Since lockdown began, we have all had to switch to virtual methods of meeting. Now we are starting to feel more confident and can start to move about again we should look to take the positives from our virtual world and incorporate them into our live events.
A truly hybrid events gives virtual and live delegates access to the same content. You can do this in a number of ways and there are many platforms that have been developed to facilitate hybrid events. It can just be as simple as streaming your live event to the virtual audience.
But, we really feel that Hybrid meetings can be so much more. Using elements of Live and Virtual events you can create a much more flexible and long lasting experience for your delegates.
To truly take advantage of all hybrid events have to offer you have to design your event as hybrid from the start. Remember that one of the perks of hybrid is that your event content can be accessed long after your event has finished too. Virtual delegates can join from anywhere in the world so will be in different time zones. It is also perhaps a little unreasonable to expect the virtual delegate to be with you for a full days conference. Design your events so that the Key Note speech is at a time when most of your delegates are awake (where ever they are in the world), particularly if you want everyone to listen live and to have a Q & A session at the end. Perhaps pre-record some content for the virtual delegate to watch at their leisure? Build in some interactivity for both live and virtual delegates, this could be as simple as including some live polls in the sessions. Make sure you have a facilitator on the day feeding questions from the virtual audience to the speaker. The great news is that most virtual platforms have room for exhibitors and sponsors. These can either be the same as the Live event or you can of course increase the number of exhibitors, with premium exhibitors for the live ticket holders and access to virtual exhibitors for all for example.
You can keep your virtual delegates completely separate from your live delegates, but the virtual world can really enhance the live experience. If you charge your delegates to attend your events having access to the virtual content could be seen as a premium ticket. But even if the event is free to attend the virtual content offers delegates a way to revisit a part of the conference they missed or were unsure of. You can even have different levels of virtual “ticket”; those who watch and interact with the event while it is happening, or those that buy access to certain keynote speeches after the event has happened. You can make the content work for you long after the event has happened; whether that is by increasing your event revenue or by simply allowing delegates to revisit the content.
In the short term hybrid events will help you ensure that all those you want to attend your events can, whether your numbers are restricted by social distancing or your delegates are simply unable to travel they can all still have access to your content.
In the long term they can help you grow your events past the constraints of venue size. It may be the optimum size for your live event is 300 delegates and you have a venue that works for you in terms of budget and size…but if you add a hybrid element you can reach a larger audience with out devaluing the experience your live delegates get. Hybrid can also help events become more sustainable, hold a three day conference in 3 different countries, with each delegate attending live for one day and virtually for 2, stopping the need for long haul flights. Hybrid events may make your content more accessible to delegates who perhaps could not justify the expense of travel and accommodation, but could benefit from your content.
No longer does all your planning and hard work only lead to one or two days of conference content; the hard work can be viewed for many weeks after the live event on line.
We have attended and run a number of virtual and hybrid conferences over the last few months and have made sure we have all the information and suppliers in place to help you run a successful hybrid event. If you want to talk through your ideas then we are here to help. We can of course offer you support for the live event but don’t forget we can help with the virtual element too.