Since the appearance of COVID-19, Hybrid events have gone from a little-known concept to something many businesses are now using to drive productivity, attendance and growth. In simplest terms, a hybrid event is an event that merges both in-person and virtual attendees. While there’s no denying that the global pandemic has wreaked havoc across the board, hybrid events are once again bringing people and businesses together.
Of course, being such a recent concept, a little bit more for planning and strategising is needed to pull a successful hybrid event off. From ensuring you have all of the technology needed to scheduling timings and time zones. Not to worry though, as this is what we’re here for!
Here’s everything you need to know about hybrid events and what to expect from them.
Types of Hybrid Events
As with all types of events, there are two main types that businesses can take advantage of. These are internal and external hybrid events. Depending on the type of event you plan to host, along with who is attending – each come with their own advantages.
Internal Hybrid Events
An internal hybrid event is specific to a business, its employees and shareholders. Regardless of whether you have 20 offices around the world or one or two in a single country, they are about bringing key members together both in person and virtually. Often a popular choice for meetings, conferences, announcements and training – they ensure everyone is involved no matter where they may be.
External Hybrid Events
An external hybrid event moves away from business and instead leans more toward the hospitality and entertainment sectors. Think along the lines of summits, expos, concerts, workshops, free-time networking, etc. Simply put, an external hybrid event is normally for attendees from outside your business or company.
What is a Virtual meeting?
You’ll be hard pressed to find a business that hasn’t had to take advantage of virtual meetings since March 2020. A virtual meeting is exactly as the name suggests – a meeting held virtually from multiple locations. From Skype and Zoom to Whatsapp and Facebook Business, holding important meetings with clients and staff have seen an almighty shift to webcam-based meets.
While far from traditional, they have created a sense of international corporation – even for small domestic businesses. But why have they become so popular? The answer is easy. Given the recent implementation of social distancing, a myriad of new laws and regulations and the limitations on domestic and international travel, getting together in person has been far from simple. This has resulted in people taking to the internet and video conferencing apps to try and carry on as normal.
Now that things are slowly returning to normal, virtual meetings look set to stay. Their convenience and cost-saving benefits have enabled many businesses to carry on close to normal, but face-to-face meetings and conferences will never be replaced. What is expected are hybrid meetings, allowing attendees to be there in person or on-line.
How do Virtual Event’s Work?
The way a virtual event works isn’t too dissimilar to a traditional event. Planning is still extremely important as schedules, timings and activities need to be in place. The main difference is that everything is held online. Attendees attend via their phone, laptop or tablet instead of meeting at a physical location – hence the moniker “Virtual Event”. Far from being new, shareholders and business owners located around the world have been using virtual events and meetings to conduct business for decades now.
3 Elements To Make a Successful Hybrid Event
When it comes to putting on a successful hybrid event, there are three key elements to put into action – T.E.C (Technology, Engagement, Content). While these three points are important for a traditional event, they are more so for hybrid ones.
Cloud computing and technological advancements have helped drive the recent boom in hybrid events by simplifying attendance while improving immersion. From dedicated apps, video conferencing software, VoIP calls, Instant Messaging (IM) and content sharing platforms – everyone has a chance to not only feel involved but to be involved. If you are planning a hybrid event, then the technology you’ll be using should take a prime spot in the planning process.
This one is a given and is no different from any meeting, conference or event you would have held over the past few decades. Engagement is key to keeping people’s attention – lose it and you lose them. However, one difference is trying to keep virtual guests equally as engaged as physical ones, which is no easy feat. Finding activities and talks that involve everyone is just one piece of the puzzle to solve.
When it comes to the content you will present, try to remember that different attendees will have different viewing experiences – which also ties into technology and engagement. What types of content can you use with the technology you have available? And how engaging is it from a phone screen versus a full-sized projection? Of course, you’ll want to plan your content around your events main subject. But you’ll also want to make sure everyone can access it, regardless of how they are attending.
When to Host this type of Event?
The great thing about hybrid events is that much like the internet, they can be held pretty much 24/7. They open the doors to international clients and staff to attend, regardless of whether there are travel restrictions in place or not. Of course, you will want to be sensitive toward time zones, family time and schedules – but it can be far easier to gather everyone together this way when compared to traditional events.
Hybrid Event Ideas
If you’ve never hosted a hybrid event before and are looking for a little bit of inspiration and direction, here are a few examples of amazing hybrid events held around the world.
Why are Hybrid Events essential?
At the end of the day, attendance is what makes an event successful. You could throw the best event in the world, but if hardly anyone attends, what is the point? Hybrid events allow you to bring key players, team members and clients together in a traditional event space – all while allowing those who can’t or who aren’t willing to travel to still take part.
Naturally, if you are thinking of going hybrid, you’ll want to make sure you have sufficient technology to pull it off. A high-speed internet connection, projectors, white screens, and high-quality audio are just a few things to consider. It can be hard to know what to do first, which is where we can help.
As leaders in the events and hospitality industry, we’ve had to adapt like everyone else. Along the way, we’ve developed ways to make hybrid events go as seamlessly as possible – helping you keep your meetings, events and conferences as business as usual. Looking to plan and host your own virtual event? Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley has all of the facilities you need to take a step into the future.