Virtual event formats allow us to use time in a more efficient way, keep us focused on the key takeaways – content and networking, allow a bigger number of individuals to participate one way or another, save costs, give flexibility and generate valuable insights. But what else should we know about organizing successful online and hybrid events?
Preparing for venue visitors is one thing and planning for virtual attendees is completely different. In order to guarantee optimal audience experience, testing is obligatory. This includes the choice of a web streaming portal, virtual speakers’ rehearsals and, in the case of hybrid format, the quality of the internet connectivity, the software tools and hardware equipment that will be used at the event venue. It’s the event organizer’s responsibility to make sure that all – guests and participants, feel comfortable and familiar with the technology.
Interactions between all guests are one of the most important defining characteristics of a virtual event. Otherwise, people will simply be watching a live stream. A virtual/live discussion should be scheduled with a moderator in a virtual conference room so that remote attendees will get to ask their questions. It will be the moderator’s job to make sure that both audiences – live and online in the hybrid case, are on the same page as far as participation is concerned. Other possible alternatives include live streaming via a social media platform, a dedicated hashtag, email question submissions and live chat.
Engagement is the essential ingredient in virtual and hybrid events. The latter require even more dedication as we should apply extra care to ensure both our virtual and live audiences get the most of our event. A hybrid format should offer experience that caters to all audiences in a viewer-friendly way, putting online and live audience on the same level. Virtual events can take a multitude of appearances, depending on company’s event format and audience but hybrid events have one thing in common: they put the audience journey first, for both audiences.
Partner with the Right Team
Technology is important but partnering with professionals is even more crucial. Count on professionals with extensive experience in virtual event planning who are knowledgeable about technologies, interactions, entertainment options and are able to coordinate and host your next virtual event for success.
Benefits of hybrid events
In conclusion, here are some pros to consider why hosting a hybrid event could be worth the extra set up and resources needed:
- Increased reach & attendance – hybrid events allow us to increase reach and gain more attendees, not fewer. With a hybrid event, we lower the barrier to entry for those who want to attend, but can’t, and those who are unsure if the event is worth their time. This increases the reach significantly as we broadcast our event to a larger audience than ever could be possible in person.
- Higher engagement with the audience – adding a virtual element opens up many more engagement opportunities. But we need to start planning our event audience first to ensure which engagement opportunities make the most sense to them.
- Reduced costs – hybrid events can significantly decrease travel costs across the board for everyone involved.
- Content generation – as content is recorded, we can use it for future marketing campaigns and generate new ideas based on audience insights.
- Higher ROI due mainly to the increased reach and scalability. Getting more attendance through hybrid events can result into greater views for sponsors and more sign ups after the event. Secondly, we receive more accurate reporting on the performance. Also, it’s easy to replicate the technology process in consecutive events. A virtual event platform doesn’t require crews for set-up and take-down. Plus, there is also potential to scale down the live event while scaling up the online presence. This allows for reducing onsite costs while still reaching a large audience and boosting our margin.