In the last year or so, you’ve probably heard the term “hybrid event” more than once. This term may seem like an enigma, but it refers to a simple concept. Hybrid events have become more popular since 2020, in particular, due to the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic. And they allow companies to continue hosting popular events for their consumers even with gathering restrictions in place. So what is a hybrid event, and how do you organize one? We are here to help.
What is a Hybrid Event?
The word hybrid is defined as a thing made by combining two different elements.
In the events industry, a hybrid event combines an onsite event element and a virtual element.
It is essentially taking a traditional event (like a trade show or conference) and adding an online event format.
Chances are you have attended versions of a hybrid event before, but you maybe didn’t realize it!
Hybrid Events Meaning
A hybrid event means that at the same time, you can host two types of event styles tailored to each audience (an online audience and an in-person audience) for a great attendee experience.
This is more than simply streaming a physical event onto the internet (although that does count). A hybrid event intends to be an event that connects people in person if they want and allows online audiences to tune in.
For the most part, the content is either the same in both formats or very similar. There can be exclusive in-person and online elements as well.
These events can have a high production value, or they can be hosted through a streaming service.
Hybrid events are approachable for the audiences because it allows them to attend the conference in the way they want and make connections through at least two different avenues (online and in-person).
How Does a Hybrid Event Work?
A hybrid event is generally hosted by a company, event management team, and supporting staff, like videographer, event organizer, emcee, audio team, and IT support team.
Hybrid events work best when well attended. You want an appropriate number of attendees online and in person.
The team organizing the event will usually have to develop the event style (will it be a trade show or a conference, for example?), the dates and times, how each of the hosting formats will work, the event management platform for hosting the event online, how to sell tickets, the event marketing, and the post-event strategies.
Hybrid events typically have presenters. These individuals can submit a request to present at a session or be asked by the organizing team to present as a general presenter or keynote speaker. These events usually have some sponsorship or partnerships opportunities as well to increase funding.
Examples of Hybrid Events
Hybrid events can be a live-streamed product reveal, which is very common in the tech world, or it can be a trade show with an in-person event and an exclusive online app. Here are two examples of a hybrid event:
Apple’s Hybrid Events: Apple has been using a hybrid format for its product launches for some time now. With an in-person audience watching the presentation, the entire thing is broadcast online to a global audience. This allows tech junkies, media, and industry experts to watch live from anywhere in the world.
Twitchcon: The gaming industry is known for putting on great events. Last year, the popular streaming platform, Twitch, hosted Twitchcon in a hybrid format. This gave fans a chance to meet their favorite game streamers in real life (IRL). It makes sense that Twitch’s steller streaming service would be able to connect fans online to the IRL meeting as well.
How Do You Create a Hybrid Event?
Creating a hybrid event is easier said than done. To start, you have to be prepared to host two event styles at the same time. This means you are essentially running two events simultaneously. Be prepared with on-site personnel as well as virtual IT support staff. Here are some basics for creating a hybrid strategy:
Come up with an event theme, topic, or genre
Choose a timeline for your schedule (the event can be held over multiple days, multiple weekenders, or in a custom manner)
Try to scout some presenters and keynote speakers
Map out your marketing strategy (including when speakers are announced and ticketing sales)
Secure a hybrid event platform for streaming the event
While there are many little steps to take, you will need to plan out every aspect of your event to ensure it is successful.
How to Host a Hybrid Event
Upon hosting your event, be sure to have event planners and event management staff in-person and online.
You’ll need a host to coordinate the schedule, and you’ll also want point people available to step in should issues arise.
Make sure you practice with your presenters and with your event hosting team so that the schedule goes off without a hitch. You’ll also need to send out preliminary materials to your attendees (and presenters) so that they know how to access both the in-person site and the online app.
Hybrid Event Ideas
Your goals in running a hybrid event will determine the event details. For example, if you are running the hybrid event for lead generation, then you’ll want to make sure that you have the event set up for lead capture and, depending, lead scoring.
Your event format, agenda, content, and tools, should all work toward your event goal.
By requiring registration and ticketing through your event management platform, and using this same system to host the streaming, your metrics will all be in one place.
Make sure to add in some unique virtual event ideas for audience engagement in the online format.
Events are an excellent marketing tool and can be used for everything from growth acceleration to community building.
Top Hybrid Event Gamification Ideas
Your hybrid event should have some elements of fun, which boost attendee engagement, create an amazing hybrid experience, facilitate networking, and reach a wider audience online. Come up with hybrid event gamification ideas for your event content, such as:
Rewarding your virtual audience with points for performing certain actions such as liking social media posts, punctuality, or completing polls
Creating competition between the online audience and the guests at the event venue
Posting to social media and hashtagging the event
Coming up with a fun game that can be played by both in-person and virtual attendees (like racing remote-controlled cars!)
Bringing in VR for in-person participants and AR for online attendees.
Gamification ideas should have rewards, interaction, an element of analytics, and they should be fun!
Hybrid Event Best Practices
Running a hybrid event is no easy feat. To make it the most successful, make sure to follow these best practices:
Plan early and expect delays
Keep yourself open to changes
Be mindful of functionalities available both on-site and online
Make timeliness a priority
Foster networking opportunities
Stick to your budget
Link everything to analytics for future marketing success!
While a hybrid event can be stressful, what’s the point without having a little fun!
Tips for a Successful Hybrid Event
While there are many avenues that you can take with a hybrid event, there are some things that you can do to ensure that it is a successful event.
Consider your hybrid event like a marketing campaign. You’ll want to market to dedicated audience demographics, including primary, secondary, and tertiary audiences. Also, consider post-event engagement strategies.
How will attendees register for the event? Each audience type will need its own registration path and marketing path. Meet the audience and funnel them towards your registration page by offering them solutions or educational tools that are useful to them in their work or daily lives.
Make sure all vendors and sponsors have signed clear contracts and that they make sense for our event and our audience. Misaligned content and sponsorship can send mixed messages and prevent your event from reaching its full potential.
Why Hybrid Events Are Valuable
Hybrid events encourage more attendees at your event and allow you to connect with demographics who cannot attend your live event. It also reduces the amount of physical travel that your attendees will do, saving on costs and environmental concerns. Hybrid events can:
Improve ROI: Virtual access can be sold for a fraction of the in-person ticket price allowing more people to attend. On top of that, these speaker sessions and presentations can be used as promotional assets down the road, reducing overall marketing costs.
Provide Useful Audience Data: Virtual event components provide excellent attendee engagement metrics that can be used to analyze behavior and improve future event offerings.
Increase Reach: Physical events have many attendance barriers. Travel, timing, cost, and more. Providing an online attendance option removes many of these barriers and opens the event to a wider audience.
Hybrid events are the way of the future, and they will allow more audiences to connect with your brand in the coming years. Use hybrid events for your marketing needs, especially brand awareness and growth generation!
Host Stellar Hybrid Events with Accelevents!
Accelevents is a comprehensive event management platform that makes hosting all event types: hybrid, virtual, and in person, a breeze. With robust registration and ticketing tools, integrated live streaming capabilities, video editing tools, custom branding options, website building, native gamification options, data capture capabilities, and friendly customer support, Accelevents is the only platform you need!Contact us today to get started!
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