Hybrid Event Planning: Four Elements Critical to Success

Successful events require more than just execution on the big day. To execute successfully, organizers prepare, plan, and coordinate countless moving pieces. As planners venture into hybrid events, this planning looks a little different, and organizers must plan for both in-person and virtual audiences. 

Hybrid events, which combine components of in-person and virtual events, open events up to a larger audience of individuals who otherwise may not be able to attend. Virtual attendees tune in online, while in-person attendees expect a high touch experience. In planning a hybrid event, you’re planning for two unique audiences. 

While the concept is straightforward, the execution isn’t. Hybrid events require a comprehensive strategy and excellent coordination to provide two audiences with equally immersive experiences. As with any event, the attendee experience is key. 

Here are three of the most important elements to think about when organizing a hybrid event. 

hybrid events

Lead with your goals

Before planning event logistics, event organizers must review the business purposes for their event. An objective-oriented approach is particularly vital when embracing new methods and tactics. Event organizers who detail their objectives will better navigate decision-making and visualize their successes more effectively.

Further, event organizers can minimize uncertainty by communicating their goals to attendees. Given varying levels of technological literacy, event organizers who set expectations with transparent messaging will see smoother deployments. Demystifying the mechanics will help attendees maximize the value of the hybrid event.

Choose engaging technology

Technology is a make or break for hybrid events. These events lean on video conferencing technology to reach remote audiences. And in just a few short months, we’ve seen video conferencing platforms jump into action to connect companies, universities, and other organizations. There are great options for small groups and platforms suited for large conferences. When planning a hybrid event, making choosing the right video technology is key to making sure your remote audience receives content. 

Taking this concept further, organizers should also think about how their audience is interacting with your content and other attendees. While live events have the potential for casual interactions and networking, these interactions must be consciously thought through and planned for hybrid event-goers. 

Here’s where an event app steps in. An event app is a foundational element for hybrid events, as it connects in-person and virtual attendees with one another and your event. An event app provides the engagement that is lacking during many virtual and hybrid events. How? Event apps provide the opportunity for:

  • 1:1 networking through chat and scheduled meetings 
  • Interactive sessions with live Q&A and polling
  • Attendees to engage with event content on their own time
  • Seamless feedback distribution and collection through surveys

Curate content that connects 

The content you deliver is core to any event. And while the technology you choose is key for delivery; your speakers and the content that they present are truly central to the success of a hybrid event. 

Additionally, with all of the distractions that come with working from home, it’s more important than ever that content is impactful. Although your in-person audience will be focused, full-attention is not guaranteed for virtual audiences. Your content should be educational, 

When going virtual, content is created and saved digitally. With this, content created during hybrid events can be repackaged and redelivered year-round. For example, speaking session recordings can be sliced into shorter clips for social media and blog posts throughout the year. With a single event, your content can continue to live on and reach new audiences. 

Provide personalized experiences 

Personalization is quickly becoming more important within the event industry. Because audiences have more choices and distractions than ever, personalization is necessary in hybrid events. 

As technology improves, we have all come to expect certain levels of personalization. And because so many are working from home, attendees can now pop into an event for an hour or a few, without the commitment of attending a multi-day conference. This means you may be reaching a wider audience than before. Make it easy for attendees to find the content that is right for them. 

Technology should enable:

  • Audience segmentation to create personalized experiences 
  • Preset and assigned session schedules
  • Thematic programming tracks 
  • Recommended content sessions based on interest 

We expect to see planners place a higher emphasis on connecting with their attendees as individuals and giving those individuals the ability to personalize their experiences.

As we all get through these unprecedented times, hybrid events will continue to play a role in the events industry. With the right technology, strong event content, and a passion for personalization, your event will check the boxes of the key elements for a successful hybrid event. 

For more on Hybrid Events, visit our Hybrid and Virtual Events Toolkit!