Hybrid events are the perfect bridge between virtual and online. It is a type of event that combines both in-person and virtual elements. It allows participants to attend either in person at a physical venue or remotely through online platforms. The concept of hybrid events has gained popularity, especially in recent times when virtual events have become more prevalent due to factors such as travel restrictions, safety concerns, or the desire to reach a wider audience.
Despite what you might believe, they don’t require a ton of high-end technology, like virtual reality, augmented reality, holograms, or anything of the sort.
You can make a quality hybrid event with accessible technology that doesn’t require years of experience and expertise.
Keep reading to learn the fantastic advantages of hybrid events as well as advice from professionals.
What are hybrid events?
As the events industry evolves, so does the way event organizers and marketers plan and execute events. In recent years, there has been a growing trend of “hybrid” events. So what exactly is a hybrid event? A hybrid event is an event that combines aspects of both online and in-person events. They are becoming increasingly popular, as they offer the convenience of an online event combined with the personal connection of an in-person event.
The physical component is usually a conference or trade show where people can meet in person, and the virtual component is usually a web cast or online meeting where people can participate from anywhere in the world. There are several reasons why hybrid events are becoming increasingly popular. First, they allow event organizers to combine different elements that appeal to different audiences.
This can help increase attendance and create a more well-rounded event experience. Secondly, hybrid events are often less expensive to produce than traditional standalone events. This is because organizers can save money by using shared resources such as venues and staff. Finally, hybrid events offer greater flexibility and creativity for marketers.
While hybrid events can be a lot of fun, there are a few things to keep in mind while planning one. Here are six tips to help make your hybrid event a success:
1. Choose the right mix of activities. It’s important to choose activities that will appeal to your target audience and that will work well together. For example, if you’re planning a hybrid event with a mix of online and in-person activities, make sure the online activities are relevant to the in-person ones.
2. Consider sponsors. Sponsorship not only gets you valuable exposure for your brand but also provides the resources needed to pull off the event. If you can align a corporate sponsor with your event’s theme, it will make it easier for your audience to engage with the sponsorship.
3. Plan ahead. Like any other type of event, planning a hybrid event takes time and careful coordination. Start by putting together a project plan and timeline, and make sure you have the resources you need to pull it off.
4. Create an engaging agenda. A good hybrid event starts with a strong agenda that is designed to engage your audience and build interest in the event. Consider how you can incorporate key messaging and interactive elements into the event, such as live quizzes and q&a sessions.
5. Audience engagement Make the event fun, engaging and memorable. Great hybrid events are interactive, engaging, and fun for your audience. Create an atmosphere that will help build rapport with your readers.
6. Keep it simple. The goal of a hybrid event is to create a unique and compelling experience that will drive your audience to action. So keep the number of sessions and activities to a minimum. Hybrid events allow organizers to be creative and flexible with their planning and programming. Additionally, it provides a way to connect with different audiences, which can help organizations reach their goals.
Sachin Anand from WebMOBI
What are some examples of successful hybrid events?
Successful hybrid events are the right combination of different ingredients: good planning and strategy, a real integration of in-person and virtual audiences, and the right tools to bring all the attendees together. But, of course, the most successful hybrid events are the ones where you can exceed your goals.
One of our clients, a data performance company, recently hosted a hybrid event with the goal of reaching a broader audience. The event counted with 200 participants on-site, and 500 participants on the event platform and app. This hybrid event is a good case study: the hosts had a well-defined strategy on how to reach their targeted audiences, the video content live streaming strategically showcased not only the stage and the speakers, but also different angles of the on-site audience, and during the event the hosts encouraged participants to engage via the event app, and had a tablet to read the audience comments live, bridging the gap and creating a unifying experience between the in-person and online audiences.
Another company wanted to create their hybrid event platform with an outstanding design, following their in-person event branding. We managed to build together a hybrid event platform and app ahead of the game, empowering the hosts’ team to take out the most of the tool’s features and adapt them to their specific needs. This event gathered more than 3000 participants from more than 100 cities, so it was really important to foster participants’ connections. This company made clever use of the matchmaking tools, allowing participants to connect following their interests. The company also leveraged its social media, creating a huge buzz, and resulting in an awesome number of participants posting their home office, or a selfie attending the event on the go, via the mobile app.
But the success of a hybrid event it’s not only measured while it’s happening but also once the event is over: does the event create long-lasting relationships through its networking activities? Is there an active community that continues to engage once the event is over? Do participants keep their communication with the brand in the long term? If designed with the right strategy, hybrid events will contribute to the success of your company, and will help you to achieve your business goals.
Rita from SCOOCS
What should venues be equipped with?
- Be Hybrid Ready – Hybrid events are the new normal. The silver lining of the pandemic was it unlocked the possibilities of a remote attendee. As in-person events make a comeback, venues will need to have all the components of Hybrid events.
- Tech-Friendly Venue – Traditionally venues have steered clear from event tech and provided only basic tech like wifi & AV. But today a great differentiator is a partnership with a reliable hybrid event platform.
- Make it Safe – As In-person events return venues would need to satisfy all health & safety standards. Take guidance from local health and venue safety authorities on best practices. Ensure yours. The staff is well trained & equipped in cleaning and hygiene techniques
- Streamline Event Check-in – Onsite Check-in Technology in the venue is a natural extension of the at-venue event experience. Contactless check-in, Event Check-in apps , and Seamless vaccination validation are must-haves in today’s world.
- Quality Internet Connection – With event organizers needing to live stream from the venue, it’s imperative to have blazing fast upload speeds. And don’t just restrict it to the organizers. Today attendee’s come equipped with event apps that require reliable internet too.
Sara Roy from Nunify
What aspects make hybrid events successful?
In the unstable COVID-19 era, hybrid events showed very clear benefits to offer to an event industry, giving the best of both the online and offline world, thus delivering a unique experience to every party.
Better attendees’ experience
When the pandemic restrictions were still active, their migrating schedules made it always hard to plan future events for all parties – attendees, sponsors, and organizers. Nowadays, it gives all the attendees the option to be switched anytime, depending on their circumstances. Thus, with hybrid event options there’ll be no risk in missing the event, making it possible for more people to plan and attend.
Also, in the modern world of daily challenges, people tend to lose focus. And hybrid events can give your audience more options – long sections can be broken into shorter ones, content can be made available on-demand, and some meetings can be recorded and sent after the session is finished. Adding features like polls and questionnaires to ensure the speaker or moderator engages the audience is a good idea to keep your audience’s attention from waning.
Hybrid event technology provides room for a bigger number of participants without renting a larger event venue. It helps to save money for both event organizers and attendees as they don’t have to spend extra traveling or on accomodation, and there’s no need to be constantly afraid to miss an important event due to the ever changing world.
Data collection and analytics
Hybrid event format allows collecting more valuable data, which helps analyze attendee satisfaction, retention rates and gather overall feedback. It can be used to improve future events and boost client contentment. Adding polls and surveys feature also helps to collect even more data; applying it to any meeting or forum helps use this data instantly.
Slava Vaniukov from Softermii
What technology do virtual attendees require to join an event?
Normally the technologies for connecting to a stream are internet-based technologies. So all the virtual assistant needs is a stable internet connection (either wifi or wired) and access to a web browser. Chrome is usually preferred but, in reality, they work with all of them. From there, each event can be streamed through multiple channels Zoom, Go To Webinar, Meets or platforms such as Youtube Live, Facebook Live, Linkedin Live or Instagram Live also serve this purpose and expand the audience of the event.
When event organizers want to have more control over access to their event, who can and who cannot access their event, they opt for event management software with its own RTMP server to broadcast in streaming such as Events case, among others, but from the point of view of the virtual assistant, all they have to do is register for the event, with a username and password and then, on the day of the event, use these credentials to access the event online through a dedicated URL.
Other options that have been used over the last two years are web apps or native apps. So the virtual assistant, in addition to having access to the content of the event itself, has access to the event agenda, sponsors, speakers, and other attendees with whom to network by holding spontaneous or previously scheduled videoconferences, the possibility of interacting live through tools such as live chat, Q&A and surveys, as well as gamification formats such as contests, challenges, and other games. The difference between the two formats is that web apps are a URL to connect to while native apps require downloading the app from the Android and iOS shops.
In short, the possibilities for customization are endless but the technological needs of the virtual assistant are always similar. If you have a computer or a mobile phone to connect to the Internet, you have a window to access thousands of events around the world.
Mentxu from Eventscase
What are ways to engage everyone at a hybrid event?
Get creative with event-branded gift boxes for attendees.
Planning a hybrid event can be tricky, especially when finding ways to keep both in-person and virtual attendees engaged. Create an unforgettable experience for everyone no matter their location by assembling curated hybrid gift boxes or swag bags filled with fun surprises!
Not only are gift boxes fun to open, but they’re also a smart event marketing strategy. For instance, use them as an upsell opportunity for premium-level event tickets. You can also use them to distribute sponsored materials, such as handouts, coupons, promo codes, and more.
Boost your budget by inviting an event sponsor to cover costs as part of their sponsorship package. As an alternative, you can fill each box with a variety of sponsored gifts from multiple organizations.
Wondering what to include in your attendee gift boxes? Some ideas that we’ve found work well include:
- Custom name tags, lanyards, and badge ribbons
- Branded promotional products or apparel
- Marketing materials from sponsors
- Gamification items (I.e., Bingo, trivia, etc.)
- Speaker worksheets or handouts
- Tea, coffee, snacks, or locally sourced gifts
At pc/nametag, we’ve seen event professionals and meeting planners get creative with their boxes. Here are our best tips for maximizing your time and investment:
Tip 1: Include the same durable goods in all boxes to build a sense of community and continuity. Mail virtual attendees their boxes and invite on-site attendees to pick up theirs during event registration.
Tip 2: Include custom badge ribbons in your box to spark conversation among attendees. Print a fun phrase, show off your hashtag or logo, and give guests a gift they can wear on any badge.
Tip 3: Capture the moment by inviting attendees to take pictures with their event badge and gift box items. Then, encourage them to make posts on social media using your event’s dedicated hashtag.
Tip 4: Leverage a theme in your box, like “Virtual Coffee Break” or “Game On!” Add intrigue by including interactive elements include or an envelope everyone can open together at a designated time.
Tip 5: Partner with a company that offers gift box fulfillment services. pc/nametag, for instance, works with planners to curate the perfect gifts, then we’ll assemble the boxes and ship them on your behalf.
It’s up to you to empower everyone in attendance to feel more connected to one another. Gift boxes are one of the trendiest ways to provide a more consistent brand experience. Done right, you’ll help fuel brand advocates, bring awareness to your event, and entice more in-person registrations next year!
Meaghan Maybee, Marketing Communications Specialist from pc/nametag
How can you design an inclusive experience for remote participants?
Delivering an unforgettable experience for your participants is the top priority. Hybrid events are the best of both worlds, meaning they consist of both virtual and in-person experience elements. You may want your remote participants to feel a more captivating, engaging, and enjoyable experience. Many things can be done to design an inclusive and intriguing experience for your participants. The use of technology and smart solutions can effectively help deliver this effectively. Some of the essential tips that can be used for this are:
- Choose an ideal all-in-one platform to streamline the whole event experience.
- Use attractive 3D designs for an immersive experience.
- Create virtual lobbies for remote attendees.
- Give them engagement opportunities with the platform’s features such as Q&A sessions, polling, live chats, breakout rooms, event gamification, etc.
- Your remote participants may face difficulties while navigating the platform or with the event registration. So give them proper support to assist them better.
- Provide networking opportunities for both virtual and in-person participants.
- A seamless event experience will create a great impression on remote participants.
- Multilingual audio support to facilitate a better understanding.
Whether it is an expo, fair, fest, town hall, exhibition, or any other event, ensuring that you give them engagement-driven participation is a top priority. With these tips, you can effectively create an inclusive experience for your remote participants. For this, you can choose an event tech suite like Dreamcast. Get a fully featured all-in-one platform that will help you create a great impression on the remote participants. Moreover, look for a fast, safe, and secure event registration platform so remote participants can have a seamless event experience. Since it is the first and foremost part of the event, they will be interacting with. You can design a truly comprehensive and inclusive event experience by ensuring all this.
Saransh Maurya from Dreamcast
What are the benefits of attending a hybrid conference?
Attending a hybrid conference gives you the best of both worlds – the face-to-face connections and onsite engagement which we have so dearly missed as well as the convenience and comfort of staying at home while still participating in an event. Providing flexibility in attendance is key!
By opening the doors to both in-person and virtual attendees, you’re essentially increasing the reach of your event and allowing for a bigger audience to join in. More attendees usually mean more opportunities to engage and interact – only if you have the right software and features to enable it!
For example, with the Canapii mobile app, attendees will have greater networking options and opportunities. Onsite, you will have the ability to speak to different people and schedule meetings in person. With the app or on a platform, you will also be able to chat, video call, and arrange meetings with virtual attendees. Essentially, you can interact with absolutely anyone who has registered at the event.
Hybrid conferences are also a great way of repurposing your onsite content to engage your virtual attendees and online communities. Your event material becomes instant assets that can help generate revenue and deliver more value to your virtual attendees during or post-event. Make snippets of a live session, transform a roundtable meeting into a future webinar, and create evergreen content that will serve the event community in the weeks or months following the event.
Attending virtually eliminates the barriers of travel, transportation, and time while still allowing attendees to connect, interact and consume content. While attending in-person offers more immersive experiences. By combining both together, you can truly curate a holistic and inclusive environment for all event stakeholders.
Elliot from Canapii
What are the challenges of a hybrid event?
Perceived complexity is one of the greatest challenges in hybrid events. Organizers may feel intimidated by the idea of simultaneously planning an in-person and virtual event. Some professionals may believe hybrid events take twice as much effort, time, and resources for planning. No wonder: After all, the hybrid format combines two ways of engaging the event attendees. This perceived complexity results in organizers tending to focus on one format, choosing between running an in-person or virtual event. Subsequently, they cannot take full advantage of both formats’ benefits. Luckily, event solutions, such as Eventtia, allow organizers to combine the best of the two worlds, engaging attendees in-person and virtually. Moreover, thanks to advanced planning solutions, running hybrid events doesn’t require additional effort or resources. Organizers can run a full-fledged in-person event while deciding which aspects they want to digitize, creating unique experiences for their virtual attendees. At the same time, they can ensure the virtual guests’ expense integration with the in-person environment by enabling mixed networking. In other words, they can enable virtual attendees to connect with people who’re in-situ, experiencing the in-person event. Planning and managing a hybrid event may add a layer of complexity when designing and setting different digital workflows, such as online streaming, virtual attendee engagement, sponsorship booths, and networking. However, the entire process can be coordinated via platforms similar to Eventtia, allowing organizers to manage their hybrid events with just a few clicks.
Elsa Joseph from Eventtia
What are some general tips for a hybrid event?
- Remember, you have two distinct audiences. The “one size fits all” description is not true for hybrid event programming. Decide if you will host a large in-person event with an option to participate online, if your event will be a virtual event with limited tickets to attend in person, or if you will create two unique events. Prioritizing one audience – online or in-person – affects the experience of both audiences. Consider the goal of your event, guest surveys, and the results of your recent virtual events and past live events before you plan your hybrid event. Multiple events in various formats throughout the year can be a great option if a single, large hybrid event becomes overwhelming.
- For your online audience: make it fast, concise, and visual. Would you want to watch people at a party eat their salad for 20 minutes? Neither does your audience at home. Organize your run of show so that the elements that interest your online guests are sequential, quick-paced, and visually appealing. Stream only that part of the event. Save everything else for your guests in the room.
- For your in-room audience: make it special. Your in-person audience purchased tickets and dressed up to attend. Give them an experience that is separate from the live stream. This could include refreshments, a live auction, special guest speakers, time to mingle, or a behind-the-scenes production experience.
- Remember that your in-person audience might not follow the script. Large in-person audiences take a while to take their seats. Prepare for this so that you can begin the live stream on time. Consider communicating the expectation in advance or making frequent announcements asking your guests to find their seats. Your AV production team can also use sound and lighting cues to signal that the program is about to begin. A large in-person audience is also likely to talk during the event unless you hold their attention from the stage. They haven’t been together in two years – it’s hard to stop chatting.
- Make it easy for everyone to participate. Make it as easy as possible if you plan to ask your in-person audience to use technology to participate. Clear communication includes providing different instructions for each audience. Test your instructions as both a guest at home and as a guest attending in person.
What are some examples of hybrid events?
We have had all kinds of events turn hybrid on the Sarcon platform across industries and geographies.
Hybrid event types include medical conferences where some speakers join live while others are connected remotely and beamed on the stage. On the one hand, the entire event was streamed to live audiences; on the other hand, the sponsors and exhibitors were spread across the in-person and virtual editions of the event. Mandatory video conferences and web-based seminars have been around for a very long time.
The healthcare industry has been conducting these seminars online but with limited functionality; cutting down on some of the major highlights of these events. Take for example poster presentations and certifications. They are the key highlights of any medical conference, but due to the lack of more holistic technology, there were missed opportunities. With the help of hybrid platforms, speakers and industry experts can not only present vital information in person to the audience present at the venue but also broadcast the presentation to those audience members who have joined online, while also interacting with them live.
Others include rewards and recognition events for large enterprises where the leadership congregates at one location, be it in their office or a studio where they want state-of-the-art recording facilities while the audience attends the event from across the globe.
The importance of cybersecurity has started to reach the general audience. With the rising need to educate and reach a large number of individuals, companies involved in cybersecurity are organizing hybrid events. These events are aimed at bringing the pioneers and experts of cybersecurity under one roof. Going hybrid helps them bring experts and CIOs spread across the borders; allowing them to discuss and share upcoming features, trends, and products. Hosting hybrid events helps reach stakeholders across borders.
Prior to the digital revolution, a vast majority of industry summits were held on-ground in physical locations. Two major limiters of such summits were the available real estate and the carbon footprint they would leave behind. The number of attendees would be as large as the permissible foot traffic of the venue. And the amount of carbon footprint it leaves behind is directly proportional to the number of attendees. Today, with the prevalence of virtual technology, the concept of a hybrid process has enhanced and uplifted the way organizers conduct the event.
Hybrid summits not only have in-person audiences attending the on-ground event, but the number of virtual attendees can rise up staggeringly; an individual’s online bandwidth being the only limiter here. Moreover, the carbon footprint left behind is drastically low in comparison.
The financial sector, too, has embraced the power of hybrid events. High-profile banking summits, for example, have been organized on Sarcon’s platform.
And lastly, one of the most memorable events for any individual is their wedding. People have realized the value and ability of hybrid events to alleviate a certain amount of wedding woes. The virtual environment is designed to aesthetically match the real aspects of the wedding that is taking place in the physical world.
The bride and groom, along with the members of their family aggregate at the event venue for the ceremony. And those family members who cannot attend the wedding ceremony due to certain geographical limitations can join the ceremony through the virtual medium. Weddings are one of the most socially pleasing and awaited occasions for individuals. Watching a video of the ceremony online does not provide the dopamine boost our brains experience when we interact with the people we love while attending a ceremony. Hybrid platforms become the mediator and set the stage for the friends and family to socialize, interact, and come together under one ceremonial umbrella and rejoice while physically being located thousands of miles apart.
- Exhibitions & Tradeshows
- Virtual Weddings
- Job & Career Fairs
- Award Shows
- Medical Conferences
- 3D Webinars
- Housing Fairs
- Graduation Ceremonies
These are some examples of hybrid events, a type of events that brings the best of both worlds — in-person and virtual, together and elevates their most important aspects for a better outcome.
Dishant B from Sarcon
How is it different from a virtual event?
Chances are, you have heard about hybrid events before today. According to the research done by etc. venues, 73% of event planners expect hybrid events to become more popular in the future.
At Zuddl, we feel that hybrid events will become the de-facto choice for organizations. And why not! Hybrid events are more inclusive, and sustainable and deliver a higher ROI as compared to traditional in-person or completely virtual events.
But what really differentiates a hybrid event from a virtual one?
Let us dig in:
1. Complexity: For one, hybrid events are much more complex and difficult to execute than only virtual events or in-person events. This is largely due to the fact that the experience for in-person attendees as well as virtual attendees has to be of similar high quality. There can be no exceptions
2. It’s not just about the live-streaming: An in-person event cannot be turned into a hybrid event just by adding a live stream. Sure, live streaming is a core component of a hybrid event, but planners cannot overlook the importance of a bi-directional engagement and live conversations with virtual attendees during the event.
3. Balance: Hybrid events balance the experience of an in-person event with the convenience of a virtual event. With a choice in their hands, attendees can choose to participate in whichever form suits them most, and organizers, on the other hand, can maximize ROI and contribute to their sustainability goals by planning better in-person to virtual ratios. As is evident, one major highlight of the hybrid event model is that it empowers attendees with choice, in that they can choose to either attend the event physically or virtually, based on their convenience. With asynchronous or on-demand content becoming more and more popular, hybrid events can help you better engage with the constantly evolving modern attendee.
Ketan Pandit from Zuddl
How effective are hybrid conferences?
At the height of the global COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions on travel and limits on in-person events presented serious challenges to organizers of conferences and trade shows. Fortunately, the technology already existed that would allow them to work around these constraints. Tools like Zoom and Google Meet enabled speakers and attendees alike to gather virtually, no matter where they were in the world.
Even with many of the pandemic restrictions now loosened, a hybrid approach to events may prove to be a winning formula. With the cost and logistics of travel less of a consideration, the ability to reach a wider potential audience with reduced effort and expense could certainly prove appealing to a large number of those involved in putting on or presenting at large-scale conferences.
Quoted in the journal Nature, astrophysicist and conference organizer Elizabeth Tasker noted that a hybrid format makes events accessible to many more people. “Over the last two years, data from conferences has shown a sharp increase in the diversity of attendees for online meetings,” Tasker said. “Removing the need to travel plummets the cost of attendance, makes the meeting far more accessible for those with disabilities or illness, and typically makes it easier to balance caring or other local commitments.”
Earlier this year, PressReader had a presence at the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit. The event took place in Manila from April 20 to 22, and although we were not there physically, we did have an online “booth”. This included a “virtual fishbowl” in which potential partners interested in our product — a platform through which users can access digital versions of thousands of newspapers and magazines from around the world — were able to drop their business cards.
We at PressReader were not the only ones attending from afar. After the event, the WTTC reported that, in addition to the 600-plus in-person delegates from more than 50 countries, the summit had received over 10,000 virtual registrations. Those are encouraging numbers. While hybrid events come with their own unique set of challenges — such as ensuring that those tuning in virtually have as satisfactory an experience as those attending in person — when done right, they can be remarkably effective.
Nikolay Malyarov from Pressreader
What is the best event platform?
NetworkTables is an all-in-one event platform for event organizers to help their attendees meet the right people at the right time at events. Created in collaboration with event managers since 2015.
It lets guests gain access before the event starts to connect with relevant people without the headache of filling out forms or downloading apps. Providing insights into who is attending an event, where, and the tools to book an appointment without fuss. The platform seamlessly integrates with ticketing tools so that attendees can use the platform without creating another profile.
Roundtables show an overview of each table, whether it’s online or offline, and let attendees choose who they are sitting next to strike up interesting connections, like choosing a seat on an airplane. Meanwhile, request meetings and generate perfect matches with a complete-time schedule on the day.
After an event, connect with all the guests that attended the same things as you and exchange virtual business cards, as you know you share common interests. Then gain access to on-demand recordings of the entire event. All while staying in the loop with post-event feedback, communication, and session ratings.
For organizers, they can create their own workshops, webinars, and workshops all year long and automate schedules and reminders to their guests. Keeping engagement high by seamlessly transitioning guests through all the sessions they have signed up for one after another. When it comes to virtual events, technical support rooms are available for any guest to jump into to quickly resolve any problems.
To keep the momentum going, event planners can create also create an always-on event community. Here members create their own member-led sessions to extend a one-day event throughout the year.
Perfect for hosting in-person and virtual events while increasing value through networking. Great ease of use and pre-event features.
Tyler Wood from Network Tables
How do I engage guests in a virtual event?
Virtual events provide access for an audience that would otherwise find the content inaccessible. Maybe the cost is too great; maybe there are global travel restrictions; maybe they just don’t like crowds. There are many reasons why people cannot physically attend an in-person event. The beauty of virtual events is that they invite folks of all types, locations, and identities to participate.
Before we produce a virtual event, we start with the question, “why does this need to be live?” The reason always boils down to engagement. What makes a virtual event an EVENT is the ability to engage with the content, its creators, and others in the audience. By inviting users to engage, you cultivate belonging. They become a part of your tribe.
Engagement looks different depending on the type of event. What works well for a brand activation may not work for an internal corporate presentation. For optimal participation, engagement opportunities should feel organic.
An audience’s most basic expectation is that they can communicate with each other in real-time. Comments, chat, or Q&A – these are table stakes for any virtual event. Most virtual event platforms have this baked in, but third-party widgets like ChatWing or Chatroll also work wonders.
Stepping up from there, you’re looking at “call and response” engagements – think quizzes, polls, word clouds, or trivia. Our favorite tool for this is Slido, which can be embedded on your website or accessed via a QR code.
When events get massive, they may exist in multiple locations – maybe they’re streamed on YouTube as well as Facebook and Zoom, or maybe there are multiple tracks. Combining data streams – like YouTube comments and tweets – and incorporating them graphically into your content helps an audience feel like they’re a part of something bigger.
Whatever engagement strategies you choose, make sure your virtual event audience feels like they’re an organic and vital part of the total experience.
In conclusion, do not be discouraged from trying to host a hybrid event even if you have never done so before. Technology is more available than ever, and time is ideal.
And in practice, hosting them isn’t difficult. Not if you have the proper equipment and knowledge.
Nick Bacon from Mainstream Media
Why should I attend a hybrid content?
A hybrid conference offers what Hannah Montana would refer to as the best of both worlds. Hybrid settings allow people to connect in person, or digitally. If what you seek is human connection, then you can attend the conference in person and network. But if you want to connect with other people without having to travel to the venue, or you simply aren’t ready to deal with large groups of people then you can attend online.
These are some of the many benefits of attending a hybrid conference:
Increased attendance: as mentioned above, attendees will either attend online or in-person. This means that there are no excuses (or fewer) for not attending, which ensures the conference will be a success in terms of attendance.
- Less carbon footprint: since fewer people will have to travel to attend the event physically, the overall carbon footprint reduces. A smaller physical audience will also require less equipment, reducing transportation and labor emissions.
- Better engagement: big conferences usually run multiple panels, talks and workshops simultaneously to suit everyone’s interests and fit an extensive schedule into a short period. This usually leads to people missing out on some talks they may have wanted to attend, but this issue is solved at hybrid events. Since the virtual side of the conference requires the recording of all panels, then you can listen to every talk you were interested in once the conference uploads the videos post-event. No one will have to miss out on any aspect of the event if it’s a hybrid.
So we can agree that attending hybrid conferences is the ideal choice for everyone.
Ana Lopez from Walls.io
What do I have to consider entertainment & education wise in a hybrid event?
A hybrid event in its simplest definition is an event with two audiences… those attending in person and those attending remotely.
In terms of education and entertainment, you must determine what you want each of those audiences to experience. Those attending remotely will never have the same exact experience as those attending in person… it’s not possible. The excitement, energy, and conversations one has at a live event cannot be replicated for your remote audience. Therefore, when considering your entertainment and educational content, you must consider the experience.
For your educational content, do you want both groups of attendees to have access to the same content? Do you want some content available only for in-person attendees? Do you want to provide special sessions for your remote attendees? The content at your event must be value-driven and provide actionable solutions for your attendees. However, not all content is suitable for both audiences. If you are having a breakout session where the primary focus is on the interaction between attendees (i.e. a workshop format where attendees have to work together to solve a problem), that session may not be best for your remote attendees. As you are building your agenda, consider what tracks and sessions are appropriate for your two attendee groups.
When choosing entertainment options, you will have similar questions to answer. How do you want the two groups to interact, and what entertainment options do you want to provide? Do you want a party for your in-person attendees and a separate online party for your remote attendees? For your specific audience, would it be better to bring the two groups together for the entertainment portion?
We have brought in entertainment such as DJs playing “Name That Tune,” and artists painting live on stage. When we bring in entertainment, we first decide what the goal of the entertainment is, how it will translate to the two audiences and what we want the experience to be like for the attendees… then decide what the best match is for that experience.
Always look at entertainment and education from the perspective of your audience to help guide your decisions.
Lisa Schulteis from Electralime
What aspects make hybrid events successful?
When it comes to hosting a hybrid event, it is important to keep in mind that both audiences need to be fully engaged. Livestreaming is not enough, because remote guests require the same level of interaction as in-person attendees.
At Dot.vu, we strongly believe that the keys to successful hybrid events lie within the interactivity of your event. You need to engage participants both physically and virtually, and make sure to create an equal experience for both types of participants.
There are many Interactive Experiences that can be designed to help you organize the most amazing hybrid events, such as Interactive Videos, Quizzes, Polls, Gamified Experiences, and so on. These Interactive Experiences can be used before your event to promote participants and boost sign-ups, during your events to engage, entertain, and delight, or after your event to gather feedback and share results.
For example, you could create an Interactive Virtual Tour for online participants so they can virtually go around the event facility and explore the different rooms, stages, and so on. This is an excellent way to allow online attendees to the network by starting online discussions and visiting the different stands and exhibitions.
You can also use Interactive Videos instead of traditional presentations. The same Interactive Videos can be shown to both types of participants, except that online attendees could interact directly within the video while in-person attendees could interact through QR codes with their phones. In your Interactive Videos, you could add as many interactive elements as you want, such as polls, quizzes, Marketing Games, contests, and so on.
In other words, the keys to a successful Hybrid Event lie in planning an event that will be engaging and interactive for every attendee regardless of their location. With Dot.Vu, the Leading Interactive Content Platform, can create many Interactive Experiences that will delight your audience both virtually and in-person.
Erika Naud & Ivanina Topuzova from Dot.vu
How do I engage guests in a hybrid event?
In the post-pandemic world, where hybrid events are increasingly becoming popular, many event planners struggle to bring their virtual and in-person audiences on the same page simultaneously. Pre-pandemic, there was much less emphasis on engaging virtual attendees, who were more of mere spectators. However, now people prefer to choose their participation format, suiting their convenience, and this necessitated a major overhaul of attendee engagement techniques. Combining the best of digital and physical worlds to keep all attendees happy and excited throughout requires some reinvention of strategies.
1. Foster Inclusion
Creating a sense of inclusion is more difficult for remote participants. They miss the social interactions and lively ambiance that keeps onsite attendees hooked. A ‘virtual facilitator’ can help replicate the onsite experience for them by interacting over live chat, Q&A, agenda, polls, and more. For presenters, acknowledging the virtual audience is important, and so is taking their names and addressing the camera to give them a sense of eye contact while answering their questions.
2. Prefer Live Sessions
Live sessions are always recommended instead of pre-recorded ones. To both sets of audiences, live sessions give an opportunity to have their questions, views, and doubts addressed in real-time, which always ensures a higher degree of interaction.
3. Allow Ample Networking Opportunities
While in-person attendees can comfortably indulge in networking during lunch breaks or around their tables, facilitating it in virtual spaces is often challenging. Offer breakout rooms for remote participants, helping them set up targeted or randomized meetings. Some tools also allow replicating physical venues where attendees can move between tables or join different conversations, enhancing the overall experience. It’s also crucial to create a means where virtual attendees can network with the onsite audience.
4. Use Technology Optimally
Whether you’re filling the session gaps with fun elements or meaning to create a connection between both sets of audiences, using the right technology is essential to keep the engagement level high. In addition to ensuring a seamless experience for remote attendees, you can go creative and use technology to further blend both worlds. For instance, showing the remote participants on the main screen on-site can further enhance the sense of inclusion and promote connectivity between virtual and in-person attendees.
Jaya from Eventcombo
What are the keys to successful hybrid events?
Hybrid events are more popular than ever, and it’s not hard to see why. More event organizers are embracing the hybrid format with the potential to increase attendance, boost revenue, and improve convenience. That being said, organizers need to understand the format before they can use it effectively.
Balance Virtual & Physical Elements
One potential stumbling block when running a hybrid event can be neglecting the in-person or virtual elements. By focusing too heavily on one aspect of the format, organizers can fall into the trap of producing a ‘False Hybrid’ event. This leads them to cater too heavily to one group of attendees while neglecting the other.
False hybrids can be effective for some events, particularly if virtual and physical audiences participate on separate days. However, it is generally essential to treat both sets of attendees equally, to ensure all participants feel engaged and not alienated.
Use the Right Technology
Mobile event apps are now a common sight in the industry, to the point of becoming a vital resource. While these apps can greatly improve an in-person event, the potential to link them with a virtual event platform makes them essential for effective hybrids.
By partnering with the right event solutions specialist, organizers can create a branded app that improves attendee interaction, promotes networking, drives footfall, and more besides. Likewise, these features can be mirrored onto a custom web platform, letting virtual and in-person attendees engage with content, sponsors, and each other.
Know Your Audience
There are many reasons to run a hybrid event, but one of the most common is to expand your audience and increase event attendance. While the hybrid format can certainly deliver this, you need to establish what key features will help achieve your goals.
For example, if you want to expand your audience globally, you should probably consider an app and platform will multilanguage capabilities and closed captioning.
When planning a hybrid event, it is always best to consult an event solutions specialist who can guide you through the process and deliver exactly what you need.
Ben Harper from All in the Loop
Who would attend a hybrid conference?
The popularity of hybrid events can be attributed to their unique flexibility to attendees. With the option to attend either in person or virtually, conferences can expect much higher participation levels and a lot of interest from participants around the world.
Thanks to globalization, many corporations today have international teams that can rarely meet in person. For workplaces like these, internal events like team meetings, employee engagement activities, or quarterly planning events are best done in a hybrid environment, where local employees can meet in person, and any employees who work in other parts of the world can attend virtually. Additionally, external corporate events such as product launches or customer conferences can gain much more attention from customers globally if they have the option to attend events in a hybrid capacity.
Besides the corporate world, educational institutions also have much to gain from hybrid events. Everything, from student information sessions to doctoral dissertations, is now hybrid events, allowing a mix of local and international participants to interact and learn. Universities can now teach hybrid courses using higher ed LMS, and by doing so, they can eliminate several financial or legal barriers that their international students would face otherwise. Many graduation ceremonies are also hosted as hybrid events, allowing students to participate even if they have returned to their home country.
The case for hybrid conferences and events has been made even stronger since the pandemic. The risk associated with large gatherings has made hybrid events common in workplaces and educational institutions. Many sick or immunocompromised people prefer to attend events virtually, while those who are immunized have the option to attend the same events in person, provided that they take the necessary precautions.
There are many reasons a person may attend events in person or virtually. Oftentimes, the decision simply comes down to personal preference. This flexibility and room for choice are why hybrid events are and will continue to be very popular.
How much does a virtual or hybrid conference platform cost?
The cost of a virtual or hybrid platform can vary quite a bit, and most do not have native streaming built in, which creates an extra cost (we natively do). Most companies, us included, have a base starting price. This could be anywhere from $8,000 – $20,000+. This covers your base license for use and typically a set number of users.
If you would like custom features, additional professional services, or go beyond your base user count, costs can rise.
Jim Fiore from Corporates Events Online
How do you define a hybrid event?
A hybrid event is a combination of in-person and virtual. Typically, both audiences share a live stream digital experience – oftentimes, this can be both audiences watching the same screen or the virtual audience watching a live in-person event. The latter is more common. Event organizers aim to provide a similar experience for virtual attendees by offering break-out sessions, chat engagement, and props like snacks or swag shipped to their homes. Typically, the virtual and in-person audiences remain separate yet offer a slightly different perspective on the same content. The beauty of hybrid events is allowing attendees from all over the world to get access to the content they normally wouldn’t have access to. While hybrid events became popular out of necessity, it does feel like it’s here to stay, given how large an audience they can support.
Jas Banwait from SnackMagic
What advantages do attending a hybrid conference offer?
Hybrid events truly offer the best of both worlds for attendees by opening the doors for easier access for anyone to participate, regardless of their physical location. The connectivity offered by such events is key, particularly for events that appeal to a global audience. In our experience with EdTech and Assessment based events, having the ability for attendees to network, attend virtual sessions and even watch content on demand helps diverse audiences connect and find avenues for collaboration or new ways of thinking that ultimately benefit the greater good.
Samantha Leonard from TAO
What is the best virtual platform to use?
Virtual and hybrid events offer tremendous benefits to event planners, attendees, speakers, sponsors, and partners, and it’s essential to know how to pick the right one for your event. There are many features to compare across providers, and we’ve identified two key factors that play a significant role in determining the success of your virtual or hybrid events:
Platform Provider’s Event Industry Experience
- Service Levels and Support Staffing
While many virtual event platforms are delivered by a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider, they must have event industry experience for setting timelines, staffing, and contingency planning. Without years of experience, event tech platforms are unfit to guide event producers on the best strategy for acquiring and engaging their target audience. They’re also less prepared to deal with contingencies before, during, and after the event.
At MEETYOO, we’ve been connecting premium brands like L’Oreal, Mercedes-Benz, and SAP with their customers, partners, and employees for over 20 years. We built our event platforms based on this experience to maximize speakers, sponsors, and attendee engagement. Because online events should be impactful, insightful, and memorable.
To deliver award-winning events, your platform provider needs to work as part of your team. One of the most frustrating experiences event planners have had over the past couple of years is working with understaffed virtual event providers. They weren’t there for team meetings, fundamental decisions, or rehearsals. Thus, ensuring your platform clearly articulates its level of service and staffing support in its contract.
There are three levels of platform support you need to create world-class events:
Event Strategy & ROI
- Event Set Up & Testing
- Live Event Streaming & Platform Support
Our team at MEETYOO will help you design the right visitor engagement strategy, set up, and test your event. It will take care of any technical setup, so you can solely focus on your attendees, sponsors, and event experience.
The world’s leading brands expect their platform provider to offer their services with the strategy and goals of their event, maximizing the return on their investment. Being prepared is everything, so having your platform provider support your sponsors and speakers relieves you from the stress of ensuring each party is fully prepared for your life day launch.
MEETYOO’s platform is fully integrated, so your live-streaming, chat, booths, virtual venues, and networking capabilities are all powered by the same backend, without the need to rely on 3rd party providers. This minimizes risks associated with unexpected software or API changes or security vulnerabilities. MEETYOO is one of the few virtual event platforms to be ISO-certified and fully GDPR-compliant.
In conclusion, it’s crucial to find a provider that will be part of your team and roll out the red carpet for you as a client, and that is precisely what we do at MEETYOO. Relieve yourself from the stress of managing a virtual platform, and let us take the wheel. We will guarantee a smooth experience for you and your audience.
Tony Kula from MEETYOO
In conclusion, do not be discouraged from trying to host a hybrid event even if you have never done so before. Technology is more available than ever, and time is ideal. And in practice, hosting them isn’t difficult. Not if you have the proper equipment, the right webinar software, and knowledge.