6 Tips for Planning a Hybrid Event
Hybrid Events instantly make your physical events more accessible. It’s as simple as hosting your in-person event as you normally would and then streaming your chosen sessions online for anyone in the world to view.
While the planning stages of any online event are crucial, Hybrid Events require two components - physical and online attendees. Therefore, you must start with the end in mind and work with key stakeholders, marketing teams, and technology providers to bring your hybrid event to life.
Here are some tips on getting the planning stages right.
1. Registration Workflow: Whether your attendees are joining in-person or online, ensuring an easy and seamless way for them to register for your event is essential. Within your registration form, ask people how they will be joining and keep fields to a minimum.
Use a reputable payment portal and ensure registrants have a variety of ways to pay.
Make sure you have a clear submit button and an automated confirmation email sent immediately containing all the necessary details to attend.
If your registration platform permits, provide a separate confirmation email for physical and online attendees. This will allow you to add technology testing details for online attendees who aren’t necessary for those joining in person.
Ensure you send a reminder email to both audiences reiterating important information and where to go for any assistance.
2. Event Promotion and Charging: Adding a hybrid component to your event can help you to boost attendance and, in turn, revenue. However, many organisations can be hesitant to charge for online content - here’s what you should consider:
Paid events are usually considered more valuable than those offered for free. Therefore, ensure you highlight why people should join online and attend your event.
Weigh up the pros and cons of charging the same amount for the online portion. Essentially, those joining online don’t have to pay for travel and accommodation but access the same content.
Reinforce the benefits of all attendees having access to the recorded content; this can be a powerful promotional tool.
If physical attendance is important to you, consider promoting the hybrid portion of your event a few weeks later. Or market online access to those based in regional areas only.
3. Speakers: Engaging and knowledgeable speakers are a critical component of any event. And while hybrid events allow you to gain access to a much wider pool of professionals, they must know how to engage with a physical and online audience. The last thing you want to do is alienate those watching from their computers.
Ensure you notify speakers of your event format ahead of time to ensure they are comfortable engaging both types of audiences.
Ask permission for speaker content to be streamed online and recorded. A simple one-page approval form will suffice.
Host a brief online session ahead of time to provide speakers with tips on engaging virtual audiences and making them feel part of the experience.
Hybrid Events can add a layer of complexity, so ensure speakers are across all timelines and provide you with content and presentations well ahead of time.
If one of your chosen speakers is unavailable to present at your event, consider pre-recording their content and streaming it into your venue and your virtual space.
4. Facilitation: Facilitators, moderators, and virtual emcees - their role is to host your event, introduce speakers, engage with audiences and ensure your event stays on track. Their role is critical, and it’s essential to ensure you work with a professional. Here are some tips on finding the right facilitator.
While many facilitators are familiar with hosting physical events, ensure you source a host with experience engaging virtual audiences, it’s quite a talent.
Don’t be afraid to ask for examples of previous events they have hosted so you can see whether their style is relevant for your event.
Always make sure they are familiar with your virtual event technology so they can quickly moderate online Q&A and engage everyone involved.
Provide speaker information and introductions ahead of time to assist with seamless execution.
5. Technology: How will you stream your content online? Finalising your technology partner is crucial during the planning stages as it allows you to effectively communicate your event, work with your speakers and finalise your on-demand strategy. Here are some tips on choosing a partner that works for you.
Find a managed provider that will work with you and oversee the technology. They will work with venues and AV suppliers and essentially take care of the live delivery.
You shouldn’t have to be restricted by platforms. Many vendor-agnostic providers will support your hybrid event across a platform of your choice. Ensuring your virtual audience is familiar with the platform they are using will prove to be a benefit and result in an enhanced online experience.
Support is essential. As your event kicks off, the last thing you want to be tasked with is fielding support calls from your online attendees. Ask your technology provider whether they provide live support for your attendees and if this is included in the package.
When planning a hybrid event, you want peace of mind. Ask providers for their experience in planning and executing hybrid events, customer success stories, and, if possible, testimonials from those who have hosted something similar.
What are their redundancy plans? Issues can arise with any live event, so it’s essential to uncover how your provider will handle this and what their backup plans include
6. Hosting Options: One of the many benefits of hybrid events is the ability for your content to be recorded and hosted online. This allows you to provide, promote and charge for online presentations well after your event has concluded. So how can you achieve this?
When choosing your technology partner, ask them if they offer a virtual hosting platform to store your recorded files and event information.
Use a hosting platform that is instantly accessible to those who registered for your event, with the ability to capture data from those looking to purchase in the future.
If you plan to charge for on-demand content, ensure you can easily integrate your payment portal.
Finalise your hosting platform during your planning stages so you can provide access as soon as your event is over.
For more tips on planning and executing a Hybrid Event, download our ebook - The Modern Hybrid Event - How to Plan, Execute and Measure.