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Getting Started with Hybrid Events

What Is A Hybrid Event?

A hybrid event is a blend of a traditional in-person function and a virtual event. Technology connects not only remote attendees but also allows those physically present to interact with data, presentations and virtual attendees. They create spaces for networking and personal connection for both audiences while allowing presenters to interact with everyone in real time.

What does a hybrid event mean to you? Hybrid events can be any type of gathering you might host as a traditional function. Weddings, panel discussions, product launches, or even corporate team building events can be hosted as hybrid events, creating an opportunity for a larger audience while incorporating the energy of an event you would traditionally attend in person. The breadth of possibility is supported by a multitude of service providers that specialize in virtual, live, and hybrid events. Our directory includes hundreds of companies waiting to help you plan your next occasion. 

Hybrid Event Benefits

Though uniquely suited to the current global situation, hybrid events are not new. They are tried and tested, and as a result, they are well established. Simply think back on pre-pandemic tech giant product release events to see the effects of a well-orchestrated hybrid event; the energy of an enthusiastic physical audience mixed with those participating online can dramatically change the tone of a presentation, creating excitement that is difficult to replicate.

One of the primary reasons to host a hybrid event is to broaden your audience reach. Including virtual participants as well as a physical audience can massively increase your headcount. Plus, geographic diversity in your audience can open new markets for your trade show. Include distant relatives at your family reunion or allow physically remote teams to cooperate in team-building exercises.

By reducing travel costs and venue needs, hybrid events can be more budget friendly, both for you and attendees. This silver lining allows you to devote more budget space for those little extras that make an event pop—more polished presentations, event promotion, entertainment, and music. By considering additional services, you can increase audience engagement and create a more memorable experience.

Your virtual event platform doesn’t need to be limited to your remote audience. Using technology, both audiences can network and interact while providing real-time feedback to presenters and staff. Incorporating mobile devices, tablets, and computers into the attendee experience increases engagement and attendee interaction, creating a seamless bridge between physically present and remote audiences.

Planning a hybrid event begins with a vision and a plan. What will success look like to you? Different events have different aims and needs. Beginning with a good idea of your goalposts will guide your platform and service choices. A clear plan will also allow you to move forward confidently. With a wide variety of listings in our directory, finding a match for your vision is a snap.

When putting on a hybrid event, keep these questions in mind for best results. Who do you want to attend? What type of event do you have in mind? What is your budget? What are you looking for in a product platform? Will you need virtual food delivery for your remote audience? What additional services will you need? Games? Music? A shared experience? All of these options work together to create a unique and tailored event.

Hybrid Event Examples: What Works?

Can you even talk about hybrid events without mentioning Apple Special Events? They break away from the pack as an early and enthusiastic hybrid event. Fans around the world watch breathlessly while live audiences offer a high-energy, high-interest response to product releases. Apple utilizes high-end AV production to provide a beautiful, uniform experience to both in-person and remote audiences.

Riot Games’ League of Legends Championships in an annual event that highlights the power of platform scalability. Over the course of their 2019 event, over 100 million fans tuned into broadcasts of the event, dwarfing the 15,000 in-person attendees. This event reached an Average Minute Audience of 21.8 million viewers. The thoughtful use of hybrid platform technology can massively increase your audience, advancing your message and your brand to new heights.

Junction, a hackathon out of Helsinki, found a different solution to their hybrid needs. Their 2019 event boasted 1500 participants; 2020 promised to be even more of a success. When COVID-19 restrictions put a limit on the in-person event, Junction turned to 30 worldwide hubs to host smaller gatherings. These local teams competed across the globe to solve challenges. By using shared experiences and team-based competition, hybrid events can increase both local and remote engagement, creating a lively, invested audience focused on you.

Avoiding Hybrid Event Pitfalls

Hybrid events do share a variety of pitfalls. Many of the same concerns that plague virtual events—technology failures, synchronous attendance, and limited networking opportunities—also affect those using a hybrid model. The solutions are similar: proper planning, testing, training, and platform choices will minimize—though not eliminate—the risks. More specific to hybrid events, the challenge of balancing in-person and remote experiences can send an event into a tailspin. Do not try to make them the same. Instead, use best practices from both traditional and virtual events to offer each a valuable, tailored experience. Feel free to offer incentives to your physical audience, but be sure to lure remote attendees into synchronous events with networking sessions and other time-sensitive bonuses. Asynchronous viewing is a valuable resource for those who cannot attend live due to conflicts or time zone issues, but to encourage engagement, there is nothing like the present.

A successful hybrid event is all about balance, and it begins with choosing the best platform and services. Our directory with hundreds of companies specializing in virtual, live, and hybrid events is a great place to start. We offer access to companies with the skills and experience to help your next event shine.

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