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Hybrid Events Guide : The only guide you'll ever need!

A quick handbook to all your event-related queries about the hybrid event and hybrid event platform

WHAT IS THE LATEST EVENT TREND AND HOW TO HOST ONE?

A hybrid event is in trend recently and is likely to grow in the coming years. The hybrid event format comprises of in-person as well as virtual components of an event. Attendees are offered the option to attend the event either in-person or virtually through a digital device.

There is no barrier in hosting any type of hybrid event. Right from hybrid conferences, AGMs, town hall meetings, trade shows, fairs, award shows, and much more, it’s all possible.

70% of marketers didn’t have a virtual event strategy before the onset of the global pandemic. The year 2020, upsurged the demand of the virtual event industry.  Reviews in G2’s Virtual Event Platforms category have increased 2,777% since May 2020.As per the research- 75% of users implemented a virtual event platform in 3 months or less whereas nearly 60% of virtual event software users saw ROI in less than 6 months.

But, the future is hybrid. As soon as things start to settle down with the distribution of vaccinations. Every physical event will have a virtual component attached to it to extend event reach. As per Global DMC Partners, 72% of event planners will move to a hybrid event format in 2021. Whereas it is estimated that the hybrid event market will take the front seat between 2022-2027 completely.

Catherine Chaulet
Global DMC Partners President & CEO

“While the majority of the industry feels that a COVID-19 vaccine is a key to being able to resume hosting in-person physical events and meetings, there are a lot of health protocols that can be put into place to ensure a safe, successful event in the meantime”

Catherine Chaulet
Global DMC Partners President & CEO

1. WHAT ARE HYBRID EVENTS?

A hybrid event is a mix of online virtual and physical events.

This event format offers flexibility to attendees to attend an event in-person either by visiting the event venue or virtually from their respective remote locations via any device supported by an internet connection.

Hybrid event formats focus to deliver immersive experiences to both the set of attendees i.e. virtual and in-person attendees.

It converges the gap between a physical event and a virtual event.

SOME INTERESTING HIGHLIGHTS ON HYBRID EVENTS
  1. 1

    As per Wild Apricot, people crave in-person interaction and networking in 2021, multi-location hybrid events are popping up rapidly.

  2. 2

    70% think that hybrid events will be important in the future as an important indication to look further into hybrid events.

  3. 3

    As per the research by the Lab University of Applied Science out of 7086 poll respondents, 62% predicted that most events will become hybrid in coming years.

These stats clearly unravel the future of the event industry will be hybrid events.

Now, when you have a clear insight into hybrid events, let’s explore different types of events that can go hybrid.

2.TYPES OF HYBRID EVENTS

You can transform any type of physical event into a hybrid event by pairing it with a virtual component. We have listed some of the most common types of hybrid events that will give you some idea.

Hybrid events offer enormous possibilities to host any kind of event. It reaches widespread global attendees while holding the essence of face-to-face interactions. Now, let’s see what difference hybrid, virtual events, and in-person events hold.

3. PHYSICAL VS VIRTUAL VS HYBRID

Every event format holds its list of pros and cons. Before deciding upon the event format one needs to consider these factors and make a final choice accordingly that suits the best to their event requirements.

Factors In-person Event Virtual Event Hybrid Event
Cost The large capacity venue, Accommodation, Food and Drinks, Technical staff, Lighting, Camera, Arrangements and more Virtual event platform, Good quality microphone and speakers Small venue, hybrid event platform, and slight arrangements for limited no. of in-person attendees
Number of Attendees Limited as per venue capacity Unlimited as attendees can attend the home from remote locations Unlimited as attendees can join the event virtually. A small portion of attendees can attend an event in-person
Geographical Restrictions Local No Restriction, Global Reach No Restriction, Global Reach
Content Easy distribution. Multiple sessions at a time Multiple session can stream live in different auditorium Distribution to be decided upon response
Navigation Map is required Easy navigation and teleportation provided to attendees Mix of both
Engagement Face-to-face interactions, hugs & greets, handshakes, eye contact Multiple engagement features are available such as Gamification, live polls, Q&A, quizzes, AR photo booths, social wall, emoticon integration and more Mix of both
Data Collection Manual collection of data at the time of registration and sessions Can be tracked digitally with Digital Footprinting Digital footprinting for virtual attendees and manual data collection for in-person attendees
Environmental Impact Not eco-friendly, tons of waste disposed of after every physical event, increased carbon emissions Eco-friendly alternative, eliminating waste and carbon footprints during events. Eco-friendly. Reduced wastage and carbon emissions.
Feedbacks Difficult to gather Gathered by sending feedback forms via email Emails for virtual attendees. In-person feedback form for limited physical attendees

Now, when you know different aspects of each event format, it’s time to understand the merits of hybrid events.

4. MERITS OF HYBRID EVENTS

There are ample benefits of hosting hybrid events. Some of them are listed below:

  • BUDGET-FRIENDLY

    A large sum of money is saved by booking smaller event venues and no accommodation. A majority of attendees join the event virtually.

  • ENHANCED REACH & ACCESSIBILITY

    Hybrid events expand your event reach at lower costs as it allows you to reach global attendees effortlessly by pairing a virtual component to in-person events.

  • SUBSTANTIAL ROI

    With reduced cost, hybrid events offer you a substantial ROI (Return on Investment) when compared to in-person events.

  • FLEXIBILITY

    The virtual event offers a lot more options for engaging the attendees.

    Offers flexibility to attendees either to attend an event in-person by visiting an onsite event location or virtually from remote locations.

    60% of hybrid events witnessed more attendance than in-person events.

  • MAXIMISED ATTENDANCE

    Hybrid event experiences maximised attendance. Attendees from any part of the world can be part of an event at their convenience without having to pack travel bags.

    91% of respondents said they attended events virtually.

  • BETTER ENGAGEMENT

    The hybrid event format offers endless possibilities to engage attendees effortlessly. Here are some features to engage attendees effortlessly during hybrid events.

    AR/VR Photobooths, Gamification, Live Polls, Quizzes, Giveaways/competitions, Social Walls, Leaderboard Challenge, and much more.

    Engagement activities accelerate the success of your events.

  • ECO-FRIENDLY ALTERNATIVE

    Hybrid events are an environmentally friendly option as it reduces the paper wastage and carbon emissions.

  • EASY TO COLLECT ATTENDEE FEEDBACK

    Hybrid events help in gathering attendee feedback seamlessly. Send feedback surveys to attendees via emails. However, even organise live polls, Q&A, rating system, and more during the event to gain attendees insight for future events.

  • OFFER REAL-TIME ANALYTICS

    Keeping a track of every attendee move is not possible with in-person events. But, with hybrid events, the complete data of virtual attendees are tracked digitally. Whereas tracking data of the limited number of attendees is not tricky.

    You can track every digital move of attendees right from the time of registration till they leave the event.

    It includes the number of booths they visited, whom they interacted with, downloaded, or shared, number of sessions they attended, locations at the event they visited, engaging hotspots, and much more.

    These are some of the benefits of hosting hybrid events. Now let’s move towards the steps to organise the one.

5. HOW TO ORGANISE HYBRID EVENTS?

Organising a hybrid event is not that trick as it sounds. To host a hybrid event you need a perfect event venue with limited space capacity and the right event technology partner to start with.

Same as other event formats, you need to plan and strategize for hybrid events.

The planning is divided into three stages –

  • DETERMINE YOUR OBJECTIVES

    The first and foremost step is to identify the event objectives. You should be clear with certain questions like why do you want to host this event? What are the goals you want to achieve from this hybrid event?

    Identify your goals, it can be making new connections, boosting revenues, upscaling sales, launching a new product, and more.

  • IDENTIFY YOUR POTENTIAL TARGET AUDIENCE

    Once you understand your event goals, identifying potential target audiences comes next. Determine the audience for whom you are planning an event and what are their likes and dislikes.

    Having a clear understanding of your target audience helps you to plan effective strategies to make maximum out of your hybrid events and achieve desired results.

  • PLAN AN EFFECTIVE STRATEGY FOR A HYBRID EVENT

    Now, when you are all clear with your event goals and understand your target audience, it’s time to delve into planning an effective strategy for your event.

    You need to decide on the following things before moving ahead and plan a strategy accordingly:

  • INVITING EXHIBITORS AND SPONSORS

    Invite reputed sponsors and exhibitors for your hybrid event. They will help in deciding the budget of your event and accelerate the event’s reputation. The sponsors you invite help you in earning more revenues. Try to reach and onboard highly reputed sponsors for your event.

    A Reputable sponsor helps in giving your event the much-needed hype and attracts attendees to your hybrid event effortlessly.

  • DECIDE THE EVENT BUDGET

    Decide the budget of your event. It is one of the most significant steps to start with planning and selecting the best hybrid event platform.

    Strategically allocate funds while planning and strategizing your hybrid events.

  • LEVERAGE THE RIGHT PLATFORM

    You need to select the best hybrid event platform to pair with your event. Select an immersive event platform that offers an array of customisable solutions and engaging features for immersive event experiences.

    While making a final choice look for features like Virtual Networking tables, 2-Way video conferencing, AI-Matchmaking, Business card exchange, B2B Meeting Scheduler, Dynamic Lobby, and banners, access Management, Seamless Navigation, Teleportation, Gamification, AR/VR photobooths, Live Q&A, polls, quizzes and more.

  • CREATE A COMPELLING CONTENT

    Create content for your hybrid event while keeping both the set of attendees in mind i.e. virtual and in-person attendees. Do not create content that focuses on one segment and neglects another.

    Try to keep the length of your speeches and presentations short to keep virtual attendees interested in the event without losing interest.

    Curate compelling content according to different social media platforms that can be utilised in promotions.

  • PROMOTE YOUR EVENT

    Leverage the power of social media to promote your event and reach your potential target audience.

    Promote your event on websites as well as ask your sponsors and speakers to do word-of-mouth marketing as they have a huge fan base.

  • DO A TEST RUN

    Do not forget the majority of attendees are attending an event virtually. Before the actual day of an event, do a dry test run to check out for any technical glitches. If there are any, fix it you are still left with time to find a solution or think of plan B.

  • OPEN REGISTRATIONS

    Open event registrations for attendees in advance. It will help in reducing the load on the server during the actual D-day registrations.

  • SEND NOTIFICATIONS

    Send push notifications to registered people about the event date, timing, or any relevant update or change.

  • SHARE EVENT INFORMATION

    It is recommended to share important information regarding events with attendees present during the event.

    You can share information like speakers at the event, agenda of the event, navigation guide, and more.

    It will help in making the user journey easy and seamless.

  • INTERACT AND ENGAGE WITH ATTENDEES

    The event success relatively depends upon your event experiences. You need to deliver immersive event experiences to attendees to keep them hooked.

    You can opt to organise live polls, surveys, and Q&A sessions to gain your attendee insight and keep them engaged throughout.

    Additionally, you can gamify the entire event by offering exciting games like spin the wheel, crossword, puzzles, trivia, and more to keep your virtual attendees engaged during the hybrid event.

    Organise small activities for in-person attendees as well. Ask your speaker to interact with in-person attendees as well. A hybrid event consists of two sets of attendees.

    You can even opt to integrate the leaderboard challenge and ask your attendees to navigate each aspect of your event. Offer your attendees points that can be redeemed later.

  • OFFER OPPORTUNITIES TO CONNECT AND NETWORK

    Apart from offering engagement opportunities allow your attendees to connect and network freely with speakers, hosts, exhibitors, sponsors as well as other attendees.

    You can offer various networking features during events to boost networking such as networking lounges, virtual networking tables, AI-Matchmaking, business card exchange, 2-way interaction, 1:1 and group chats, and so on.

  • BREAKOUT SESSIONS DURING EVENT

    Offer breaks if you planned out an event with many sessions. It will help attendees to get relaxed. However, saving attendees from exhaustion.

    Have breakout sessions to give your attendees a breathing space and time to recollect previous sessions and get all ready for the upcoming session.

  • GATHER ATTENDEE FEEDBACK

    Collect feedback from both the set of attendees before they leave the event. Ask them to fill in the push feedback form displayed on their devices.

    It will help you in understanding your audience and their preferences in a better way. Additionally, it will help you in determining your event impact and the areas you need to work on for future events.

  • SHARE EVENT VIDEOS AND PHOTOS ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILE

    Posting the videos and photos of your event on social media helps you determine your event success. Additionally, it even reaches more audiences who were not part of the event but would like to attend the next event after seeing event glimpses.

    Now, let’s have a look at some of the most promising engagement features to deliver immersive event experiences to attendees.

6. HOW TO KEEP YOUR ATTENDEES ENGAGED WITH YOUR HYBRID EVENT?

  • To engage both the set of attendees, you must ensure that your content is captivating and engaging. It should grab the attendee’s attention instantly.

    Your content should be up to the mark.

    You must have a brilliant production quality as the majority of attendees are virtually attending it.

    They should experience the live stream of your video in full HD quality.

    Remember, no one likes a buffering video or a poor video quality.

    Organise Live Polls on relevant topics to engage attendees instantly and gain their opinions on relevant topics.

    Conduct Live surveys two keep your attendees engaged with the event and know their opinions and preferences.

    Organising Q&A sessions is another effective way to engage attendees effortlessly. It allows attendees to clear their queries and remain hooked in the event throughout.

    Gamifying the event is one of the most effective ways to keep attendees interested and engaged in the event. Offer your attendees a chance to play games during events. You can incorporate games like spin the wheel, shooting games, crossword, and more.

    Additionally, you can organise a leaderboard challenge for your event. It will help in motivating attendees to navigate all the aspects of the event in the lure of scoring more points. However, resulting in keeping them engaged throughout.

    Having photo booths at an event is always fun. Integrate photo booths in your hybrid event to engage attendees effortlessly. Allow them to get clicked with branded photo booths instantly.

    There are many other features that you can embed in your hybrid event to keep attendees engaged. Social walls, emoticon integration, etc, are some of them.

    Additionally, you enable the signature wall in the event. It allows attendees to leave a note while leaving the event. You can also offer a Digital certificate to attendees who attended the whole event.

    You can integrate social media profiles with your hybrid event platform. Additionally, you can run a contest on social profiles surrounding your event to create excitement among attendees.

    Deciding upon your session length is a significant aspect. The virtual attendees are likely to get distracted watching long sessions on screen. Trim the length of your sessions to keep attendees engaged. Ensure your sessions are not elongated as it will result in dropping out attendees.

7. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS