Take your industry events to new heights with a hybrid formula. A smaller, in-person event provides a traditional networking experience while a virtual counterpart increases your audience reach and lets your attendees choose where and how they want to participate in your event. In fact, 65% of attendees and 57% of exhibitors believe that events will still have a digital component in the future.
Why hybrid events are important
Hybrid events offer the best of both worlds for health safety: CDC guidelines are easily followed with smaller, in-person events while large audiences can participate from the comfort of their office.
Plus, hybrid events open the door for larger audiences when traveling and accommodations are no longer a consideration for businesses with smaller budgets or stricter guidelines.
How to host a successful hybrid event
1. Market with an event teaser
This could be some attendees’ first hybrid event, and they may even be unfamiliar with the virtual aspect entirely. A short teaser such as a video familiarizes attendees with the platform you’re using, gives them an idea of what to expect and provides a how-to for engaging with hosts and other attendees during the event.
2. Offer a variety of virtual content
Some attendees may be tired of seemingly endless video calls and conferences, and that must be accounted for when planning virtual events. Pre-recorded or audio-only content breaks up the monotony of back-to-back live video sessions. It also offers more flexibility in participation and engagement. Attendees can navigate between watching a webinar, participating in a question-and-answer session or listening to a podcast.
3. Make the in-person event matter
Don’t assume that your live attendees will be content learning the same information they could be consuming in their office or on their couch. Create value by including more audience interaction or live demonstrations that wouldn’t have the same appeal in a virtual format.
4. Facilitate networking on every platform
One of the most valuable things about industry events is the opportunity to network with other professionals. If attendees elect to attend virtual events, make sure they still get that benefit. Platforms that offer video calls such as Zoom, messaging services such as Slack or dedicated social media pages like Facebook can facilitate interaction between your attendees. Schedule online “coffee chats,” virtual round table discussions or fun challenges like quizzes to encourage conversation.
5. Don’t forget your VIPs
While it may be tempting to make the in-person event just for your VIPs, chances are they’ll want that special experience extended through the entire event—virtual sessions included. Offer exclusive sessions, extra content or even the ability to download video sessions after the fact to make the entire event feel elevated.
Hybrid events allow you to expand your audience and cater to two different types of attendees—those who prefer virtual participation and those who value in-person engagement. Reach new engagement heights and wow all attendees with these tips.