Hybrid is the industry buzzword post-pandemic, but what does it actually mean for events? Our CEO, Carly Silberstein, recently joined a panel of event experts on Hopin’s EventProof on Tour to discuss the state of hybrid events. Strictly speaking, hybrid events have both in-person and virtual audiences – but it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Below are some of the biggest takeaways from the discussion that can help with the success of your next hybrid event.
1. Hybrid has evolved.
Before the pandemic, a hybrid event would have likely been a livestream of an in-person event. Since the pandemic and the subsequent reopening of the world, hybrid has now taken on a whole new meaning. It’s made up of complex layers. Strictly virtual events require planning for attendee engagement and participation in an online environment, while in-person events require solely in-person planning. Hybrid formats require components of both types of events. Creating a fully immersive experience for both virtual and in-person attendees is crucial.
2. Have a growth mindset and be willing to adapt.
When determining how to navigate hybrid events, maintaining a growth mindset and having the willingness to adapt, learn, and change are important skills. Remain open-minded and embrace technology. Take the time to test different platforms and solutions that will best suit your audience and contribute to your events success.
3. Recognize that you are planning for two different audiences.
An essential part of hybrid events is creating two unique experiences for two different stakeholder groups and recognizing the difference between them. It is important to engage virtual attendees to ensure that their needs are met in the same way that the in-person audience’s needs are. Giving virtual audiences access to special moments can help them to feel included and part of the experience. Try incorporating a Q&A with presenters, or behind-the-scenes moments reserved only for the virtual audience. Have an emcee encourage interaction and networking opportunities in breakout rooms to help make the event more engaging. Finally, make a point to embrace what you don’t know – bring in experts such as event professionals and/or audio-visual partners to help you navigate program design, technology, and production levels, to make the event more immersive for the virtual audience.
4. Explore unique sponsorship opportunities.
With the rise of hybrid and virtual events, there has been an emphasis on educating sponsors on the unique possibilities that these event formats offer. Co-create the experience with sponsors. How do they want to engage with your audience? Educating the potential buyer on what’s available or how the product or service works can now be done in new ways such as through videos, 1:1 meetings, and online banners. Get creative!
5. Don’t go hybrid for the sake of it.
While it is a popular solution for many events these days, if a hybrid format won’t bring value to you and your audiences, don’t do it. You are essentially planning two different experiences – thus, hybrid events require a lot of planning and can be costly. On the other hand, a successful hybrid event can bring many benefits to your audience and your organization. Only make the choice to go hybrid if it helps to achieve your event goals!
With the above takeaways in mind, you can leverage the hybrid event format to be engaging, immersive, and fun for attendees. Contact us today to get started planning your next event!