The past two years have turned the event industry upside down, pushing us to be more inventive in the way we structure and manage live events to engage attendees.
From tradeshows to annual meetings, audience experiences in 2022 require a different approach. If you’re planning an event, your goal is to create a sense of engagement and connection between your attendees, presenters, and vendors—whether they’re physically gathered in the same place or participating virtually.
The hybrid event can help you do that by bridging the live and virtual gap. It includes one main live event (which can be accompanied by multiple satellite events) and a virtual event experience for remote attendees.
Learn how the NFL pulled off a hype-worthy hybrid event in Cleveland.
Next Tuesday, February 22, 11 AM, tune in to Shamrock’s Hybrid Event Showcase 2022, Keynote speaker Mike Mulhall of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission
will talk about what it took to pull off the hybrid NFL draft event in Cleveland last April. Plus, hear from resources about on-trend products and displays for creating exceptional hybrid event experiences for your audiences. Register today.
Now more than ever, the hybrid event is a smart idea. Because it combines the best of both in-person and virtual event formats, the hybrid experience offers a lot of attractive benefits:
- It enables you and your event sponsors and presenters to reach a significantly more extensive audience—no travel/commute time to conflict with busy schedules
- It helps you create greater engagement with attendees through use of social media, live feeds, interactive event apps, and more
- It allows you to magnify your brand/event message by repurposing event content
- It gives your attendees more networking opportunities and more content to learn
If these sound like the types of benefits you’d like to enjoy from your next event, follow these 10 tips for creating a successful hybrid event experience.
1. Time it right.
Before you set your event date, research other industry events and activities to make sure you’re not competing with other planned events that draw the same audience. And, if your virtual attendees will be tuning in from multiple time zones, plan your session times accordingly.
2. Create an event plan.
Start your event preparation and make your checklist as soon as you have a general overview of your event—date, time, budget, and scope. Begin by securing your venue and then go from there, filling in the outline of exactly how you envision your event.
3. Craft a marketing plan.
After you’ve roughly outlined your event, think about how your audience will find you—and make it easy for them. Decide whether you’ll create an exclusive event website or house information on a landing page on your existing site. Next, identify essential marketing program elements beginning with your event logo, and then signage, collateral, email, social media campaigns, etc.
4. Keep your audience up to date.
After the initial event announcement and registration push, continue to communicate with your audience regarding any changes and to simply keep your event front of mind.
5. Choose the right event app.
There are many hybrid event apps available that make it easy for attendees to check-in, access the event program, and interact with speakers, sponsors, and fellow event attendees. Do your research to find the app that best suits your specific needs.
6. Invest in a quality digital setup.
Because your event will be broadcast to virtual attendees, you’ll need the proper digital platform to capture and stream your content. Consult an A/V partner to be sure you have what you need to deliver an outstanding experience for both in-person and virtual attendees.
7. Make in-person attendees feel safe + comfortable.
Let attendees know their health and safety are a priority by being prepared. You might use socially distanced seating, mask-wearing, onsite testing, contactless check-in, etc.—communicate this information in advance to ease any anxiety for in-person participants.
8. Provide help for virtual attendees.
Using your virtual conference platform, add a help desk location as a single point of contact for attendees to get assistance and find answers when they need them.
9. Engage in-person + virtual attendees.
To connect a dispersed audience, combine online and offline touches. Use your event app for polling and live video streams. Create exclusive event hashtags to generate buzz on social channels. And mail event kits (with collateral and swag) to virtual participants before the event, so they feel like they’re part of the action.
10. Follow up promptly.
After the event, reach out and connect with event sponsors, attendees, presenters, vendors, and your team. Share participant feedback, social media posts, attendance figures, and more to help build a community surrounding your event.
Combining in-person and virtual event experiences, the hybrid event allows your attendees to learn, network, and interact no matter where they are. It’s an exciting opportunity that’s scalable to meet your exact needs, no matter your event format.
For more helpful planning ideas, download our free Hybrid Event Planning Guide.
Questions or feedback? Connect with our Shamrock team on LinkedIn.