The need to meet, network and collaborate is greater than ever, and so too is the demand for hybrid events. As events begin to return to full capacity, it's apparent that the popularity of hybrid events has not waned, with event organisers keen to reap the benefits that hybrid has to offer.
It's clear that hybrid events are the new normal, bringing with them a number of benefits to event organisers including greater reach, cost efficiency and global accessibility. More and more organisers want to hold hybrid events as it expands their reach, with delegates having the ability to tune-in around the world by logging on to the event on their smart phone, computer or laptop.
Holding hybrid events now means delegates who can't attend a multiple day conference will still be able take part. They can do so on the day that they're available, as they aren't limited to only attending as an in-person delegate with a hybrid event. However, with this comes the daunting task of delivering a seamless hybrid experience for delegates, but what does this actually mean?
A hybrid event is an event that is open to both in-person and remote participation, usually set up via live streaming technology on a mobile device, laptop or computer.
Hybrid events allow remote delegates to participate as an in-person delegate. Ultimately, these events empower event organisers with the opportunity to bring global communities together seamlessly. Whilst nothing compares to attending a live event in person, hybrid events are an attractive alternative, providing the opportunity to welcome delegates on a greater scale.
Our in-house team of experts have outlined their top five tips for delivering a world-class hybrid event:
1. Create a dual event plan
Gather your team, allocate roles and responsibilities, and set your aspirations! Virtual and in-person programmes have to be thought of both individually and collectively to ensure effective communication to both audiences is simultaneous. The best way to do this is by integrating both in-person and online audiences.
To integrate both audiences, you will need to keep both engaged, an example of this would be having tasks for online audiences to do when in-person delegates are taking a break or are networking. Alternatively, encouraging audience participation through the use of interactive virtual sessions such as polls and Q&As, which can be accessed by all delegates, will ensure those joining virtually can contribute to the live discussion.
2. Agree on collective KPI's
Having shared goals exponentially increases the success of a hybrid event. Communicate your objectives with suppliers clearly from the start to ensure they make recommendations on how to meet and exceed them.
By doing this you build a network of trusted advisors whose expertise and experience can take hybrid events to the next level.
3. Offer an authentic experience
In today's society, experience and authenticity are paramount and events are no exception. Hybrid events should include local touches so delegates can experience the culture and heritage without compromising on educational or knowledge sharing elements.
For in-person delegates, this could be through hospitality offerings including local food and drinks. For virtual delegates, this could be achieved via technical production, using audio and visual stimulus to momentarily transport them from wherever they are in the world to feeling immersed and present at the hybrid event.
4. Attract a variety of sponsors
Hybrid events opened new streams of sponsorship revenue. You can provide your sponsors with the new broad reach of a virtual sponsorship and the personal touch of face-to-face sponsorship. These new opportunities can be incorporated into existing packages to add additional value or positioned as new packages on their own, allowing additional sponsors to be recruited.
Digital packages can allow sponsors to be high targeted and the rich data gathered by tracking all activities enables campaigns to be dynamic and adapted throughout. It means post-campaign performance reviews can be quantified and, ideal for evaluating return on investment. It's essential to take a hands-on approach when coaching sponsors as this is a new landscape for them.
5. Engage through gamification
To maintain audience engagement throughout sessions, event programmes have to incorporate as much interactivity and gamification as possible. This can include polls, quizzes, raffle draws and Q&A sessions, to more advanced ideas like daily content and overall leader boards that bring in additional functionality, like QR code scanning and gated content.
This shared experience for in-person and virtual attendees will also build a stronger sense of community.
People often ask what is the future for hybrid events? The need to meet face-to-face is greater than ever but hybrid events will remain. We are already seeing a massive uptake over the next three to five years for events which before were just reaching a European market, but they are now reaching a global audience. This is the beauty of Hybrid events!
Dave Young, Head of Production
Belfast is fast emerging as one of the UK's hottest tech hubs with state-of-the-art hybrid venues such as ICC Belfast, home to the biggest HD LED wall in Northern Ireland and equipped with BirdDog cameras and Glisser technology in every meeting space.
Our hybrid-by-design venue can be tailored to your specific needs as you organise your event, and our expert and friendly team are always on-hand to help.
If you would like to find out more or want to discuss your next hybrid event, feel free to email us or connect with our Head of Production Dave Young on LinkedIn.