Over the past year, companies have been adapting to the pandemic in numerous ways. People were forced to work from home and chances are your conferences, trade shows, and expos were canceled. On the bright side, things are changing for the better.
As the world is preparing to reopen, is your company prepared to return to in-person live events?
The answer is probably “not yet,” and that’s okay. As the world adapts, your events must adapt as well. With that being said, let’s talk about hybrid events.
What are Hybrid Events?
A hybrid event is an event that hosts both on-site and online experiences for attendees.
As we emerge from the pandemic, hybrid events will be more prominent in the coming years and may become the new standard for events moving forward. There are a number of reasons for this:
• Limited travel: Due to the safety risks attached, traveling may be difficult for some
• Health and safety concerns: It’s natural to assume that not everyone will feel comfortable about being around a lot of people at different rates
• Convenience: People may be more inclined to forego the travel and hotel stays to experience events from the comfort of their own homes
Even with the rise in vaccinations across the nation, you still want to give people options that fit their comfort levels. There will still be participants who are uneasy about gatherings so having digital options for them is a major key to success.
Benefits to a Hybrid Event
Quite frankly, hybrid events give people options. People might not feel comfortable enough to attend an in-person event just yet, so they may opt into viewing from home instead. Having similar value propositions for both formats will provide choice to your attendees, making them more likely to participate.
In turn, this could help you increase your overall attendance. By providing a worthwhile digital experience, you can fill seats in the venue as well as an infinite number of seats in the digital space.
Hybrid events also come with financial benefits as well. By selling access to your digital event, you can boost the ROI of the event as a whole by lowering your overhead costs by 25%. This is done by saving money on event space, swag, food and drinks for your patrons, and more.
On top of that, you have new opportunities to sell sponsorship opportunities. You can add sponsored commercials before, during, and after live streams, or even add “sponsored by” tags to the videos themselves. Giving potential sponsors the option of advertising within the physical space and the digital space simultaneously could bring big returns on investment.
Another benefit is data. With hybrid events, you will be able to see any and all digital interactions your users make. You’ll have metrics about what content was engaging and what wasn’t. That data can be used to optimize your approach and topics in the future.
How to Prep for a Hybrid Event
There are many things you can do to prepare for your hybrid event.
Sending out a survey to previous participants is a good first step to gauging interest in your event. Ask them if, given the option, they would be more comfortable attending your event in-person or digitally. In the same survey, ask them if they do come to the event, what safety precautions they would like to see and what would make them feel comfortable.
Do the same thing for your presenters as well. Having a good mix of pre-recorded or live digital presentations and live speakers is good, but you’ll need to know what your presenters are comfortable with doing. Don’t try to pressure them into one format or another. Offer the live event first, and if they are skeptical, then you can provide the digital option.
Once you figure out what platforms you are using for your digital portions (we can help with that) you’ll need someone on hand to help troubleshoot any issues that arise. With a lot of moving pieces involved (internet connections, lighting, webinar platform not working, etc.), there should be someone who is familiar with these complications and can help out wherever necessary.
The Importance of Going Digital
Even though your event will be a hybrid one, you should plan your event with digital in mind first. The produced content can and should be repurposed for other marketing channels like email, YouTube, and social media.
If you are concerned about a lack of networking opportunities, you can do that digitally as well. Real-time chats and small group video calls are a good way to incorporate networking conversations into your event. Live webinars with chat features turned on are another way to keep attendees engaged.
While it takes a bit more coordination than strictly in-person events, the digital aspect of your hybrid event will pay dividends in the long run.
Start Planning Your Hybrid Event Today
Luckily, Video Parachute can help you with everything. As a video production company, we don’t just make videos for people, we create full experiences. We can help produce your remote, pre-recorded materials, as well as the in-person content as well. Reaching wider audiences digitally should be the goal now and in the future, even when things finally go back to normal.
If this is your first hybrid event, or just need help to build up what you’ve done in the past, Video Parachute can help.