The 2021 Community Industry Report found that virtual events are a critical part of business strategy. Next year, that could change. Communities may have more options than ever for events: virtual, in person, and now hybrid. An industry-wide shift is quickly approaching, and we all want to stay on top if it! Learn what the future of events will look like and consider a hybrid event strategy. In some ways, a hybrid event strategy can give you the best of both worlds!
By definition, a hybrid event includes both in-person and virtual components. With that said, there’s no set formula for how to host a hybrid event.
The basic components of hybrid events are the same as for virtual or in-person events: stages, small groups, 1:1 networking, sponsor booths, and Q&A. The difference with hybrid events is that you can choose how you want to deliver your content to attendees!
Hybrid Event Formats
Here are some hybrid event formats. The individual components of these may be mixed and matched, and you can choose whether you want to deliver each part virtually, or in-person!
Mainstage + virtual communication or broadcast + video on-demand. This is one of the simplest forms of a hybrid event. Host your main event (virtually or in person), connect it to a virtual audience, and record and distribute it on-demand once the event has ended.
Mainstage + small groups or events. Coming out of COVID-19, this may become a popular choice. Have a main event where your event content is being produced. Then, organize small, local groups to gather and connect. This can be a great way to increase engagement while bringing your event to different locations! It’s also extremely scalable if local organizers facilitate your smaller events and small groups. Both the main and/or the smaller events may be delivered virtually, in-person, or both!
Mainstage + virtual components. Once in-person events safely resume, you’ll be able to host your main event in-person, but don’t forget to harness the power of technology! Virtual add-ons can be a huge value add. For example, live stream your event to attendees around the world who can’t attend the in-person event. Use email marketing and give your attendees personalized agendas. Leverage a mobile app to deliver strong online networking opportunities, advantageous sponsorship opportunities, and in-depth attendance analytics.
What are the Advantages of Hybrid?
A global reach. One advantage of virtual events is that your audience is limitless. Similarly, you can reach a wide audience through hybrid by creating an online component, whether it be a live broadcast, on-demand streaming, or something else!
Greater engagement. Hybrid events can include interactive features such as live Q&A and polling. These features can be used to reach both your in-person and online audiences.
Detailed analytics and reporting. Through hosting hybrid events, you can deliver the engagement of an in-person event with the reporting of a virtual event. Track check-ins, session attendance, and more through a hybrid event platform.
Valuable sponsorship opportunities. Sponsors are looking for a larger reach. More attendees means that you can offer greater value to your sponsors. Plus, hybrid increases flexibility with regards to sponsorships– you may want to offer virtual branding opportunities, in-person booths, or both. Lastly, the powerful analytics capabilities of hybrid don’t only impact your business. They are also advantageous to your sponsors!
Perks for your attendees. Hybrid events can give your attendees more flexibility in terms of how they want to attend. Plus, if you’re planning on giving out swag bags, you may choose to distribute them physically or virtually!
Tips for Your Next Hybrid Event
- Make sure you engage both your in-person and virtual audiences.
- It can be easy to lose track of your virtual audience. Don’t forget how to engage them online along with your in-person attendees. Send
- Incorporate live features like polls and Q&A.
- Even if you’re just airing a pre-recorded broadcast to your audience, incorporate live features.
- Offer your content on-demand.
- Many people will want to reference and share your event content once it’s over.
Check out some more tips for how to engage your attendees during virtual conferences and events!