How to Host a Hybrid Event | Hybrid events have existed for years, but thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve become increasingly widespread in a variety of industries. In fact, it’s now predicted that nearly all medium- to large-scale events in the future will take place in a hybrid format, and many smaller events as well.
A hybrid event is an event that includes both physical and digital experiences. For example, if you’ve ever watched a televised sporting event that also had spectators present in the stands, you’ve experienced a hybrid event.
During the pandemic, many traditionally in-person events added a digital element to comply with social distancing regulations and reach wider audiences. Read on to find out if you should host a hybrid event and tips for making it successful.
What events can be hybrid?
Traditionally, hybrid events have been held by large companies for major events such as conferences, but they’re now utilized by many smaller event planners as well. Here are some types of events that are conducive to a hybrid format:
- Marketing events
- Trade shows
- Sporting events
- Product launches
- Exercise classes
- Art or cooking classes
Why should you host a hybrid event?
There are a number of benefits to hosting an event in a hybrid format rather than fully in person. Primarily, hybrid events can facilitate higher attendance than physical events. Your guest list is not limited to the physical capacity of the venue, as many more can attend virtually.
Hosting a hybrid event also means that guests who are located too far away to travel to the venue can still attend. It also provides flexibility for those who may have hectic schedules and do not have the time to attend in person or stay for the full event. You can also record the event to share with those who are unable to attend.
You can also garner a higher ROI on a hybrid event than a fully in-person event. You can still have your virtual audience buy tickets, but you won’t have to pay for catering or venue capacity to accommodate them. This way you will most likely make more money than you spend on the event.
How to host a successful hybrid event
When planning a hybrid event, you must take into account not only the accommodations for your physical audience but also your virtual guests. It requires a bit more work to ensure that both audiences have a seamless experience and the event goes off without a hitch.
A hybrid event takes careful and detailed preparation. First, choose an activity that can be enjoyed both online and in person, such as a meeting, talk, or game.
Then choose a virtual platform, such as Zoom, Hopin, or vFairs. Various streaming platforms include different engagement features and bandwidth capabilities, so do some research to find the best one for your event. Then provide clear instructions to help your virtual attendees log on easily.
When advertising your event, be sure to incorporate digital marketing avenues such as social media, which allows you to reach a broad audience. Make sure to emphasize that you are offering both physical and virtual attendance options.
Finally, make sure to keep your virtual audience engaged throughout the event. Just watching a video feed can get boring quickly. Evaluate the features and tools various virtual platforms offer to interact with an online audience and help them actively participate in the event.
No matter your industry or the size of your event, consider whether a hybrid format is the right choice for you. For more information on hybrid events and how to host them, check out the infographic below.