As social distancing regulations become less stringent, entirely virtual events are no longer a necessity. However, hybrid events present the opportunity to accommodate attendees that are unable to attend events in person. In addition, companies can reach a wider audience even if their venue has strict capacity limitations. With experienced event coordinators and the assistance of reputable audiovisual integrators, your organization can reap the benefits of a hybrid event.
The Growing Popularity of Hybrid Events
Organizations are poised to experience an uptick in hybrid events, with 73% of event planners agreeing that hybrid events are more than a passing trend. In light of social distancing regulations, fully virtual events became entirely necessary. As social distancing and mask mandates evolve, virtual events may not remain the norm, but hybrid events are here to stay.
Hybrid events cater to the needs of virtual and in-person attendees simultaneously. Organizations achieve this goal by allowing remote attendees to participate digitally with video conferencing or virtual event booths. Meanwhile, in-person participants attend the event at the venue’s physical location.
Since the option for virtual attendance reduces strain from scheduling conflicts and travel costs, organizations can spread their content to audiences that may not otherwise have the resources to attend an in-person event. Furthermore, companies have the option to utilize video content to create promotional content and increase brand awareness.
While hybrid events have proven to be more inclusive than other options, it can be challenging for organizations to implement their plans effectively. The nature of hybrid events means that event planners and AV teams are responsible for managing many different moving parts. If your organization is considering hosting a hybrid event, these tips will allow you to start quickly.
1. Understand Your Audience
The first step to creating a successful hybrid event is understanding who will be attending your event. Since you will tailor your hybrid event to suit the needs of in-person and remote attendees, event planners must avoid isolating either group from one another.
Before getting started, define your organization’s goals and event strategy. Decide whether you intend to enhance your organization’s lead generation efforts or build relationships with your customers. You should also know how your participants will attend your event. If most of your attendees are in different locations, it’s no surprise that a majority of your audience will participate remotely. If most of your audience is nearby, make accommodations to support a larger in-person audience.
2. Determine Your Budget
Since hybrid events combine qualities from in-person and virtual gatherings, organizations often find it challenging to establish their projected costs. In most cases, hybrid events require more financial resources than traditional, in-person events. Your primary expenses will include the following:
- Venue: Since a portion of your attendees will participate remotely, you may host your hybrid event in a smaller venue than an entirely in-person event. Assess your internet cost and COVID compliance regulations before booking a venue. Ensure that you can bring your own AV team and equipment.
- Digital Software: At a hybrid event, your in-person venue also functions as a virtual venue, so you must choose an adequate event platform. Remember to select an event platform that accommodates hybrid events while supporting the additional features your event may require, such as registration, CE tracking, or a streaming player.
- Audiovisual Technology and Production: High-quality production ensures that your virtual audience remains engaged throughout the entirety of your event. Work with a team of experienced audiovisual integrators who know how to assess your needs accurately. Advanced production techniques will also allow your organization to use video content for marketing.
- Event Staff: Typically, hybrid events require a more robust staff than in-person events because a team will work on the virtual portion of the event. In this case, another team will attend the event’s in-person components.
When assessing the total cost of your hybrid event, consider your audience and what you would like your event to accomplish. Ensure that event planners identify quantifiable event KPIs and allocate your budget accordingly.
3. Partner with a Reputable AVI provider
The expertise of your audiovisual integration team determines whether or not your hybrid event is successful. A reputable AVI provider has the knowledge and skill to elevate each attendee’s experience. AVI specialists will work with your event staff to decide which equipment best suits your needs while also accommodating the specifications of your venue. Although the equipment your hybrid event requires may vary, you will most likely require the following:
- Lighting: Proper lighting improves the audience’s ability to see presenters clearly. Strategically placed lighting can add flair and spark visual interest, transforming a bland presentation into a dynamic, engaging experience for all participants.
- Cameras: Most audiovisual integrators will recommend the use of multiple cameras to ensure that virtual participants are fully engaged with the event. Hybrid events typically require a minimum of three cameras so that it’s possible to film from several different angles.
- Audio Equipment: The right audio equipment ensures that virtual and hybrid participants can adequately hear speakers. Presenters can easily re-engage in-person participants during a hybrid event, but virtual participants are less likely to remain interested if they cannot understand the presenter. AV specialists may suggest wireless microphone systems if the venue allows it.
The exact AV equipment for your hybrid event will depend on your venue’s dimensions, capacity, and compliance regulations. However, experienced AVI providers understand which pieces of equipment are compatible with one another and how to effectively utilize them within various environments. With the assistance of reputable audiovisual professionals, your organization can host a memorable hybrid event that engages participants and asserts your company’s image.