Hosting a hybrid event can boost physical attendance and promote your brand and content to a wider and broader audience.
Running a hybrid event on third-party software might prove to be difficult. However, with the right event planning software, an event planner can stay highly organized, streamline all of the content through one platform, and collect lead and analytics data along the way.
The bottom line is that event planning software can make your hybrid event more successful. Here’s how:
1. Streamline Everything Through the Event Planning Software
A high-quality event planning software is often fitted with a number of features that are integral to running an event either as an in-person event or online as a hybrid conference or virtual meeting, for example.
From event ticketing to marketing, an event planning software allows an event organizer to see all of their tools in one cohesive place. By having the option to streamline event planning and event facilitation, event planners experience less stress and are better equipped to provide services for each remote attendee as well as the event hosts.
Finding the right event planning software can be difficult; as an event planner, your virtual event platform should consolidate everything that you might need to plan and host a technologically supported physical event.
2. Automated event planning and hosting
While hosting an event is about connecting with others and sharing ideas, there are aspects of planning and hosting that can be automated on the backend. Think of admin tasks and data entry. By automating these tasks, event planners can be more dedicated to what’s important – making sure that each participant is engaged and reaping the benefits of the conference – instead of figuring out analytics, sorting attendee data, or smoothing out technical difficulties.
Automation features may come in handy at a physical event, especially when it comes to ticketing and registration. But, a hybrid event will need more automation and tech features to support the online segments.
Event planning software might automate the following:
- Event ticketing / event registration
- Event design and setup
- Event marketing and promotion
- Agenda builder
- Scheduling each live session
- Ticket scanner and check-in
- Event app integration
While some user input is required to set up the features, event management software will be able to take in that data, present it in discernable ways, integrate that data into other programs (such as CRM software), and provide automated alerts.
3. Facilitate attendee engagement
The online audience for your hybrid event might feel less engaged than the physical audience. This is not the fault of your event or your planning but rather the limitations that come with all hybrid meetings or digital events like a virtual conference.
One of the biggest challenges for any event manager in achieving a successful virtual or hybrid event is audience engagement, especially with the virtual audience. After all, it’s far easier to walk away from the computer to get a snack or do just about anything else when you aren’t sitting in a crowded conference room or exhibit hall.
However, with event management software, event organizers, presenters, and keynote speakers can actively engage the virtual attendee in real-time and increase the likelihood of a more successful virtual event experience.
A sophisticated virtual event platform will be able to adopt strategies like gamification in order to show your online audience that virtual events are more than just sitting and listening to someone talk. The virtual component should have a moderator or virtual emcee available to pull questions from the live chat feature or poll the online audience while the presenter is speaking.
4. Facilitate globalized networking
One of the biggest draws of attending a corporate event like a business conference or business meeting is the opportunity to network. So with physical events impossible at the moment, the events industry has been forced to get creative.
While it might not feel the same, a hybrid event with a virtual networking portion can be just as successful (if not more successful) at connecting professionals in related fields or with similar interests. Smart AI technology integrated into event planning software like Accelevents is used in order to connect attendees that are matched based on interest and experience. Think of it like a speed dating-style virtual professional networking event!
Meeting future colleagues online is easier with event planning software as data can easily be integrated into the software or a CRM tool, and shared with those who also attend the meeting (if attendees agree to that). Because all of the information gathered can be sent to each attendee’s inbox, attendees no longer have to worry about losing that important business card or not being present in person.
5. Seamless Transition From Physical to Hybrid Event or Virtual Event
This age of COVID-19 has forced meeting professionals (and everyone else in the world) to social distance, shelter in place, or even self-quarantine. Therefore, many of the physical events that we have come to expect are being forced into the virtual format.
While ultimately transitioning your physical event to a hybrid one or a completely virtual one might seem altogether daunting or impossible, a sophisticated event planning software platform can make this happen and rather effortlessly.
A sophisticated hybrid event platform like Accelevents, which has all the intelligent features necessary for hosting a physical event, is also equipped with virtual event technology.
6. Integrated virtual event management software for malleability and scalability
Event planning software gives you options. A platform with the right features can help you manage ticketing, registration, event promotion and marketing, attendee check-in, and provide powerful analytical insights.
But, because a hybrid event can reach a very large online audience, you will want your event to be flexible and scalable.
Look for a sophisticated event planning platform that includes the following features:
- Integrated live streaming
- Professional networking based on AI
- 24/7 live customer support
- And integrated branding support
This means that no matter what type of event you wish to hold in the future, your event planning software will be malleable alongside your plans and adapt to your growing audience.
7. Clear Analytics for Tracking Audience Funnels, Lead Retrieval and Conversion, and ROI Measurement
Because a hybrid event will be showcasing your content to both an in-person, physical audience and a virtual one, it becomes even more complex in how you track, report on, and manage audience analytics.
Even with a hybrid event, you want to be able to identify how your attendees found the event, see who actually showed up, track booths and sessions that they were interested in, and capitalize on sponsorships. In this way, a hybrid event combines the best of both worlds and allows you insight into all of these key metrics.
In particular, event planning software will be able to track lead funnels, audience metrics, support lead conversion for those exhibitors or session presenters, and capitalize on sponsorships. Add in your CRM platform so that all attendees are categorized as leads and established as a buyer persona or goal direction.
8. Better content management
As more and more events and brands move to an online environment, it is becoming imperative that businesses and vendors adapt to this layout. This means that content that was previously only available in person is also expected to be available online or in some digital capacity.
An event planning software can get this set up for you, so content delivery is integrated as part of the live event, seamlessly uploaded to an online library (while being live-streamed), and saved for later use. This content can then be used for backlog or tiered access resources in a brand’s content library. They can also be repurposed as a webinar in the future.
Note that this content can be promoted to social media following the event, on the event website protected by a paywall, or as a teaser or throwback in future event promotion.
9. Show off smart AI features
By embracing AI and smart technology, you are telling new and veteran audiences that you are looking to the future. Not only will your virtual attendee experience be a positive one, but they will appreciate the ease-of-use which will positively reflect on your event brand or company.
Therefore, event technology will not only make the lives of attendees easier, but they will be impressed, and eager to share this information with others. This technology should be promotable or shareable on the event app and event social media platform.
10. No need to outsource event management
If you are planning to host a hybrid event without using virtual event management software, you might feel alone when it comes to managing the technical aspects. A venue might convince you that you need to hire a media team to provide something as simple as integrated live streaming for live hybrid events.
Instead, powerful event planning software can be managed by a small team of event professionals, and expensive equipment is no longer a requirement.
Be sure to have someone dedicated to managing the software during the hybrid conference, for both the in-person and the virtual portion. You’ll also need support staff around them, IT available on call 24/7, and someone in charge of production. With the right event platform, there is no need to hire an entire event management team to facilitate all of this.
11. Supportive integrations
An event planning software should include useful integrations for managing the event process, including:
- Email marketing software like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and Active Campaign
- Social media platforms (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn)
- Google Analytics
- CRMs like Hubspot, Salesforce, and Pipedrive
- Accounting software like Intuit QuickBooks
- POS or payment processors (i.e., Stripe, Square)
- Automation tools like Zapier
Look for these integrations when exploring planning software options. Choose the one that best suits your needs and offers the best and easiest integrations.
12. Ability to Host Sponsors and Virtual Exhibitor Booths
A physical event might have event sponsors, vendors at an exhibitor booth, and fundraising opportunities. This not only boosts the event’s ROI, but it also encourages a business growth mindset for all attendees.
These opportunities do not disappear with a digital event or hybrid event should. In fact, the digital segments of your event can actually provide increased branding and sponsorship opportunities. Consider all the areas where a sponsorship banner, brand, image, or message can be included, and discuss tiered levels of sponsorship so businesses and brands can choose their commitment.
You can also include lead retrieval, dedicated promotion, and other perks as being a part of the sponsorship team.
Hybrid events give everyone the best of both worlds. They provide an opportunity to meet and share in person, but also the chance to connect with people from around the world. A hybrid event is accessible and can have a relatively high-value proposition. But, essentially hosting two parallel events is not the way to find success.
By fully integrating the physical and virtual elements through event planning software can increase the chances of your event success while increasing attendee satisfaction across the board.