What is a hybrid event?

A hybrid event is an event that combines both ‘in person’ and virtual elements. Hybrid events are a great way of increasing the numbers of people who can attend an event because things like transport, time and costs are all reduced. In the wake of Covid-19, we have seen that hybrid events have enabled companies to continue to host their more traditional events that are currently not feasible, including Christmas parties, workshops, training days, charity fund-raising events and more.

Why chose a hybrid event over a traditional event?

Aside from that fact that Covid-19 has forced us to re-think traditional events, hybrid events have other benefits too. They are more inclusive for groups such as working parents, those with disabilities and mobility issues, people with sensory issues and many others who may feel more comfortable attending an event from the comfort of their own home.

Hybrid events reduce some of the costs associated with traditional events. This means that a hybrid event can be cheaper than a traditional event.

What room set-up do I need?

Chances are your chosen venue will have room set-ups designed to account for social distancing measures. Setting up for a hybrid event won’t be too dissimilar, but you do need to account for the additional space required for the technical teams and additional equipment.

Will a hybrid event require more planning and resources than a normal event?

This is very much dependent on your event. Small meetings won’t require as much planning or technical assistance as a large awards dinner for example. Its important to work with partners who understand the hybrid concept, and what you need to achieve from your event. They will be best placed to advise and guide you when planning.

How many attendees can I have at my hybrid event?

This is a very important question; at the time of writing there hasn’t been any guidance issued by Government for restrictions on numbers that can attend an event.

As you search for venues, keep in mind that the numbers they will be able to accommodate in a live event space will be fewer. If your event is due to take place soon, plan for fewer in-person attendees and more online participants.

Is there a strong enough reason to hold an in-person event?

This is very much down to your organization and what they deem to be acceptable. Whilst its expected that the Government will release information and guidance on maximum capacities, participants wont necessarily have the appetite to attend in person, preferring instead to attend virtually.

You may device that it makes more sense to go fully virtual until its safer, or Government guidance, allows for larger gatherings.

What are some challenges for organizing a hybrid event?

To create a unified event experience which keeps all parties engaged (online and live) its important to understand the expectations of both. Online participants won’t want to be watching an empty stage whilst your live delegates are grabbing teas and coffees. Similarly, your online participants will want to join in with Q&A sessions.

How should I adapt my presentations for online participants?

Its important to keep in mind that online audiences do not have the same attention space as your live audience. You should provide more breaks for your virtual participants along with shorter sessions to keep them engaged. You may wish to consider shortening your live in person sessions to accommodate both audiences.

Should I use a platform for my virtual audience?

Whilst utilizing free services such as YouTube Live and Facebook Live are advantageous, incorporation a more fully featured platform such as Hopin may be of benefit to your online audience, providing them with more interactive touch points.

You may with to consider giving your exhibitors or sponsors an online presence so your virtual audience can interact with them directly.