In the new coming age, hosting events have become a whirlwind of its own. From planning live events to having to host virtual events because of the new world, it became a huge learning experience for us all. Now in the new times, we have to adapt to the changes and have our events adapt as well. We know one thing and that is hybrid events are coming in hot and are becoming highly popular.
What is a Hybrid Event
Virtual events with a live component are known as hybrid events. Live events with a virtual component were planned for pre-pandemic hybrid events. Hybrid events should be set up as virtual events initially, with a live component if the situation permits. From a technological and staffing standpoint, hybrid events should be put up as virtual events. You should design your content and other event deliverables with an online audience in mind. Event planners should think about what digital elements would need to be introduced to the live component of the event early on to make bringing the two groups together easier. That is the secret to success. A hybrid event is only worthwhile if it generates engagement; otherwise, it's no different than viewing a Ted Talk in your pajamas at home.
One platform on the market that is best for hybrid events is Kwivrr. Kwivrr is an easy-to-use event registration platform that is cheaper than others on the market and highly intuitive. Some of the key features of Kwivrr is:
- Unlimited events (in person and streaming)
- Can stream using Kwivrr's streaming platform or use other streaming platforms like Youtube, Vimeo, Resi
- Free to get started
- Really attractive service fees
- Unlimited ticket types
- Guests can transfer tickets to friends
- Real-time analytics for ticket sales, extra perks, and check-ins
- Built-in email communication (both automated and targeted)
When to do a Hybrid vs. Virtual Event
Because of the current conditions, we'll leave live events out of this discussion, but we'll return to it when it's safe to let our minds stray into the future. Because of vaccines, virtual events with live components may be possible sooner rather than later. So, how do you choose between the two? Here's how:
Pick hybrid if:
● You can host a live component safely
● If the event and its content can handle well to a live audience
● If the people that are attending stated that they are interested in attending the live component.
Pick virtual if:
● If there are doubts that you can’t make the lice component safe
● Your content translates best across a video
● Your event has a small budget that you are working with
Benefits of Hybrid Events
Even before the pandemic, hybrid events were gaining traction due to their potential to reach a larger audience, increase event ROI, and deliver crucial data points that live events couldn't provide.
Wider Audience: For many guests, having a virtual component removes financial constraints and scheduling issues. With the virtual component, hybrid events will not only captivate your primary audience but also your secondary and tertiary audiences. This means that people who would not have registered for the live event owing to the time commitment will be more interested in "testing out" the virtual component of your event. Kwiverr is great to use for this as well because you can stream to different platforms such as Youtube and Resi and reach a huge audience of people just from your device.
Improved ROI: Increased attendance translates to more tickets sold and a higher total return on investment for the event. By utilizing the recorded keynote speakers and sessions for promotional content, the virtual component may help to reduce future marketing costs.
Crucial Data Points: The internet is always monitoring, and virtual events are no exception. What we're trying to convey is that because the virtual component is online, everything is tracked. When it comes to arranging your next hybrid event, this information is critical. The Kwiverr app has real-time analytics that you can keep track of so you can see how ticket sales are going, extra perks, and check-ins all in one app.
15 Tips for a Successful Hybrid Event in 2021
Negotiate vendor contracts and downsize
Market your event to your secondary and tertiary audiences
Create custom registration paths for hybrid vs. virtual attendees
Safety is the number one priority for the live component
Sell virtual-first engaging content
Do not sell a live ticket
Hybrid events should be all about the simulive
Offer your content on-demand but only for a limited time
Offer your content on-demand for longer engagement
Sponsors are key
Make sure that your event management software favors your sponsors
Bring together virtual and live attendees with networking at hybrid events
Have an onsite MC dedicated exclusively to your virtual attendees
Send out surveys before, during, and after the hybrid event
Make a Doomsday plan
1. Negotiate vendor contracts and downsize
Okay, so this advice isn't that enticing, but it is extremely useful. Because hybrid events include a live component, you'll need to find vendors, who must typically be canceled months in advance in order to receive any refund. As a result, it's time to start bargaining for longer cancellation windows and reduced cancellation penalties. But let's take a moment to remind ourselves that we're all in this together and that we're not trying to take advantage of anyone. Make an arrangement that is both advantageous and equitable. Even if you cancel two weeks in advance, you may receive a refund of up to 25% of your deposit. It's also a good idea to think about shrinking the venue. This will save money while also accounting for lower live component turnouts.
2. Market your event to your secondary and tertiary audiences
One of the advantages of a hybrid event is that it attracts a larger audience. You're probably already familiar with your primary, core audience and know how to market to them. For your secondary and tertiary consumers, you'll want to consider tailored marketing communications. Yes, you'll have to dig through some data and create a persona, but we promise it'll be worth it in the end.
3. Create custom registration paths for hybrid vs. virtual attendees
Customization is one of the most effective ways to make an attendee feel special. Separate the two registration processes and tailor them for the different sorts of attendees: virtual vs. hybrid.
4. Safety is the number one priority for the live component
This should be self-evident, but we'll go ahead and say it anyway. If you don't ensure that your attendees are safe, your live component will be a complete failure. Don't wait till they arrive to find out. In your marketing communications, reassure customers that you're taking all the necessary steps, such as masks, sanitization stations, event cleaning, social distance, and people on hand to help enforce these rules.
5. Sell virtual-first engaging content
Make sure you plan material that you know will be engaging for a virtual audience, then tweak it to make it engaging for a live audience as well. Different session lengths, pre-recorded sessions vs. live streaming, and live polls or Q&A might all be examples. Although much of the information will be similar, this does not mean that all content for virtual and real participants should be the same. A streamed interactive networking session is not appealing to virtual guests. Instead, virtual guests could be directed to their own small breakout session or to a virtual-only interview or panel discussion with thought leaders. With the custom registration paths you've created, this will go off without a hitch.
6. Do not sell a live ticket
You may have noticed that we used the terms virtual vs. hybrid. This is not a live event. Don't sell a ticket that can only be purchased in person (at least for now). One thing we can be certain of is that nothing is certain. You just don't know if the live component will have to be canceled, if the attendance will no longer feel comfortable attending, or if they will become ill. A hybrid ticket allows attendees to choose whether or not to attend the live portion of the event but ensures that they will receive the information anyway.
7. Hybrid events should be all about the simulive
Simulive means having a pre-recorded session for both virtual and live audiences and then having the speaker(s) online throughout the recording to answer questions via chat. After the presentation, the speaker(s) might conduct a live Q&A session to get more in-depth comments. If a virtual audience member arrives late, the session will not begin at the beginning. It'll be like arriving late to a live session, but the attendee will be able to follow along with the chat in real-time.
8. Offer your content on-demand but only for a limited time
If you make your event sessions available on demand for several months after the event, the buzz will die. Offering it for a limited period of time, whether it's 1-2 weeks or a month, allows participants to consume the content they want while not completely ignoring it. Limited availability, a.k.a. scarcity, generates excitement and prompts immediate action.
9. Offer your content on-demand for longer engagement
On-demand material gives you the best of both worlds: you're assisting virtual attendees, and sponsors, and, most importantly, your brand/event stays top-of-mind for longer. Anyone from anywhere in the world can participate in the virtual portion of the event, which means there is a significant time zone difference. On-demand content allows guests from all over the world to access information at their leisure. It's beneficial for virtual attendees in general since, if the session days are long, the majority of them will not be able to stay in front of their computer for 10 hours straight viewing sessions. They can take breaks and not miss any of the content because it is available on demand. It's also good for the sponsors and your company's image. The more time people have to view it, the better.
10. Sponsors are key
That isn't a hint, but the sponsor section isn't a one-liner either. Sponsors are interested in hybrid events. Because hybrid events attract a significantly wider audience, your sponsors will benefit from double the exposure. It also opens up new avenues for increasing brand recognition and generating leads. The more value you can provide your sponsors, the more money they'll give you.
11. Make sure that your event management software favors your sponsors
Ascertain that your program allows attendees to easily organize meetings with sponsors or "drop by" the virtual booth. Showing your sponsors how simple it is to use virtual booths can make them feel better and increase their enthusiasm for the event. It's also worth noting that your event software should enable you to create a luscious, personalized sponsor page. Attendees will remain longer if the sponsor page is unique and well-designed.
12. Bring together virtual and live attendees with networking at hybrid events
Aside from the substance, one of the main reasons people attend events is to network, and hybrid events are no exception. Bringing virtual and actual attendees together is the key to hybrid events. Hint Hint: The Kwiverr app is perfect for this.
13. Have an onsite MC dedicated exclusively to your virtual attendees
Why shouldn't your virtual attendees have someone guiding them through their day as your live component attendees do? Imagine having a live emcee on your virtual portal who can talk about what's coming up next as well as what's going on in the live component. You'll feel as if you're right there with them! The emcee can speak to the virtual guests about their experience, draw attention to certain sessions or networking opportunities, and urge them to visit the virtual sponsor booth. This allows virtual guests to get the most out of their experience while also providing some comedic relief if you select a skilled emcee.
14. Send out surveys before, during, and after the hybrid event
There are a lot of uncertainties with the world in a pandemic and parents figuring out how to work from home while homeschooling their kids. Attending an event should not contribute to a person's stress level. Sending out a pre-event survey to find out what questions or concerns guests have might help you answer those questions before the event begins. You and your attendees will be less stressed if you do a pre-event poll. Short surveys sent out during the event can help you gain rapid feedback on what's working and what needs to be changed (if the event is multiple days, you might even be able to make a quick fix). These questionnaires could be used after a broadcast or simulated session, for example, when attendees are thinking about their input, both positive and negative. The most important after-event questionnaires will provide overall feedback for the entire event. This information is critical for planning future events and keeping your attendees satisfied.
15. Make a Doomsday plan
Consider everything that could possibly go wrong and devise a strategy for dealing with it. Is it true that the entire virtual platform has gone down?! Maintain your composure and stick to your checklist. Do you have to turn off the live part?! Take a deep breath, go over your checklist, and send your prewritten email. Having a plan in place for when things go wrong reduces overall stress. And if you're very lucky, you'll have the help of Swoogo's customer service team.
We've given you a lot to think about while planning a hybrid event, but no event is perfect the first time. There are many things that make hybrid events different and perfect to use. We also gave you the best tips and tricks for a successful hybrid event so you can have the best one out there. Go out there and plan the finest possible event, then learn from it. Also, make sure that you check out the Kwiverr app and save yourself some time and money today by getting the best event registration platform on the market today.