What is a hybrid event and why might you consider hosting one?

Hybrid events may have been around a while, but they have been catapulted into the spotlight more recently due to COVID 19 and the new restrictions around social distancing. So what are they and why might you want to consider one? We have some answers below.

What is a hybrid event?

A hybrid event is a tradeshow, conference, seminar, workshop or other meeting that combines a "live" in-person event with a "virtual" digital or online component. Hybrid events should aim to offer a similar experience to an attendee of a live event, as that of the online event, giving both parties the option to participate in live Q&As, interact with speakers and network.

At their best, these hybrid events offer an advanced experience for both audiences; digital information and an augmented 'virtual' experience laid on top of the 'in-the-room' one. Or a high produced on screen production to bring the atmosphere of the conference into a remote space.

Why would I consider a hybrid event?

Due to social distancing guidelines venues are unable to work to full capacities at the present time and a number of your delegates may feel uncomfortable - or not be allowed - to attend a live event. Running a hybrid event offers your delegates choice and will help you maximise your impact by reaching a wider audience unrestricted by geography.

This can still work within a venue space as well, especially if social distancing guidelines could disrupt your event. By creating a virtual event , you may decide to split your delegates across multiple spaces within the venue, but connect them virtually to one stage. Again, by making these events hybrid from the outset, the experience of every delegate will be the same high standard.

How much more will a hybrid event cost vs a live event in one venue?

The cost of a hybrid event will vary depending on several factors, including virtual audience size, specific AV technical and production needs, and the physical format of the event e.g. if you're event has numerous areas such as an exhibition, main plenary, multiple seminars then this would be a more timely hybrid event to plan and therefore would require a higher budget than an event that has only one stage.

We have put together a number of straightforward packages to offer guidance on a 'from price' which can be viewed here.

Will a hybrid event require more budget than just hosting a live event?

No not necessarily, there are lots of considerations to weigh up. If you are reducing your original numbers for the live event you may save on items such as catering, accommodation, corporate gifts and printing.

Don't also discount the many opportunities that a hybrid events creates for the organiser to engage delegates pre and post the main event. The essence of a hybrid event is that it leaves a digital footprint for content to be accessed 'On Demand' after the event, but that audiences have a chance to gain information, content before the event even starts.

Where do I start with planning a hybrid event?

Start by thinking about what you are trying to achieve and have an idea of audience size and format for your event. You may even wish to send out a survey to your target audience to gauge an idea of numbers for the live option versus the virtual option.

After that, really try and imagine the different audiences and where they will be as they 'attend' the event, from a room next door, to a bedroom on the other side of the world. How can you create an experience for each one that is genuinely engaging.

Once you have an idea of this, we would recommend getting in touch with our team who are fully equipped to offer guidance on hybrid events.

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