Why Hybrid Events Are Valuable and Here to Stay—Plus Tips and Strategies for Planning
Hybrid events aren’t just the wave of the future — they’re the here and now. Although in-person events have tentatively resumed, it’s safe to say that variety truly is the spice of life, and hybrid events have become a true game-changer in the world of events.
What’s so alluring about hybrid events? Aside from the convenience of joining an event from the comfort of your couch, not everyone is ready to start traveling again. Plus, virtual offerings remove airfare and hotel costs from the equation, opening up the opportunity to attend for more people who previously may have faced financial or geographic barriers—a win-win for event organizers and guests alike.
Taking the plunge into planning hybrid events? Ask yourself these three questions as you get started:
Think global: When you think of hybrid, you should be thinking “reach.” By offering virtual access to an event, expect to see your attendee numbers grow. Whether the event is too far, too expensive, or just too much time away from everyday life, the virtual element allows people who maybe wouldn’t have been able to attend the event to still partake — potentially on a global level. Not to mention, the flexibility of virtual events allows attendees to pick and choose which sessions to attend.
Get more sponsors: Hybrid events help garner more sponsorship opportunities. According to the International Conference Partnership, 72% of corporate sponsors are interested in participating in hybrid events. Why? It’s simple: Greater reach means a bigger audience — not just for you, but also for your sponsors looking to get their brand in front of people. With hybrid events, sponsors aren’t restricted to only in-person activities and sessions; they can brand in virtual and physical event spaces.
Engagement is vital: When creating a hybrid event, engagement for your virtual attendees is just as meaningful as for your in-person attendees, though it might look a little different. The key is finding a tech partner that can integrate live and virtual experiences. All-in-one event platform Accelevents, for instance, offers virtual-to-live networking and gamification. Through the platform, virtual attendees can also access live chats, view trade show booths, and engage with presenters, allowing online attendees to feel a part of the experience.
Network it: One of the primary reasons people attend events is for networking opportunities. Your virtual attendees are no different, which is why it’s also essential to choose an event platform like Accelevents, on which you can create networking opportunities in “rooms” for attendees to meet and share. You can even split one room off into smaller different chats based on theme or areas of interest. Bonus: Accelevents facilitates participation and networking across both physical and virtual sessions.
Make video presentations interactive: Long gone is the era of just streaming content to viewers at home. Remote attendees still want to be immersed in the event. This means dynamic views from multiple angles and, most importantly, a moderator or emcee who can greet attendees, move things along and answer any questions. How can event organizers ensure virtual guests don’t feel left behind? By using a reliable platform, you can ensure you integrate virtual and live through livestream and video uploads and provide interactive opportunities for remote attendees to engage and interact with the content.
Return on investment: Gathering analytics and generating leads has never been easier than it is now — as long as you’re using the right platform that allows for tracking attendees’ interests and behavior. What engaged them, and what didn’t? How did they interact with speakers and fellow attendees? Which sessions did they attend? Because you’re able to cater to more attendees through a hybrid event, you’ll be able also to gather more information to share with your sponsors and presenters. The best kind of ROI? You’ll be able to take what you learned and apply it to your next event.
Social marketing is a must: Pre-event, employ a social media plan to promote your hybrid experience. But remember to keep up the social engagement throughout the event by live-tweeting when sessions are happening, teasing announcements, running polls, and more. And don’t stop marketing when the event is over: Post pictures and video clips from sessions. Hence, your event stays front and center in your attendees’ minds—while hopefully piquing the interest of new would-be attendees for future events.
Practice makes perfect: Do a dry run with your exhibitors and speakers using your event platform software. That way, you can work out any kinks, make sure backgrounds are cohesive if you have virtual speakers and vendors, run tech checks on camera equipment, audio, and lighting, and make sure everyone can navigate the platform so that your guests walk away with a seamless experience.
Looking for more resources to help with producing a hybrid event? Consider these planning tips and strategies from Accelevents:
Accelevents is a leading all-in-one customizable and flexible virtual and hybrid event management platform that redefines the way brands connect with their online and in-person audiences. Attendees can enjoy all of the same session types virtually that they would experience in a live event. Accelevents empowers event organizers and marketing professionals to expand their reach, engage their audience, create an evergreen community, generate leads and provide unforgettable experiences, no matter where attendees are. Request a demo, or try us for free today!
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