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Riding the Hybrid Event Wave

Riding the Hybrid Event Wave of Future Meetings and Conferences…

As audiences are itching to move back to live events and in-person meetings start picking up momentum again, the wave of Hybrid events is going to bridge the gap between virtual and in-person events while capitalizing on the benefits of each. Of course, I anticipate that in-person events will come back strong, but I don’t expect Hybrid and virtual events to ever completely disappear. As cities and venues across the country begin to open up, Hybrid meetings will be comprised of a smaller than usual percentage of in-person attendees and a higher percentage attending virtually. I anticipate this dynamic to shift over time as we move past the pandemic, but the ease and efficiency of attending meetings and events online have made an impact on some audience members that won’t likely go away.

The largest benefits of hybrid events right now include:

  • The ability to allow for proper social distancing
  • Reaching large audiences regardless of geography
  • Providing users with an optimized experience that yields valuable data

Hybrid events will present new challenges for organizations when trying to deliver an engaging, valuable online and on-site experience. Here are some best practices to follow when hosting a hybrid event.

  1. Hybrid events should be one event with two experiences. Both your virtual and in-person attendees should feel like they are attending the same event. While their method of attending may be different, the content and value your event provides needs to be relevant for both types of attendees. In-person and virtual attendees should have their own, personalized experience but both experiences should be cohesive with your overall event.
  2. Your event content needs to be engaging so you don’t lose virtual attendees. Virtual attendees are difficult to keep engaged because they are experiencing more distractions than ever and are still learning to navigate this new world of virtual events. To keep them interested in your event content, offer new, relevant content, and use live polling and Q&A to interact with virtual attendees. Also, keep sessions brief and to a reasonable length for the best online viewing experience.
  3. Consider virtual attendee schedules and time zones. As we mentioned before, virtual attendees could be logging in from all over the world for your event. To accommodate different time zones and schedules, include both on-demand and live sessions for your virtual audience. Even consider offering live sessions multiple times so virtual attendees can experience the live session at a time that works best for them.
  4. Communicate with attendees every day. Hybrid events are still new to most attendees and they are still learning the ropes of this new hybrid environment. Help both your virtual and in-person attendees stay connected and informed with daily communications related to your event. This could include the agenda for each day, reminders of how to connect with other attendees, a recap of the previous day’s activity, and more.
  5. Hire the right production partner. With the ever-changing landscape in the events sector, hybrid events offer a good option in the current environment for those clients looking to get their messages out to their audience now. The key to a safe, but engaging, hybrid event is to choose a production partner that has solid experience in delivering live and virtual. This is both from a content and delivery perspective. The synchronization of these two disciplines, combined with quality talent, know-how, the right tools and platform knowledge that allow both the live and virtual audience to engage with the content as one, are the main factors to holding a successful hybrid event.

Hybrid events will become extremely valuable because they can truly capture the best of both in-person events and virtual events. At the end of the day, any event that can secure a multi-faceted audience while also potentially growing that audience, still provide recognition of attendees and providing for a ton of vendor sponsorship; reduce travel, hotel and venue costs while generating a larger ROI has my vote.

Give us a call. With over 40 years of expertise in delivering meetings and events all over the country as well as internationally, we’d love to show you how we can make your next Hybrid, in-Person Live or Virtual meeting or event an enjoyable and successful experience !!