A hybrid event helps combine virtual and in-person elements for a cohesive and connected event that can draw many attendees. However, many businesses don’t know when a hybrid event might be best. Understanding the strengths and formats of hybrid events can help your company determine whether they might help optimize your next conference.
When Should You Host a Hybrid Event?
If you ask yourself how to plan a hybrid event, it may first be helpful to understand when to plan a hybrid event. Hybrid events have specific benefits that companies can use in the planning stages, which will help them optimize their goals, sponsorship reach and attendee needs. Check out these reasons for hosting a hybrid event:
1. When You Want to Increase Attendance
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people discovered new methods of connecting with audiences and learning their personal preferences. While many businesses and events have returned to in-person venues, some audiences might find they prefer online accessibility. Hybrid events allow you to connect with both segments.
People turn to virtual connection and hybrid events for several reasons — inability to travel, financial burdens, personal responsibilities or scheduling conflicts and comfort levels. When you offer a virtual option for your event, you can reach people who might have otherwise overlooked your event. They can still engage with the content, and you can benefit from their registration and interactions.
2. When Your Venue Is Small
Access to smaller venues is excellent for creating intimate environments that foster meaningful connections. However, smaller venues can hinder your plans if you want to draw more attention to your event and host larger audiences. Hybrid events allow you to follow venue restrictions and capacities while reaching the desired scope of your audience.
3. When You Want More Sponsorship Opportunities
Hybrid events can be excellent opportunities for sponsors. They can help you attract more sponsors to your events than virtual and in-person options. Because you can reach more people with hybrid events, they become perfect opportunities for sponsors to reach more people. Offering virtual audiences the chance to connect with sponsors can allow your sponsors to expand their brand presence and target audiences they haven’t previously reached.
Hosting a hybrid event also gives your sponsors several ways to connect with audiences. They can speak one-on-one with both in-person and virtual attendees or use virtual options, like chats, direct messages and livestreams.
Sponsors’ budgets frequently change. A hybrid event can give them access to the metrics to show how sponsorships at events are successful and beneficial and will allow them to continue sponsoring events in the future.
4. When You Want to Be More Eco-Friendly
If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, a hybrid event can be a great way to reduce the carbon produced when people have to travel to your event. Commercial travel methods can release significant quantities of carbon into the atmosphere. Hybrid events allow you to cater to attendees who want to watch how much carbon their actions produce. They can participate from their homes instead of traveling long distances.
With a hybrid event, you can still cater food and other goods to your in-person audiences while minimizing waste. When you have limited in-person attendees, you can reduce the food you need. Hybrid events can help you save money compared to larger, entirely in-person events.
5. When You Want to Create Evergreen Content
Hybrid events are great opportunities for companies to make content for when they need consistent, engaging material to share with audiences. Because you will have to record all presentations and speakers for your virtual audiences, it is easy to gather materials you can recycle later. A good hybrid event strategy might involve pulling information and clips from slides, recordings and Q&As.
Depending on your marketing and engagement goals, you can transform your content or repost them in various formats. Visual content like recording clips and pictures make great social media content, while you can use other media types or recordings in email or blog posts.
Hosting a Hybrid Event
When determining how to host a hybrid event, you can implement smart techniques and habits. Understanding what you can do to be successful and appeal to both audiences can create a stronger event. Some tips to consider include:
- Planning thoroughly: It can take around six months to plan and execute a successful virtual or hybrid event. Understanding your deadlines and everything you need to accomplish for your event to run smoothly can help boost success and better prepare you for the day. Think about factors like your event’s purpose, budget and ideal audience early.
- Connecting your audiences: You can help foster meaningful connections and networking by finding ways to have your in-person and virtual attendees interact. Many virtual features like chats, direct messaging and polling can help you engage both groups, but an event application or tool can bring more specified and unique options, like transferring virtual business cards or information.
- Encouraging social media participation: You can maximize your attendee’s participation while creating buzz about what’s happening at your event by encouraging social media activity. Create opportunities for attendees to share their experiences through hashtags, photo walls or custom filters. This activity can help provide you with content to share on your social media platforms while helping connect in-person and virtual attendees online.
Hybrid Event Formats
As you plan your event, you should also consider which types of hybrid events would suit your company and your attendees. Some common formats include:
- Traditional hybrid experience: In this format, your online and in-person attendees will experience the same content simultaneously. You might live stream speakers to your virtual attendees but can also use chats and polls to connect them with in-person audiences and speakers.
- Studio experience: This type requires a very small in-person audience or an entirely online audience viewing in-person speakers. You can create a very intimate and specific atmosphere with this format while connecting audiences with your speakers.
- Watch party experience: This format is the opposite of the studio experience — your audience will be in-person viewing recorded or streamed content from your speakers together. This type is excellent for when you have mainly local interest from attendees but want to expand your options for speakers.
With several types of events to choose from, you can select the format that will help you optimize your event and meet your attendee’s interests.
Plan Hybrid Events With MeetingPlay
Hybrid events can be an excellent option for many companies planning an event and potential attendees looking for a specific experience. Hybrid options allow you to host attendees who want in-person experiences and are available to travel while still making your event accessible to people who prefer or need virtual platforms.
While there are many practices you can implement to optimize your event’s success, investing in the right tools and teams can help ensure your event runs smoothly and seamlessly. At MeetingPlay, we offer customized solutions tailored to your specific event’s needs, helping create high-end and personalized tools for your event. With innovative event services, we can help you create meaningful experiences that connect all your audiences.