The event industry has gone through many peaks and valleys throughout the past two years. As we move further into 2021, much still remains uncertain due to the COVID-19 crisis. One thing is certain, however, hybrid events are here to stay. In fact, according to a poll conducted by the Meeting Professionals International Foundation, nearly two-thirds of respondents said that hybrid events are the future of event hosting.
As cities open back up, in-person engagements will continue to rise, but attendees now expect a virtual component to supplement their experience. This helps them control their exposure to others and adheres to travel restrictions, while still letting them enjoy the unique content you have to offer. But, how do you go about serving the needs of such a diverse, potentially global audience? All you need is to update your overall event design.
With that being said, here’s a few tips on designing a hybrid event for every attendee.
How Do Hybrid Events Work?
With all the hype, you may be wondering how hybrid events actually work. Simply put, they’re a combination of in-person and virtual experiences. Attendees can choose to participate by physically attending the event or they can gain access to the day’s happenings through an online platform. This presents a unique challenge to those in the event industry. As this new approach continues to evolve, producers will have to learn how to craft an event that works well in both capacities. Fortunately, while this tectonic shift seemingly happened overnight, you can take solace in the fact this new approach is still rooted within the familiar elements of event design.
In-Person Event Design
When it comes to hosting the in-person portion of your hybrid event, the core elements of engagement, content development, lead generation and benchmarking still resonate. Make sure to consider the following hybrid event ideas to maximize the live experience.
A considerable number of your attendees may now prefer participating virtually. As such, you may not need to book that large amphitheater or stadium-style venue to fit all your in-person attendees. Not only will it look better with fewer empty seats, but you’ll save money on overhead costs by working with a smaller venue, or even hosting it at your office or other property.
Consider Session Length
Regardless of the type of content you’re pushing, you must now consider the needs of a digital-only audience. Those attending on their laptops will simply not have the same attention span as those who are in the room with a speaker. In other words, shortening the length of your sessions will provide the right balance for engaging both the in-person audience and virtual users.
In-Person Panels Are Still Engaging
At the end of the day, it’s hard to replicate the energy and quality of audience participation of an in-person panel. At the very least, bring your keynote speakers in to give a live presentation where a lot of back and forth is taking place, while still allowing virtual users to participate through live chat, polling and Q&A sessions, for example.
Virtual Event Design
Virtual event design is another challenge you’ll have to deal with. However, there are many tools out there that can help you improve processes and make things easier on you and your team – just look to the following ideas to improve this aspect of the hybrid experience.
Engage Your Virtual Audience
With an in-person audience, there are fewer distractions compared to someone participating from the comfort of their own home. Because of this, you need a new approach in engaging your virtual audience – the trick is to successfully encourage collaboration between these two unique groups. To do so, you can try flanking the stage with screens to display remote users who want to take part in a panel or ask pertinent questions. Other ideas include hiring digital moderators who can relay messages to presenters via a chat function, just as they would in a live setting; building functionality within an app so in-person attendees can connect individually with virtual attendees for networking opportunities; or supplying speakers with their own video chat portal so they can respond to individual or group questions as they arise throughout the day.
On-Demand Event Content
And, don’t forget about those audience members who may want to attend the event at their leisure. With a virtual platform, it’s easy to record the day’s festivities and provide on-demand participation with ease. Make sure to post any recorded content such as presentations, panels and Q&As on your website, social media and other marketing channels to get it in front of those who may not be able to attend on event day.
Make Things Easy With A Hybrid Event Platform
One of the great advantages of taking the hybrid event approach is that much of the work on the virtual side is made easier through the use of a dedicated platform. With a service that provides high-quality live streaming, audience engagement tools like polling and social media integration, and data-backed lead-generation tools, you’ll find it’s much easier to implement a virtual event design than a traditional one. And, with an injection of third-party support, you can rest easy knowing that all issues will be dealt with promptly and effectively.
Do you need help designing the best hybrid event for all of your attendees?
Learn about the benefits of implementing a seamless and stable hybrid event platform from Second Stage. We’re the country’s leader in audience engagement and lead generation, and can help you provide the ultimate hybrid event experience. From live streaming to on-demand capabilities, personalized chat to video conferencing, valuable data insights to reporting automation, and so much more, our experienced production team can help design an unforgettable hybrid experience for all of your attendees.
Let our team show you the advantages of how an advanced platform will make the event execution process a breeze – contact us today to learn more about our solutions.