With the coming of the new decade, the world faced something that none of us could have seen coming – a global pandemic. With this was born the new world with a whole new set of challenges that businesses across the globe had to find ways to deal with and survive in. The event industry experienced massive losses as all upcoming events were cancelled, and any prospect of future events was questionionable.
As the situation has since improved, but is yet to go back to old ways any time soon, the new normal has to be navigated swiftly and surely. As the saying goes ‘you can’t use an old map to explore the new world’. So, the event industry had to transform, and thus Hybrid events came into being. Hybrid events are the perfect combination of online and in-person events, combining the best attributes of both event formats, and enjoying the benefits of both types of event formats.
Other than being a much safer alternative to in-person events, hybrid events offer a plethora of benefits which have made it an important marketing tool for businesses and industries worldwide. It allows for a much larger audience thus resulting in higher returns, provides a great medium for branding, attracts bigger sponsorship opportunities, allows for a much more detailed collection of data from attendees and all of this happens to be much more cost effective than an in-person event. It is safe to say that Hybrid events are the future of this industry, even when the situation starts to go back to normal.
Now that you know why a hybrid event is the right choice for your business, here are 8 rules to follow while planning your hybrid event which will guarantee that it is a success.
1. Define a clear agenda catering to your audience
Before starting to plan any event, you must answer the following question- What is the purpose of your event? In other words this means, what should the audience take away from the event and what are you hoping to achieve from it. Once you are able to determine this, make sure to incorporate it into every aspect of your event. The various elements and variables of your event should contribute to this single agenda that is clearly determined beforehand.
2. Ensure that the event is a single production, with an offline & online component
A Hybrid event offers twice the benefits as it has the elements of both an online and an in-person event. But, this also means that as an event organiser you have to design a seamless event experience for both – your online and offline audience. Ensure that this is done in a cohesive manner and there is no point where one audience is disconnected from the event. Meticulous planning and an attention to detail should guarantee the smooth running of the entire event.
3. Deliver interesting and engaging content which appeals to the audience
As people in the communication industry, we have heard time and time again that ‘Content is King’ and this stands especially true in this case. The content that your event speakers and experts deliver must be interesting to the audience, catered to their needs and meet the objectives they have for this event. Most importantly, it must keep both the online and the offline audience captivated throughout.
4. Engage both the Offline as well as the Online audiences via an app/platform
No event can be a success if there is only unidirectional communication. A clear sign that your audience is enjoying the event is to see how engaged they are throughout. For your in-person audience, you may have a trivia session between two speaker events, or a scavenger hunt experience; however, make sure that you also prepare engagement sessions for your online audience on the virtual event platform, which can also be extended to the in-person audience through the app of the virtual platform on which the event is being live streamed.
5. Choose the right platform to host your hybrid event
The one element that will tie your entire event together and ensure that it runs smoothly is choosing the right Hybrid event platform. Although there are various platforms out there, you must choose one which offers all the features that you need for your event specifically. We suggest new-age hybrid event platforms like Nunify, SpotMe or Aventri.
6. Create opportunities for your attendees to network
Another very important aspect of any event is networking. Many like-minded people can come across one another and your event can act as the meeting ground for individuals with similar interests to come together. In case of in-person events, there is always time before, after and in-between sessions to mingle with one another. Make sure to set up breakout rooms, an attendee lounge, or even 1:1 personal meeting rooms for your virtual attendees so that they can connect with each other.
7. Provide reading materials and gift bags to both your audiences
Something that all attendees look forward to while attending an event is the gift bags that they receive at the end. For the in-person attendees, you can easily provide a folder with all necessary reading materials before the event starts and the gift bags with merchandise and tokens at the end. But, do not forget to offer the same to your online audience. With Hybrid event platforms like Nunify, you can provide a ‘Virtual Briefcase’ to your online attendees containing all the information and reading materials in one place before the event. Do also make sure to send them gift bags via post, so that it reaches them before the event is underway.
8. Hope for the best but always prepare for the worst
Any person in event management can tell you that there is always something that can and most likely, will go wrong. In the case of Hybrid events, this can happen on two mediums- online and in person. This is why you must give extra attention to detail and ensure that you are prepared for any situation or challenge that may arise. Technical faults are always a possibility one should be prepared for. In case the live streaming is disrupted or the audio cuts off for more than a minute, you have to think on your feet. To plan for such a situation, make sure you have some pre-recorded videos to play for your online attendees, to ensure that their event experience is not terribly impacted by the technical glitch.
Now that you have the rules and the tools to make the perfect Hybrid event, all you have to do is start planning it. Join the greats of the event industry by transforming yourself to meet the needs of your business- today and tomorrow.