Hybrid events are events that comprise a mix of both virtual or online components and the in-person element. The event can be an exhibition, trade show, a training workshop, sales kick-offs, seminars, congress, or colloquiums.
It can be modeled as an interactive session with physical attendees and virtual participants, live streaming of a physical event, or a multi-faceted event with physical attendees and multiple online audiences.
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Hybrid events embrace technology tools in conventional events to offer new experiences and increase engagements in the events.
Types of Hybrid Events
Hybrid events can be either internal or external. Internal hybrid events are organized within a firm, company, or organization, which normally hosts employees, staff members, and leaders.
External hybrid events mostly target clients, customers, or prospects such as exhibitions or trade shows.
Elements of a Hybrid Event
To have a successful hybrid event, ensure that the following key elements are well catered for.
1) Engaging Content
Unless you wish to host an event with attendees’ partial involvement, the content should be customized to have both physical and virtual attendees’ attention and participation.
The content should stick to the plan of the organized event.
Hybrid events are a unique forum for marketing, especially in the case of external hybrid events. It is therefore important to create a presentable and precise website where all prospecting customers can get informed. The access to both physical and virtual participants widens the target market.
Just like physical events, a hybrid event registration process should be kept as clear as possible.
The necessary information and guidelines for completing the process should be available in very clear terms on the registration paths.
A follow-up email to abandoned registration people will be a good reminder for them to complete the process and sign up for the sessions.
4) Appointment Scheduling
The appointment scheduling tool allows event attendees to make connections with each other, both physical and virtual. It is a way of improving engagements between exhibitors or employees with the customers and prospects.
This form of networking makes the events valuable.
How to successfully run a hybrid event
Here are simple tips for running a hybrid event successfully;
I. Select the theme and content of the event properly
Understanding the event’s theme and the target audience will be a useful guide to preparing engaging content. Like we saw earlier, engaging content is a key element of hybrid events.
To avoid a distracted or bored audience, select topics that will keep the attendees attentive and involved in the event.
II. Clearly outline the scope and plan of the event.
With a theme, the next step is to decide on the agenda of the event while considering the target audience, available budget, duration and size of the event, goals, and the type of event.
This will involve settling on answers to questions such as:
Will you do a live stream of a section of the conference? Will you pre-record the speakers for an on-demand playback? Are you going to record the entire session and avail it for download later?
This stage requires ample planning time to ensure that physical and virtual attendance elements are exhaustively met.
III. Select a suitable platform for your hybrid event
The right platform is the key determinant of a successful event. The participants’ engagement will guarantee an active and ‘present’ audience; hence a platform offering such capabilities is vital.
For instance, when hosting a complex event with multiple registration options for categories of different pricing, concurrent sessions, multiple live streams, or synchronized video sessions, the selected platform’s capabilities will determine your event’s success.
IV. Use creative methods to engage the audience.
It is very easy to lose the attention of your audience, especially in the virtual space. Some of the ways you can have the participants actively present include using vibrant moderators and interesting speakers.
The physical program can also engage interactive virtual components on some of the hybrid event platforms such as OnAir.
V. Emphasize short and fast-paced sessions
While an online emcee might do a good job keeping the audience awake, a short and straightforward session will earn you the participants’ attention. You can have the guest speaker creatively build on their presentation to keep the audience interested.
Let the speakers abide by the fixed durations set for each session.
VI. Creating Hybrid Hubs for virtual attendees to watch an event together.
It is all about building connections and value from hybrid events. Creating a hybrid hub offers the virtual audience to get together with their counterparts in the local area while watching the events.
Advantages of Hybrid Events
– It reaches a larger and global audience comprising physical and virtual attendees.
– It promotes enhanced content delivery and engagement.
– Eliminates travel costs for virtual attendees and allows for increased participation, especially where travel restrictions are in place.
– It offers safe audience participation, e.g., in the Covid-19 era, where social distance is a preventative measure.
– It is a convenient way of connecting multiple events occurring simultaneously without raising concerns of time and space.
– Leads to increased sponsorship value.
Familiarizing with the hybrid events platforms will help keep events going, especially in the Covid-19 era, where several restrictions have been enforced.