1. Audience quantity with quality
A hybrid event has greater potential to draw a larger number of participants compared to solely in-person or virtual events. Furthermore, your event can attract not only the headcount but also the quality of engagement because participants have the choice to join in either fashion.
Those who attend physically must truly want to be there because they could have attended virtually, and those who attend virtually must also must truly want to attend because circumstances deter them from attending physically.
34% of event organizers say that increased attendance is the most positive result of pivoting to virtual or adding a virtual element to their events (followed by lower overhead costs at 27%).
An impressive headcount from both online and offline audiences adds to the atmosphere. Your on-site attendees can feel a unique form of energy in knowing that thousands are also joining in remotely and vice-versa.
2. Live engagement between those on-site and online
Your hybrid event won’t be truly immersive if you keep your in-person and virtual participants apart. Have them interact with each other live.
While enabling this can be tricky, here are some tips that you can consider.
- Get your offline and online audiences to interact with each other and not only with the presenters and speakers. This can be done during breakout or small group sessions.
- During Q&As, accommodate questions from your online participants as well. Encourage them to type in their questions if they’re uncomfortable reciting it to the entire audience.
- Request on-site exhibitors or sponsors to also engage online participants through some form of a virtual booth. Better yet, as an organizer, prepare a common digital solution that all exhibitors can use and fill with their content.
- Despite this emphasis to get your on-site and online to have an engaging and immersive experience, don’t force all physical elements to have a virtual equivalent. Work with what you have given your logistical resources.
3. A hybrid event platform to rule them all
51.5% of event planners say that the difficulty to match live in-person engagement is the most frustrating thing when it comes to sourcing an events technology platform.
Here are some key qualities to look for in your hybrid event application.
- The right platform can be the singular access point for both in-person and virtual participants.
- Your chosen platform must be able to manage registrations for both of your on-site and online audiences. You can harvest the analytics on your participants to manage the event better and contribute to future marketing campaigns.
- For bigger events with simultaneous programs, the platform must allow your participants to create a personalized program to help them customize and plan their experience.
- The event platform must have engagement tools that allow participants to actively engage the program and each other. Depending on how you design your program, these features could be messaging, polls, quizzes, virtual meeting rooms, virtual business cards, digital expo booths, and so on.
4. Event hangover through on-demand content
There will be participants who will want to revisit specific parts of your hybrid event program.
They might have missed a session because they attended a simultaneous talk. Those participating remotely may have been pulled into a household errand.
There will also be those who missed the entire event and may want to view the highlights. In fact, 13% of those who register for virtual events miss the event but access the on-demand materials.
Assure your participants during the event that you’ll be uploading recordings, transcripts, and highlights. Edit the program into shorter segments. Repurpose some of them for marketing campaigns.
Share your event content through various channels but make sure that the cornerstone videos, texts, and other materials are available in a centralized page.
The excitement over the event will eventually wear off, but maximize its long-tail value to extend the reach and benefits of your hybrid event.
Best of both worlds
In-person and virtual events have their own pros and cons. While you can recreate a traditional event experience in a digital venue, you can certainly do both. Hybrid events maximize the best of both worlds, but only if you capitalize on them.
While transforming a traditional event into a hybrid one can elevate the experience for participants, it can also become more taxing for event professionals. Organizers have certainly had to learn the technology piece of it.
With practices still evolving, there are already resources available that marketers, brands, and event professionals can study to help them make their next (or first) hybrid event an immersive experience.
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