Planning hybrid events can be challenging for event professionals, but are a great way to connect with audiences in different mediums. And now, with more event technologies popping up, including sophisticated features, more event professionals can offer hybrid events for their customers.
Luckily, hybrid events aren’t new, but more event managers should expect to continue using virtual elements and consider implementing more hybrid events in the coming years. Here is what you need to know about hybrid events and 4 ideas for planning your next one.
What are Hybrid Events?
Hybrid events are events that are hosted in both the physical, in-person format and online format. Essentially, an event organizer is being asked to put on two events (one for a live audience and one for a remote audience). This takes some thought and consideration as the needs and expectations of each audience will be different. While the overall target audience demographics may be similar, the event experience differs.
- They can include conferences, training seminars, expos, trade shows, fairs, or product launches.
- Hybrid events are extremely popular because they can be tailored for different audience types: those who prefer or are able to attend in-person events and those who prefer to participate online.
- The event strategy should include sessions that address both audience types. It is not necessary that all content be aimed at meshing the audiences. Always do what will make the most sense for your attendees and make their satisfaction one of your top priorities.
However, a hybrid event is only as successful as the event manager who runs it and the event technology that the manager utilizes.
Benefits of Planning Hybrid Events
While somewhat complicated in how they are hosted, hybrid events are becoming more common. There are many key benefits to running a hybrid event.
- Larger audience opportunities- Without being limited to building capacity at a strictly physical event, you can attract online attendees from all over the world.
- Budget flexibility- With smaller numbers showing up for the onsite event, you can shift some venue and event catering costs towards attracting a big-name speaker or exhibitor.
- Data collection- Any online event allows event marketers and event producers to go above and beyond simple attendance metrics. With the right hybrid event platform, you can track how the virtual participants engaged with the content, where they went while on the platform, and their behaviors on the virtual space. These metrics can work as lead generation tools or increase sales and marketing efforts post-event.
4 Ideas for Hybrid Events
Hosting a top-of-the-line hybrid event can be difficult. Planning hybrid events that scale growth can take time. However, you can host an amazing hybrid event with the right ideas and tools.
To help you out, here are 4 of the best hybrid event ideas from around the world:
1) Ebere Akadiri’s Unique Hybrid Networking
The industry is still debating whether or not live attendees will want to engage with those online. However, the truth is that they might, and having an option to engage with the other attendee types could be exciting and even more fulfilling.
- One hybrid conference hosted by Ebere Akadiri put up a large screen, allowing the onsite attendees to see what the virtual attendees were talking about in the chat. For online attendees, the chat is the new social mingling.
- While attendees cannot chat during a presentation, this new format opens up new networking possibilities, creating more, and possibly deeper engagements with one another.
2) Create Inspiring Product Launches like Apple Launch and Special Events
One company that knows how to put on a good event is Apple. For years, even before COVID-19 forced individuals and businesses to seek refuge online, Apple was hosting hybrid events as a way to garner interest in their upcoming product launches.
Apple’s product launches are well-known and attended by people from all over the world.
With hybrid event technology, the virtual audience who attends Apple’s hybrid event product launch could still enjoy CEO Tim Cook on stage while watching inspiring videos of new Apple products.
3) Host a Free Hybrid Event Like Gainsight Pulse Everywhere
Gainsight’s Pulse Conference inspires thousands of in-person attendees with useful information regarding the “pulse” of the market. The Coronavirus pandemic forced the 2020 version of Pulse Everywhere to change it up into a hybrid event, fit with both onsite and digital participants. The event was free, and it helped boost audience engagement and attendance in such strange times.
Pulse Everywhere was organized with the speakers and critical personnel located in-person at the event venue while attendees tuned in for the proceedings on the internet. This setup allowed the event to be hosted with a large audience while upholding physical distancing restrictions and government laws.
Given the scale of this event, there were undoubted challenges that the crew faced. However, Pulse Everywhere went off without a hitch, and it is one for the books as a high-stakes, large-scale, and FREE hybrid event!
Consider attracting top talent but hosting a free hybrid event to build brand awareness and use audience metrics for long-term ROI.
4) Lean Into Gamification Like GPJ Experience Marketing Suggests
Gamification is a fun technique that can boost engagement at online events and garner statistics about your event-goers. There are several gamification tactics that you can employ.
Head of engagement for GPJ Experience Marketing suggests that playing games create shared goals and challenges and allows people to connect in ways that would be otherwise difficult through hybrid event formats.
At one of their client events, the brand’s corporate symbol is a blimp. Watching the blimp as an in-person audience member is exciting, but not so much for the online attendee. They, therefore, decided to propose two blimps, one controlled by the online audience and the other controlled by the in-person audience, to create some healthy competition.
Gamification will not only spark joy, but it will also create a lasting impression with both audiences.
How to Plan Your Next Hybrid Event
Hybrid events are on the rise, so as an event manager, you can expect more hybrid event opportunities to come your way in the future.
Try employing a little creativity when it comes to hosting your next hybrid event. Because events can be used for growth acceleration, introducing a virtual element can expand the possibilities. You can use the metrics that are collected for lead generation, categorized for audience personas, and allow you to tap into new growth revenues.
Before you begin planning, find a comprehensive event platform like Accelevents. Accelevents can handle:
- ticketing and registration
- networking sessions
- live chat
- live-streaming video
- breakout sessions
- the collection of vital attendee data
- lead capturing
- integration with the CRM and email marketing software of your choice.
Hybrid events are a delicate balance and for a successful event, you will need to provide a valuable experience for both audience segments. With thought, consideration, creativity, and the right platform, you can pull it off with ease!