This is a guest post by Aditi Biswas and was originally published on the Airmeet blog.
Are you planning to host a hybrid event in 2022? Don’t know where to start? Here’s a blog that will help you figure out the basic 101s of hosting a hybrid event.
Hybrid events have captured the imagination of event organizers. Nevertheless, most professionals are still trying to fathom and master the art of hosting in virtual event platforms. But, how does one plan and host a hybrid event this 2021?
In a recent survey conducted by international organizations, 70% of the respondents said that hybrid events are the future of event hosting.Bizbash
A physical event is very different from a virtual experience. You have to generate exclusive content and a unique event experience for your audience. So, if you are looking forward to planning and hosting a hybrid event, then this blog is the right article for you.
Table of Contents
How to plan a hybrid event – 5 integral steps
Planning an event is very important. Last-minute details for even the smallest onsite event are critical. So, when it comes to hosting a virtual conference with two sets of audiences, the planning must be even more detailed and intricate.
1. Have a clear vision
It is important to have a clear vision for your hybrid event. To do this, you have to find answers to the 6W’s, which are as follows: :
- Who is the event for?
- What will they learn?
- Why will they find the event appealing?
- Where will it happen?
- When will it happen?
- Who will conduct the event?
It will give a lot of clarity to you as an organizer and help you plan and market your online event. It will also allow your online participants to have a clear vision of what to expect from the event.
2. Prepare a detailed event plan
Be the designer of your event. Come up with some unique, meaningful, and engaging hybrid event ideas. You will have to create an event that meets your audiences’ needs and plan to the minutest of details. Your plan should include the immersive experiences, speakers’ details, timings of the sessions, tech details, and much more.
Remember to plan a different marketing strategy for both audiences. It may include exclusive sessions for diverse target audiences and a variety of marketing visuals. Such a detailed plan will help smooth execution and ensure that your hybrid event is hosted without any hurdles.
3. Set roles and responsibilities
For your online event to have the right flow and be flawless, you need to practice the proper event management. Considering that you are hosting a hybrid event, you will need a bigger team with event organizers and event managers. These people will set clear duties and responsibilities for your team and ensure that there is no overlapping.
So remember to build a team that shares the same passion as you do for a successful event.
4. Content creation
Content creation for hybrid events needs time and planning. The needs of the two groups are different. While your live audience will be fine with attending more sessions with fewer breaks, it is entirely the opposite for your virtual audience.
Your virtual audience will prefer short, easily assimilated virtual meetings, while your physical audience may expect detailed and elaborate content. So, finding the right hybrid event model to meet the needs of your digital audience will be a challenge.
It is heavy to meet everyone’s expectations; hence, find a middle ground. So you have to offer a couple of sessions that are common for both audiences. The rest can be provided as a video-on-demand for your remote viewers. For the common sessions, you can use a talk show or a Q&A format that will keep your audience engaged.
The bottom line while planning digital content is to ensure that regardless of format, both your online audience have a similar experience and receive the same amount of knowledge/information.
5. Seek sponsorship
Once your backend work is done, seek sponsors for the event. Sponsorship opportunities and collaborations are essential because they help in various ways. There are three kinds of sponsors you can approach.
First are the large companies that can cater to a larger audience and broaden your virtual reach. Second, a company that can help you with gifts and giveaways for speakers and attendees. Lastly, a tech company that can take care of your technical needs and event strategy. Seek sponsors whose work is somewhat in tandem with your event.
Whoever is the sponsor, be sure to give them good visibility in all event-related communications.
How to host a hybrid event?
Hosting a flawless event is possible only when certain aspects are taken care of before the event. Some of the points to consider before hosting hybrid events are:
1. Selecting a virtual platform
Since you will have a virtual audience for your event, choose your virtual event management platform with care. Utilize a medium and a virtual format that offers you live streaming, engagement, and networking features, high-quality audio, video, and the choice to record sessions. These features are essential and should be considered non-negotiable in a good virtual event platform.
Before you finalize your virtual platform, request them for a demo. Check for the features you desire in the demo and see if the platform offers you enough tech support.
2. Communicate with attendees
Communicating with your online attendees is essential and is seen as a significant marketing effort. It also ensures that your audience has the correct information and is updated about the event. Consider changing your communication strategy a few days before the event.
At this time, you could have a trailer for your event. Just like how movie trailers increase our anticipation, try to achieve the same with your welcome video.
Your virtual attendees may need a little more hand-holding, especially if it is the maiden hybrid/virtual event for them. You could make their experience better by designing event FAQs.
The FAQs should address common and pertinent questions about the event. Taking small initiatives like these ensures that your attendees do not have any anxieties and feel welcomed.
3. Be flexible
Given the uncertain times today, the need of the hour is to be flexible. There may be unforeseen snags and glitches with your hybrid conference. But, don’t panic. Instead, reschedule the sessions and ensure that the show goes on. Still, be sure to communicate the changes with your attendees also to increase attendee engagement.
Just like with virtual events, rehearsals are essential for your hybrid event. Remember, your speakers will interact with two sets of audiences, so it is important that they practice getting the feel. Trials via online meetings or even Airmeet’s backstage feature help you ensure that all your tech aids are working well and positioned in the right manner.
You can make changes wherever needed so that the actual event is glitch-free and an excellent experience for your attendees. Remember, the right strategy and approach are two critical essentials for hosting a hybrid event.
It is easy to plan and host a hybrid event
The tips mentioned above will help you plan and host an entertaining and engaging hybrid event. Eventually, your event will succeed if you treat the virtual component and hybrid event strategy as part of the event and not separate entities. It is important to increase digital experience in the event industry by creating engaging and well-thought virtual events.
So, utilize the sessions, select the right format and speakers, find the middle path to suit your attendees, and have the recipe for the perfect hybrid event in place!
This guest post is by Aditi Biswas and first appeared on the Airmeet blog. You can find more information about their hybrid event services on their website