your hybrid event marketing is as important as ever.
Registration - Your hybrid event’s registration process should be just as seamless as your onsite event registration. Create a branded event registration webpage with your organization’s colors and your event information, so prospective attendees can easily find all the details about your program.
Appointment Scheduling - When some of your attendees are participating virtually, and others are in person, it is more difficult to schedule meetings. You can use an appointment scheduling tool to block off times on your attendees’ calendars that are reserved for networking.
These past few months have been nothing short of unpredictable. But we have all learned a lot from this experience. One of the most important lessons that we learned is to be prepared. Incorporating virtual and hybrid events into your total event program will be a key piece of your event strategy as we navigate these next few months of the unknown. Live, in-person events will never go out of style, but it never hurts to have a backup plan. Make hybrid events yours.
At Pure Magic Events, we cater to all kinds of events and deliver the best for our clients and make the attendees feel special.