2020 was the year of the virtual event. 2021 is going to be the year of the hybrid events. Now, what is a hybrid event? What do you need to be thinking about if you are considering hosting one?
What are Hybrid Events?!
Wikipedia defines a hybrid event as a tradeshow, conference, unconference, seminar, workshop or other meeting that combines a “live” in-person event with a “virtual” online component. Your live event is your audience – they may be in the ballroom, studio, conference space, tradeshow floor, theater or other location! Then, you have your viewers that are watching the event from the comfort of their home or another satellite location.
A hybrid event is a great response to loosening guidelines so that your event can have the allowed number of guests in-person while not leaving anyone else out. Safety considerations have some guests not ready to gather in large groups yet. There are also guests that have gotten used to the convenience of virtual events and may choose to attend virtually. Lastly, hybrid events will allow you to continue maximizing your event exposure for your brand, mission and sponsors.
- A hybrid event will be the most expensive option. This is because entails contracting vendors for your in-person and virtual attendees.
- A hybrid event is going to be the most time intensive to plan, because you need to spend equal time building out the experience for both audiences.
- What is your audience asking for? Are they wanting to be together or to be a part of your community from the comforts of their own home? What are your key stakeholders and planners capable of managing?
Benefits of Hybrid Events
- The virtual opportunity removes geographical barriers for guests and the virtual event can provide a more cost-effective ticket.
- The in-person audience allows for the speakers to perform easier and create interaction.
- Guests are able to participate at a level that is safe and convenient for them.
- The event will have increased reach for your sponsors.
- You will have the ability for you to use event recordings after the event.
As you consider your hybrid event, here are a few initial recommendations we have to ensure a quality experience:
- Have an in-person and a virtual host to ensure both audiences feel engaged
- Ensure you have dedicated technicians for your live event and online event. The online technician should be able to provide tech support to that audience.
- Continue to make your programs shorter for the virtual audience. We are continuing to recommend a 25 – 30 minute program for any virtual events.
- Make sure to have at least two camera angles for your virtual guests.
- Create a cohesive event website for details and communicate it clearly to your guests.
This may sound overwhelming; but, the important thing to remember is hybrid isn’t new! For example, conferences have been streaming their meeting out to satellite locations for years. As you navigate the hybrid landscape, make sure to enlist a trusted production partner and let us know if we can provide any additional support!