While some people thrive in a face-to-face event environment, others are still enjoying the convenience of virtual programs. In order to accommodate all audiences, hybrid events are the way to go!
The problem, however, is that organizing hybrid events can be quite complex, requiring a great deal of planning and forethought. Essentially, you’re planning two separate events that need to be cohesive and well-executed. So, if you are planning to host a hybrid event, here are some of the most important things to consider.
The platform you choose for your event mainly depends on the type of event you plan to organize and your particular goal. It’s also important to consider whether your platform needs to manage registrations. If that is the case, doing it all by yourself can be a massive challenge that requires professional assistance.
Besides the registrations, you must ask yourself whether you want a separate event site or something that will integrate your current website. In most cases, you will need to choose an option that can accommodate your audience, whether large or small.
Another complication that you might face when organizing your hybrid event is deciding whether the content will be interactive. If you plan to move forward with that approach, you will need to take care of things like setting up the camera, mic, and polling questions, which require careful attention to detail. After vetting over 40 virtual/hybrid platforms, Paragon Events understands that each program has different needs, and choosing the right platform can make or break your event.
Remember, hiring professionals for such events is vital because of the following reasons:
- Licensing can be required for using platforms
- Privacy issues related to platforms
- Contracts relating to a compatible AV team and others
- Hybrid events require attention to detail
Networking Opportunities & Connection
People attend events to feel a part of something. When hosting a hybrid event, it is important to plan specific events for virtual attendees. They won’t have the same experience of making small talk while waiting for a session to begin or striking up a conversation with the person they pass in the hallway, so how can you foster meaningful connections?
- Breakout Networking
Divide attendees into smaller breakout rooms so they can network, brainstorm or discuss a common interest. Some virtual platforms allow for more organic networking opportunities by providing a networking lounge where attendees can come and go at their leisure.
- Virtual Activities
Include some fun “brain break” style activities in your virtual agenda. Our team has found trivia and bingo competitions to be really engaging and hands-on activities such as a cocktail class or cooking segment.
- Conversation Starters
Providing a chat space for virtual discussion is essential. After a session, ask attendees for takeaways or what they found most interesting. Display thought-provoking questions related to industry obstacles to get attendees thinking and sharing ideas.
Live social media feeds are a great connector as well! Encourage attendees to post on your preferred platform and use a specific tag or hashtag. Then, display the live feed of posts online and on your event mobile app so everyone can be a part of the conversation whether in-person or online.
Creating engaging, well-thought-out networking opportunities virtually and in real life are at the core of a successful event. Leaning on a reliable expert to bridge the gap between virtual/in-person attendees can keep everyone feeling connected and engaged.
For an event with two types of attendees, you need two separate communication plans, which can be a massive hassle in and of itself without professional event management. You must take care of email communications, conference promotions, push notifications, Know Before You Go’s (KBYG), speaker management and so much more! When managing so many logistics, communication is essential for success – don’t overlook this aspect!
Most events include swag for in-person attendees, but what about your virtual audience? Will you send a curated pre-conference gift box in the mail? Send electronic gift cards or redeemable offers via email? Or are you sending virtual attendees the ingredients needed for their exclusive virtual cooking class? Taking care of the preparation and logistics of providing these items requires a professional touch, which is why it is best to acquire the services of an experienced event management company.
The pre-planning process is only the beginning of hosting a successful hybrid event. Stay tuned for our on-site guide to a smooth and cohesive program. Have questions about your next event? Contact our team of experts. We can’t wait to support you!