Hybrid events have grown in popularity since employees have started to return to the office, but the pressure is on for event planners to navigate all the ways the attendees are joining.
Hybrid events combine aspects of in-person and virtual conferences, bringing them together in a way that offers unique benefits to presenters and attendees alike. For those who can’t attend the event in person, this means they have access to live video feeds, presentations, sessions, keynotes and more from their own computer or mobile device with just an internet connection. Additionally for those who do show up at the venue onsite–they’re able to connect with other attendees via chat rooms and social media sites like Twitter while still being “in the room.”
To understand the complexities of hybrid events, let’s explore the comparison of virtual vs hybrid events. Virtual events or online events are usually focused on a single topic and can include live streaming, pre-recorded videos, chat and more. Hybrid events happen in both the virtual world as well as the real world with conversations happening between all attendees via video chats, phone calls etc. The key factor in hybrid event management, whether it’s virtual or hybrid, is making sure your audience can participate and engage with your event, no matter where they are. Most hybrid events have attendees joining in several types of ways:
• Face-to-face – gathering of individuals in the same location
• A pod – gathering of individuals in one location linked to an event in a separate location
• Virtual – individuals attend from their laptop
How to host a Hybrid Event
It’s important to note all the elements that go into creating a hybrid event before you decide to create one yourself (especially if you plan on having a lot of attendees). Before planning your next event, keep this hybrid meeting checklist in mind:
What is the purpose of your event?
Will you be hosting a hybrid meeting or pod? Which will have more attendees and how many people do you anticipate having in either one of these gatherings? If it’s not clear how many are expected, make sure to create an online survey for participants ahead of time. This way they can submit their RSVP accordingly.
Do you need AV equipment (audio/video)?
If so, what type(s) will suit your needs best: desktop computer with screen sharing software like Zoom; laptop with camera and microphone; portable monitor that connects wirelessly to a projector at the venue. Or perhaps you need a microphone to speak out to your in-person attendees, but also a PA system that connects to your virtual event hosting software.
Do you need additional equipment, like projectors or risers?
If so, how many and how do they affect the cost of your venue rental. Make sure to include this in your budgeting.
Will there be any food/refreshments at the event?
And are you worried the virtual attendees will be sad they don’t get to enjoy the in-person catering? Out of everything we just covered, the snacks should be the easiest part. With SnackMagic, you can treat both your in-person and virtual attendees to the same experience. Let your attendees decide what they want as fuel for the event, plus don’t even sweat the small stuff like collecting addresses. We have all that taken care of and more. What’s the second best thing at conferences other than the food? The swag! With SwagMagic, both your in-person and virtual attendees can select their own swag to have customized, plus have some free snacks too ($25 for 5 custom swag items, plus $10 free snacks!).
Hybrid Events Best Practices
Because the main goal of hybrid events is to engage the audience from where ever they are joining from, it’s important to establish best practices as a way to enforce the inclusion of every attendee so no one feels left out or loses interest.
– In person, be sure to have an open and welcoming atmosphere with plenty of space for people to chat.
– Online, send out reminders that everyone is welcome so no one feels left out from the conversation—or worse yet abandoned by the presenter!
– Going Live? Encourage attendees to provide their phone number or email address in order to receive a reminder text before going live as this will help them avoid any confusion about when it’s time to go online.
– Does your hybrid event technology provide unique features? Some virtual and hybrid platforms out there have unique features that allow attendees to engage with each other in interesting ways. Check out these platforms to consider for your next hybrid event:
Best Hybrid Events 2021
Hybrid events are best for those who want to create synergy between online and in-person attendees. They’re best for educating customers, employees or any other stakeholder on products, services and new technologies.
Successful hybrid events include a live in-person experience with an accompanying virtual event platform (typically Live Streaming). It might also include the use of webinars, presentations, workshops and panel discussions where presenters answer questions from the audience both digitally as well as live. The hybrid approach provides participants with greater access to experts while giving them an opportunity to interact with their peers face-to-face at the same time. If you’re looking for some hybrid event examples, here are the best hybrid events 2021 for some inspiration:
Ready to have at least the food for your hybrid taken care of? You have enough to worry about already. Start an order now for your remote and in-person attendees and make the snacks the easy (and yummy) part.