As we wrap up the year and look ahead to 2021, organizers and planners are hopeful to return to in-person events in the new year. While we are all eager to get back to interacting on the trade show floor or in between sessions, it is likely that events will continue to host a virtual component to cater to those that aren’t ready to travel or prefer to attend online.
Hybrid events are becoming a popular option for organizations host their event and facilitate both the in-person and virtual experience attendees are looking for. To help you create a memorable and engaging event, we’ve but together some best practices to follow when hosting a hybrid event.
1. Hybrid events should be one event with two experiencesBoth your virtual and in-person attendees should feel like they are attending the same event. While their method of attending may be different, the content and value your event provides needs to be relevant for both types of attendees. In-person and virtual attendees should have their own, personalized experience but both experiences should be cohesive with your overall event.
2. Your event content needs to be engaging so you don’t lose virtual attendees
Virtual attendees are difficult to keep engaged because they are experiencing more distractions than ever and are learning to navigate this new world of virtual events. To keep them interested in your event content, offer new, relevant content, and use live polling and Q&A to interact with virtual attendees. Also, keep sessions brief and to a reasonable length for the best online viewing experience.
3. Consider virtual attendee schedules and time zones
Virtual attendees could be logging in from all over the world for your event. To accommodate different time zones and schedules, include both on-demand and live sessions for your virtual audience. Even consider offering live sessions multiple times so virtual attendees can experience the live session at a time that works best for them.
4. Communicate with attendees every day
Hybrid events are still new to most attendees and they are still learning the ropes of this new hybrid environment. Help both your virtual and in-person attendees stay connected and informed with daily communications related to your event. This could include the agenda for each day, reminders of how to connect with other attendees, a recap of the previous day’s activity, and more.
Hybrid events are still new and are continuing to evolve as organizations begin to look for new ways to reach both the in-person and virtual audience. For more tips and best practices to follow, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author
Katie has a passion for marketing and specializes in creating event-specific messaging, audience acquisition, and communications plans. She has a detailed understanding of online and offline tactics to develop the right strategic mix to meet program goals.