A Complete Guide To Hybrid Events

Hybrid events are a mixture of both in-person and virtual experiences for attendees (who are both physically present and attending online). A hybrid event is a great way to reach a wider audience, to increase engagement levels and offers greater accessibility. There are different phases of a hybrid event that should be taken into consideration for the host business, and with professional assistance from our team you can plan and execute a hybrid event that meets its targets and reaches the type of audience you are looking for. 

What is a hybrid event?

A hybrid event is an event that combines both in-person attendees and virtual attendees, allowing participants to either attend a conference or event location in person or to log-in online from their office or home location via an online platform. The main purpose of a hybrid event is to engage with a much wider audience than would be possible with an in-person only event. The blend of traditional face-to-face and virtual interactions should be a seamless integration that provides a modern digital experience. 

What are the different types of hybrid events?

Hybrid events can be split into 2 categories: 

Internal hybrid events

These are events and programmes designed to benefit the company hosting in an internal fashion. So, for instance, they are events that include the stakeholders or employees of the company, where it is impossible to get every single person in the same room together physically. Examples of internal hybrid events include:

  • Training workshops
  • Team building events
  • Product launch events
  • Town hall meetings
  • Sales kick-offs
  • Large team meetings
  • Company sprint weeks 

External hybrid events

An external hybrid event is where you are targeting your customers, clients, suppliers, and prospects. An external hybrid event helps to reach a wider target audience, and can take the following formats:

  • Conferences
  • Trade shows
  • Customer conferences
  • Product demonstrations
  • Webinars and seminars
  • Networking events 

What are the benefits of hybrid events?

When choosing whether to plan for a physical event, a virtual event, or a hybrid event, it is best to look at all angles and to work out the major benefits of each. For hybrid events in particular, the following benefits are experienced for those hosting the event.

Increased attendance

This is an obvious one. A physical, in-person event restricts potential attendance figures due to the limited capacity of an event space. For a hybrid event where there is the choice to attend either physically or remotely, there is a greater scope to invite a much larger number of attendees, helpful for those people who have travel constraints or mobility issues that would prevent physical attendance.

Higher engagement

A hybrid event allows for different features that increase engagement, such as live Q&As, polls and surveys during live speakers and events, networking tools and other methods of interaction that are immersive and provide a meaningful connection and experience for both in-person and virtual attendees. 

Environmental benefits

By reducing the requirement for all attendees to be present in person, a hybrid event will have a smaller carbon footprint when compared to a traditional event. Event hosts can contribute to effective environmental and sustainability responsibility, which has a positive impact on brand recognition. 

Better ROI

Hybrid events offer cost savings by providing attendance to both in-person and remote attendees. With a wider digital reach there is no need for a larger physical location, which helps to provide a higher return on investment for the event hosts. This adds value for the organisers, as well as potential sponsors and in gaining a greater number of potential leads. 

What are the challenges of hybrid events?

Understanding the challenges of planning a hybrid event will help you to work out the solutions that are required. Some challenges include: 

Synchronisation

It takes careful planning to ensure that the event schedule and delivery of events come at the same time for both types of audience. Sessions, interactive elements and presentations need to be balanced and well-timed to allow both types of attendees to fully participate. 

Consider different time zones

Depending on the scale of your event, you might have attendees remotely logging in from all over the world. This could have an impact on the times of certain sessions and the availability of content post-sessions for those who are unable to attend at certain times. Finding the right balance to suit all needs is vital to a successful event. 

Ticketing strategies

Think about different tiers of ticketing and pricing to suit the needs of different types of attendees, such as access levels for in-person meetings, networking events, as opposed to single-access sessions online. You might also consider a discount for virtual attendees. 

Platform choice

Another challenge is finding a suitable platform for virtual attendees that can also offer access to the physical attendees. Interactive features must be supported, and all safety and accessibility challenges resolved prior to the event taking place. 

How to plan a successful hybrid event

The following is a checklist that can be followed to put together a successful hybrid event: 

Establish key goals and objectives

Understand what it is the event is meant to achieve and the key signposts you can use to track success

Set a clear budget

The budget should include tech expenses, production fees, marketing and operational costs. Be thorough and detailed with your budget before you plan.

Work out member profiles

Deciding what your ideal attendee is will help shape the event programme and how you market the event. 

Choose a set date

There could also be access provided in the weeks prior to the event for both in-person and virtual attendees to sign up for discussions and materials. 

Plan the programme

Think about what types of sessions and programmes work best for your physical location and online platform. 

Promotion

Marketing campaigns are crucial for maximum attendance, and this could be different for in-person attendees and online attendees. 

Track and analyse data

Consider the sign-up and registration process, alongside data collected during the event, and post-event surveys, to analyse all data for future improvement of hybrid events.

Hybrid events must take on a full picture of both a live, in-person event, and the benefits of a virtual event online. With such a wide range of options around for virtual and hybrid events, it makes sense to partner with a specialist in the field. The Chameleon Agency has the team in place, with plenty of experience, to put together the perfect hybrid event. Whatever your goals are, we’ll help you plan and execute a hybrid event that connects the live, physical space with the online attendees, have the correct tech in place to ensure everything runs smoothly, and help you to track and analyse data to ensure that your future events continue to exceed expectations.

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