2020; the year COVID thrust the events industry into the digital age, for better or worse. With event planners and organisers around the world getting to grips with best practices and trends for virtual events, there is a new beast on the horizon; The Hybrid Event. So as an event planner, organiser or producer what is the meaning of a hybrid event and how do you successfully run one?
What is a hybrid event
First up, what is a hybrid event?
A hybrid event is a combination of a traditional real world event and a virtual event. You’ll have an audience on site at your event and online on your virtual event platform of choice, such as Intelligo.
How much these audiences interact, if at all!? Is something you as an organiser need to decide for your audience. You may even decide that the best result for you is to have a series of virtual events leading into one exclusively real world event. However, we think there are huge advantages in bringing the two worlds together.
What is the difference between a hybrid event and a virtual event?
You now need to provide content, interaction and networking opportunities for both audiences. This means working out a strategy for each audience and most importantly where they meet.
You could take a simple approach with all audiences viewing the same sessions and providing dedicated networking times and areas for the two audiences to interact. Alternatively, maybe you would like to bring your hybrid audience into the main stage via the “third screen”. Providing a digital link between the real event and the virtual word, highlighting the discussions, polls and even bringing audience members up live for questions at the end of sessions.
Even with the simple approach outlined above, you’re going to need to ensure high quality camera coverage of your sessions and a method of streaming to your platform, please speak to your preferred AV provider or read our article on how to live stream. You may be bemoaning the additional cost here but remember this is your content! It now has a much longer tail than just the people in the room. It’s also worth noting it’s much easier to gather detailed data on the virtual audience engagement, giving you the information you need to improve your event year on year.
How can I run the best hybrid event?
We’re going to be honest here, no one knows!
This is an exciting new space for the events industry. The good news is that the fundamentals are exactly the same, it’s about providing your audience with quality content with opportunities for fun and networking. At their core all events are social so you need to ensure that both audiences are engaged and hopefully with some opportunities for cross over!
As always, approach your event with a great plan, which reflects your audience’s needs and content requirements. Followed up with good marketing and social media engagement. You’ll be on the road to success.
Hybrid Events Are Here To stay
What we can say with certainty is that hybrid events are here to stay and a fast growing sector. We’re truly excited for this new frontier of events. It’s not going to be easy and there will be mistakes along the way. However, We look forward to the best parts of virtual and real world events coming together to create an even better future for the events industry. It’s not going to be easy and there will be mistakes along the way.
Hopefully this article has provided you with the insights you need to start working out how to host a hybrid event.
We’ll be regularly keeping you up to date on hybrid event best practices as they develop! So check back in soon