In light of the current pandemic, the event industry has had its most difficult time of late.
With lockdown restrictions in place in most parts of the world, virtual events have become the lifeblood of the event industry.
Virtual Events provide event organizers with the opportunity to engage their customers, interact with them, & ask for their valuable feedback on certain topics, even while being physically away from them.
And while virtual events have surely become a hit amongst event industry veterans, the need for in-person events still remains.
There is no replacing the interaction & physical warmth that is the trademark of physical events.
Thus, Hybrid Events came to be the savior of event organizers & event professionals alike.
With abilities to engage both virtual & physical, in-person attendees, Hybrid Events combine the best of both worlds & offer a whole new world of networking, engagement, & sponsorship opportunities to event organizers.
With all this in mind, you must be wondering: How to successfully plan & organize a Hybrid Event. In this article, we tell you just how to!
1. Find the Right Venue
This goes without saying. You need to find out the right venue for hosting your hybrid event, as you would for a physical event.
Keep in mind that the venue that you choose should be easily accessible to your attendees, as well as support high-quality live streaming & internet bandwidth needed for the hybrid event.
In accordance with the kind of hybrid event you’re hosting, you should also decide if you need an open, outdoors, or a restricted, indoors event venue.
In both the cases, you’ll need to do the right kind of camera setup to avoid glares or any other lighting defect. You will also need to consider the sound output & ambivalent noise in these venues to minimize their effect & overall impact on the final hybrid event.
Also, you will need to consider the fact that different venues might have different kinds of internet connectivity & support.
Internet connectivity might even differ drastically from one point of the venue to another.
Thus, you should choose a venue that fulfills all of your internet connectivity requirements, is easy to locate for your attendees, as well as provides ample space for your physical, in-person attendees.
2. Select the Right Hybrid Event Platform
Investing in the right hybrid event platform is of utmost importance to hosting a successful hybrid event.
The hybrid event platform you choose should consist of all the features & requirements that you may have for your hybrid event.
The top features to consider will be audience interaction & networking options, immersive 3D environment & experiences, ease of use, customizability, security, & sponsorship opportunities.
Post-event analytics, as well as real-time in-event analytics features are also important to consider for your choice of the right Hybrid Event Platform.
In addition to these, the hybrid event platform of your choice should also support all the other specific features that you might need for your hybrid event.
The choice of the right Hybrid & Virtual Event Platforms will greatly impact the success & overall impact of your Hybrid Event, so make sure that you choose carefully.
3. Curate Enjoyable, Interactive Event Content
Since Hybrid Events entail both virtual as well as physical, in-person attendees, it’s important for you to curate event content that helps engage both of these audiences.
Create content like physical booths, designated networking spaces, interaction lounges, & workshops to help your physical attendees enjoy themselves at the Hybrid Event.
Similarly, you’ll need to create engaging content like live polls, quizzes, interactive Q&A sessions, & immersive 360 degree virtual tours of the venue for your virtual attendees.
This will help keep them engaged & interested throughout the event, & allow them to feel as much involved in the event as their physical, in-person counterparts.
The organizers that win at Hybrid Events are often the ones that design & curate content that is suitable & enjoyable for both virtual & in-person attendees. Hence, it literally pays to remember this.
4. Invest in Next-Gen Experiential Technologies
What is something that both virtual & in-person attendees can thoroughly enjoy at your Hybrid Event?
Making memories & getting creative, fun mementos at your event!
Also, winning games & ranking high on the audience leaderboard!
You should invest in some fun, creative, & innovative experiential technology solutions like AR photobooth, AI-based networking features, VR headsets & gaming zones, & fun selfie mirrors, etc. to keep your physical attendees interested & engaged throughout the event.
You can also make the same available for your virtual attendees by investing in the right hybrid event platforms. They should support AI-powered networking & creative photography features, virtual photo booth features, intelligent virtual-physical VR-based gaming experiences, & other technology-driven entertainment options.
This helps engage both your virtual & in-person attendees & makes your hybrid event successful & highly interactive in nature.
As everyone in the events industry knows & understands, the higher your audience satisfaction rates, the more ROIs & leads you will generate. Whether you’re hosting a virtual, physical, or hybrid event, this fact never changes.
Hence, you will need to design interactive & highly engaging in-event entertainment & experiential technologies for your Hybrid Event.
5. Perform test Runs & Demo Sessions
Wherever there is internet connectivity involved, you must think twice before going live without testing out every part of your event.
This means that you should perform one or two dry runs before the actual event is live. This helps you understand the exact bottlenecks & contingencies you might face in the actual event itself.
When you know the exact problems that you might face when you take the actual event live, you can easily formulate backup plans to deal with those.
You can also decide on an entirely different route of performing some specific functions if some of the bottlenecks are particularly pressing & trying.
This helps ensure that on the actual D-Day, your attendees & exhibitors, sponsors, etc. don’t run into any technical difficulties & unexpected problems.
When faced with technical issues & otherwise avoidable snags, your attendees are likely to be unimpressed with your event.
Furthermore, facing such difficulties at the beginning of the hybrid event itself can significantly lower their chances of staying in the event for the long run.
Pre-event testing largely helps reduce the chances of these technical issues cropping up in the middle of the event by identifying the possible bottlenecks early on.
You can thus easily work on fixing those issues to ensure that your attendees, exhibitors, & sponsors have a smooth, seamless experience at your Hybrid Event.
6. Get an Efficient, Expert Technical Issues Resolution Team in Place
Sometimes, notwithstanding the amount of pre-event testing you perform, technical issues & problems are bound to arise.
In such scenarios, you can benefit from putting together an efficient, expert technical issues resolution team that helps resolve any technical snags & difficulties your attendees might encounter during the event.
Timely resolution & redressal of technical issues is the key to ensuring long-haul customer satisfaction & positive attendee feedback.
When your attendees feel adequately heard & listened to, they are much more likely to engage with your event & thoroughly become involved with it in its entirety.
Hybrid Events are the need of the times today. And as such, if you’re thinking of joining the Hybrid Event bandwagon, you’re thinking in the right direction.
We hope this guide helps you plan & host your next Hybrid Event successfully.
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