What is a Hybrid Event and How Do You Organize it?

Recently, virtual hybrid events became immensely popular with the change in dynamics in 2020. With the unforeseen advent of the coronavirus global pandemic, restrictions have been imposed on travelling and social gatherings. However, it resulted in cancelling live physical events planned up for the entire year & beyond. Nations have been under lockdown scenarios for months to fight against the deadly virus. Virtual events came as a savior and prevented many businesses from dipping down. Organisations and businesses around the world leveraged virtual event technology to keep going in the time of global crisis. In the past few months, a sudden spike in the percentage of virtual events has been noted. But over time, marketers and event planners have realised that face-to-face interactions hold their own worth. It will always be part of robust event program management. Here, a different event format came into play known as hybrid events. 

As lockdown scenarios started uplifting, hybrid events started gaining its pace. It evoked the interest of organizers and markets and engaged ample attendees seamlessly. The flexibility of the event format enables attendees to attend the event either in-person or virtually from their remote locations. The perks offered by virtual hybrid events are far beyond the reach of traditional events. Organizations around the world leveraged hybrid events to connect with attendees seamlessly. 

With time, hybrid events became immensely popular and are here to stay for long. The number of increasing hybrid events platforms that offer engaging hybrid events solutions answers it all. Today, the internet is piled up with a wide range of platforms that enables you to organize hybrid virtual events. Leveraging the right technology is a must to ensure a successful hybrid event. Selecting the right hybrid event platform depends on the needs & requirements of the business.

What is a Hybrid Event?

A hybrid event is defined as an on-ground event paired with a virtual component. It is organized at an on-site location and is paired with a hybrid virtual event platform service provider. The hybrid event enables attendees to attend an event either in-person by visiting the venue or virtually via any device. The flexibility offered by the hybrid virtual events allows attendees to access the event remotely from wherever they are at their own convenience. Hybrid events bring the best of both the event world together under the same roof i.e. virtual events and in-person events. The perks offered by hybrid events are nearly impossible to achieve with live physical events. The enormous benefits offered by the hybrid event format helps in motivating marketers and event planners to leverage the same.

Wider reach, increased attendance, better engagements, maximized ROI, reduction in expenses and carbon footprints are some sure-shot benefits. The possibilities offered by the hybrid event format are endless.

Indefinitely, hybrid events are here to stay and are the future of the event industry. Even after the world recovers from the pandemic, people will remain suspicious of being part of large gatherings for some time. Many organizations are benefiting from hybrid events solutions even before the world was not aware of COVID-19. With the impact of the global pandemic and after the uplift from lockdowns, hosting hybrid events have become the new normal. By coming towards the end of 2020, hybrid events, conferences, and meetings have gained immense popularity with time. To ensure a successful hybrid event right planning, strategy, and leveraging the right technology is a must. 

Steps to organize virtual hybrid events

1. Determine the purpose of organizing a virtual hybrid event

To ensure a successful event, determining the purpose of hosting one should be clear. Be it a live physical event, virtual event, or a hybrid event, the first step in line is to determine the purpose and outline the goals. Whether you are organizing a hybrid event to maximize reach? Generate better business leads? Showcase offerings? Improvise ROI? and so on. The sole purpose of organizing hybrid events should be clear in the mind of the presenter. 

2. Identify the various locations you need to connect

Hybrid events offer the flexibility to attendees to access the event virtually via any device from multiple locations. It also enables key speakers to deliver the speech virtually without having to visit the event venue. Before moving ahead, have a word with key speakers and finalise them for the event. Ask them whether they are willing to join you in-person or deliver the speech from their remote locations virtually. Identify the various locations your key speakers are located in to connect them seamlessly with your hybrid event. 

3. Book a venue and pair with the right hybrid event platform service provider

Once you decide to organize a hybrid virtual event you need to book an on-site venue that can hold a few attendees. Apart from it, pairing with the right technology is a must to deliver immersive experiences to virtual attendees. Look for a hybrid event platform that offers engaging and interactive hybrid event solutions. With hybrid events, you need to engage both the attendees at the same time virtual and in-person. Engaging in-person attendees is not a daunting task as they are surrounded by other attendees. Introduce live polls, surveys, Q&A, games, contests, quizzes, and so on to engage virtual attendees. Select a platform that enables two-way communications. The live chat functionality offered by the platform enables virtual attendees to have a conversation via live audio/video chats.

4. Keep the content short and engaging

Attending an event via a screen is not as stimulating as in-person events. Looking at the screen for long hours is nearly impossible, thus resulting in falling attendees amid sessions. Ensure that your presentations are not too long and ask your keynote speakers to keep the speech short. Elongated talks will bore virtual attendees, and they will switch off the devices as soon as they tuned in. Keep the content short and engaging to hold your virtual attendees throughout the event. Break the content into small parts to ensure maximum engagements. 

5. Have a dry run test

Before the actual event, experience the hybrid event yourself. Ask your hybrid event platform service provider for a dry run. It helps you to analyze any impediments to work upon, check networking issues, look upon how engaging features are working, and experience the look and feel of your hybrid event. If you find out any technical issues, you are still left with the time to fix it. 

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