2021 has arrived and with it, a move to start in-person events again, albeit more slowly.
The events industry was one of the worst-hit due to COVID-19 but is also one that’s bouncing back. As virtual events blossomed during 2020, the rise of hybrid events has also seen an increase, especially as we move into 2021. Post-COVID events are on the rise as more and more people seek their own version of normal.
But what is a hybrid event and what do you need to know when looking at running your own?
That’s what we’re going to cover in this blog post.
What is a hybrid event?
Basically, a hybrid event is a combination of a virtual event and in-person experience. It’s starting to become an essential part of the ‘new normal’ the events industry is transitioning into for post-COVID events.
How to host a successful hybrid event
As with any successful event, you’ll need to plan and brainstorm what you want it to look like. Do you need on-site streaming capabilities? What will the internet cost for this be? Is it an internal or external event? What will attendees expect to get out of the event?
Answering these questions will help you build out what your hybrid events program will look like, including the addition of virtual events.
When should you host a hybrid event?
As you’re mapping out what your event looks like, deciding whether to include a virtual component or not is the key decision factor when it comes to running a hybrid event.
Literally, any event can be a hybrid event, but there are some types of events that make for the perfect hybrid event set up:
- A trade show
- Any conference
- Global town halls
- A sales kick-off
The obvious reason for offering hybrid events is that the attendees who would normally attend in-person but no longer can, are able to still experience the event virtually.
Running a hybrid event
Now that you’ve made the decision to host a hybrid event, you might think all you need is a virtual streaming provider and you’re all set. However, successful hybrid events have the same elements and features that you have with on-site, in-person events.
By working with a great virtual streaming solution, the following elements will make sure that your hybrid event goes off without a hitch.
Adjust your content
The content that’s delivered at your event is the most important aspect. Not only will your in-person attendees need to be engaged, but you’ll also need to factor in the virtual attendees too.
How will you get them involved in any discussions? Make sure that any speakers are prepared and that their presentations are available for virtual attendees to view along with their speech during the live event.
By adding in a 24-hour replay component, you can help keep your virtual attendees engaged with your content for longer too, or simply give those that aren’t able to attend live the ability to watch presentations in their own time.
Review your marketing
With a hybrid event, you’re able to attract even more attendees. You can increase sales by at least double the amount of your standard in-person event. Hosting a hybri event with a virtual component also allows you to keep ticket sales open longer for virtual attendance.
Consider the costs
While there are added benefits of having a hybrid event, the costs can be large when it comes to your streaming component. In some cases, it can be as much as 50% of your total budget.
If those who register for the virtual component don’t intend to watch live, you can reduce streaming costs by simply offering access to the replays. This means that you’d only need to worry about recording the sessions.
It’s one event, but two experiences
A key success component of a hybrid event is remembering that there are two experiences that you need to balance and plan for. If you’re used to running in-person events, you’ll have this part of the experience already dialed in, but what about the virtual experience?
You’ll need to make sure that you test the video streaming solution and prep presenters to record and speak into the camera.
You can issue virtual attendees with emoji signs to show their appreciation for content, which can be shown up on large screens during a live presentation. But don’t forget your in-person attendees too. They can also have access to the same signs so all are included.
It will be a balancing act, but if you keep in mind that the hybrid event is for attendees first and foremost, then running a successful hybrid event won’t be an issue.
About Streampoint Solutions Inc.
Founded in 2001, Streampoint Solutions Inc. is a leading provider of event management software. With solutions ranging from tailored online and on-site registration, integrated solutions, housing management, lead retrieval and more. We empower event industry professionals to seamlessly manage their conferences, trade shows, festivals and corporate events. For more information, please visit www.streampoint.com.