Hybrid events are a great way to facilitate overseas attendees or increase the overall capacity of participants. Event production companies have, therefore, used a variety of strategies, creativity, technologies, and overall execution in the past to keep in-person and virtual audience members engaged in their events. The convenience hybrid events offer attendees, and the benefits they have on overall engagement for event holders ensures that they will soon become the new normal. So, this article goes over how to safely organise an in-person and hybrid event.
What Is a Hybrid Event?
Before discussing how to organise a hybrid event, it’s important to be clear on what one is. So, the name comes from being a combination of an in-person and virtual event. Therefore, organisers use specialized online event management software to allow virtual attendees to feel equally a part of the event as the physical participants do. In some cases, hybrid events may have both physical and virtual attendees. However, there may be segments of the event dedicated to only in-person participants and others to virtual ones in others. So, the nature of a hybrid event is not consistent across the board and will significantly vary based on the virtual event production company organising it.
How to Safely Organise an In-Person and Hybrid Event
Here are some important steps to go about safely organising an in-person and hybrid event. Following these simple steps can help make a safe and interesting event.
Research Your Target Audience
The basis of a successful event is to ensure that your audience is thoroughly engaged throughout the event. That is why you, as an event holder, must target attendees that are interested in the event. This step is also crucial from a networking perspective because you can meet the right people that can help open up more professional opportunities.
Once you have an idea of who’s going to attend the event, you can cater it to their interests and plan accordingly. In addition to that, you must try to accommodate users who typically prefer attending events in person or virtually. You could create a poll on a social media platform to learn more about this aspect directly from your target audience.
Create Your Event Schedule
A common trait of hybrid and virtual events is that they’re poorly presented and organised. Thus, attendees have to wait for long times for things to work, there are some issues with the technology, and presenters may not show up on time. Online event management software can counteract those issues by simplifying the overall planning process with detailed features. The rest is up to you to ensure that you stick to the schedule created.
Moreover, hybrid events tend to be shorter than in-person events. This is because holding virtual attendees’ attention for more than an hour or so can become challenging. That is why it’s even crucial that you stick to the schedule to ensure that every part of the event feels entertaining.
Define Your Presenters’ Roles
A well-planned event involves clarifying each presenter’s role. This way, each segment of the event is streamlined and all bits of information are convened sequentially and effectively. For large-scale events, it may help to have two managers that work together but handle the in-person and virtual parts of the event separately. It can become challenging for one person to streamline all parts of the entire event. Also, consider the same for events that stretch longer than one day.
The manager for the in-person part of the event can ensure that all technical considerations are made, catering is handled, and other responsibilities at the event space are tended to. On the other hand, the virtual event production company manager can handle the software that will facilitate virtual attendees, ensure that all communication aspects are considered, and manage other related concerns. As a result, defining the presenters’ roles will be a lot more efficient if it’s managed by two individuals dedicated to different parts of the event.
Prepare the Event Space
Many event production companies aim to change the rather poor reputation hybrid events have by offering well-organised event spaces for in-person and virtual attendees. Therefore, the physical and virtual event spaces should be organised. Moreover, if the event is facilitating both types of attendees simultaneously, then there should be adequate A/V equipment to facilitate a seamless interaction among all people there.
In addition to that, there should be high-quality microphones, cameras, lighting to allow virtual attendees to have a similar viewing experience as physical attendees have. Also, if in-person attendees can interact with other users or certain features, then aim to make similar arrangements for virtual participants.
Also, if you’re organising an event during the current pandemic, make sure that in-person attendees feel safe by enforcing appropriate SOPs. This way, the event will be safe and comfortable for all participants.
Focus on Community-Building at Your Event
An important aspect of making a great hybrid event is to make sure that you offer a safe community-building atmosphere. An event can get boring quickly if there’s communication coming from only one direction. Instead, focus on making it interactive because attendees like it when they can voice their opinions and have them heard by other professionals or other related persons in their social spheres.
While it may be challenging from an organising perspective to allow interaction mid-presentations, you could have separate sessions where users can speak directly to the presenters. In-person attendees can visit a booth, while virtual users can talk via the internet.
Last Few Words
Hybrid events are continuing to grow in popularity, and it’s crucial that more companies consider them. It increases the number of attendees without necessarily increasing the costs and venue size. Moreover, it can be a much safer option during the pandemic in which interaction with more people can be a health risk.
Sarah Hill is a content writer at Seven Events Ltd, a leading event production company offering event planning and venue finding services. She started her career in the events industry almost a decade ago as time progressed she became an avid event blogger sharing her insight on corporate event planning.