With new government restrictions in place for social gatherings, there is an even greater need to be innovative, to pivot and to take advantage of the options currently available for events.
We’ve all been to a ‘virtual event’ by now, whether that’s a full-day conference or a smaller ‘gathering’ hosted on Teams/Zoom or one of the other major platforms but what about Hybrid events – What are these? and how can events and marketing professionals harness them for success?
Put simply Hybrid events bring together the ‘live’ and ‘virtual’ elements of an event to create an engaging experience for attendees. What this means is that event organisers get to deliver the same content and use the same speakers but no longer face cost or geographical barriers meaning they can attract a greater audience share.
How does it work in practice?
A hybrid event is likely to be made up of several parts, firstly there are LIVE delegates in attendance, yes actual human beings, socially distanced of course and with all the correct COVID19 safety measures in place. This type of event also has both live speakers, speakers joining virtually via video link and sometimes pre-recorded speakers too and finally the event will be live-streamed meaning the rest of the audience can join in at any time from anywhere in the world.
That’s got to be a lot of work right?
Well, events ARE hard work however you deliver them, with hybrid events, there are some new things to consider and the biggest is technology. It’s imperative that you choose a platform that can handle multiple elements such as delegate registration, interaction and speaker delivery. Great sound is a must, particularly for those joining virtually and live cameras to capture what’s happening in the room are a necessity – with a hybrid event it pays to ‘pay’ the professionals and as such we highly recommend a live stream technician.
You’ll also need to consider how your event will run in order to keep your audience engaged, particularly your virtual audience who are likely to be working from home and will probably dip in and out of the event, shorter sessions, lots of interaction and regular breaks in proceedings are key – these are also a great time to use audience interaction tools like Polls or Q&A to keep your audience engaged.
So, are hybrid events the ‘ new normal’
We’re of the opinion that ‘almost’ nothing beats the live event experience especially at large scale but we’re also part of an industry that thrives on innovation and creating new experiences and with that in mind we think hybrid events are going to become more commonplace.
Just as we have adapted to new ways of working and communicating, businesses are likely to embrace the hybrid event as a way of still meeting ‘face to face’ whilst also engaging a larger share of their target audience and crucially engaging event industry professionals to create that slick event experience we all know and enjoy.