This year has been a whirlwind for the entire world, in particular the event industry. International conferences and live events were postponed and cancelled as event planning services faced an insurmountable challenge: how to arrange events with social distancing and lockdowns in place? As a consequence, hybrid events became the norm.
What are Hybrid Events?
Hybrid events are exhibitions, seminars, conferences, and trade shows that combine virtual platforms with in-person event elements. For instance, you can host a business conference in the UK while at the same time; your live-streaming sessions can be shown to clients, employees, and the general public across the world. Due to the nature of the event, you can't hire a traditional event planner; you need to look for virtual event services.
How to Leverage Hybrid Events?
To make the most out of hybrid events, you have to make sure that your venues aren't only offering free Wi-Fi, they boast an exceptional Wi-Fi. Also, you have to equip it with sufficient bandwidth to support contemporary event technologies, such as AR/VR. In order to leverage hybrid events, here are some tips that can help you:
Think About the Cameras
A camera is necessary for developing a stunning visual experience. While figuring out how many or what kind of camera to use, think about the following:
Will the event require close-ups? Are three or more angles required? If yes, then you have to procure multiple cameras. In that case, you have to secure a switcher. Also, assign an individual who can choose the right camera angles.
Also, consider the screen size of those who will view the stream. Your camera must support all screen sizes. Next, there is also the HD question -- will the stream show it?
Provide the Right Microphones
Wireless lavalier microphones are ideal as they minimize ambient noise and make you sound good on camera. Get someone to operate the audio equipment that has an eye on the audio board, turning the microphones on/off when required. This way, the mics cannot be left on accidentally, preventing subpar audio experience to affect your event. If there is going to be Q&A session at any point, see to it that mic runners can give the wireless handheld mics to the audience.
Get a Reliable Internet Connection
An Internet connection reserved only for the live stream is important. This way, no one from the site can connect to it and use up the bandwidth. Wired support is essential for this technology, so don't go the wireless route.
Assign Technical Support
Assign someone on the site who has a complete understanding of how to operate the venue equipment and knows about all the important information related to the streaming partners and AV. While filming, they must track changes in lighting as well as focus, which could disrupt the remote attendee experience.
Offer Multiple Channels for Participation
Use emails, hashtags on Instagram and Twitter, and video feed from pop-up venues, so that people can submit their questions and participate seamlessly. Assign someone to track the submissions, field questions, and send them to the speakers quickly.
Hold a discussion with your planner beforehand to ensure that you procure the appropriate equipment -- one that fulfils your audience's requirements. See to it that the electrical setup is configured in advance. Perform thorough testing to detect issues in the equipment. Lastly, allocate some time prior to the event starts and go through the audio, camera, and lighting arrangement.
Why Hybrid Events are the Future?
Hybrid events offer the following benefits:
It is a myth that hybrid events split up your audience .i.e. they either come in person or take part virtually. On the contrary, they expand your reach to a significant extent and produce a higher number of attendees.
According to a study, nearly 98% of attendees who signed up for a hybrid event did not intend to attend in person in the first place. This essentially means that hybrid event generates a new audience who is either unsure whether the event is worth their time or those who simply like to attend it from the comfort of their home.
The addition of a virtual event to a live event brings up several engagement opportunities to the table, one that you would certainly enjoy at a live-only event. Keep in mind that your audience will participate from laptops and mobiles, which means that they can talk, like, comment, and share. For instance, you can run a poll during the session to collect feedback.
If needed, there is also an opportunity to have both the virtual and live attendees connect with each other. Modern event software can help you assign an area for virtual meetings.
Sponsors like hybrid events as 72% of them have shown interest in participating in one. There is some motivation behind this preference. Firstly, hybrid events offer increased reach, which translates to a bigger pool of leads. They aren't limited to interactions with the live audience.
They can interact with the virtual ones, a move that can raise participation at their virtual booths. Secondly, they have endless opportunities to sponsor with event apps and live streams.
Industries around the world are itching to get back to normal, but even if COVID-19 gets wiped out completely, the event industry is never going to be the same again. The ongoing pandemic didn't only cause damage; it also forced industries to innovate with technology, which opened up a wide range of opportunities. One of these epiphanies belong to the event industry; companies have figured out that hybrid events offer tremendous benefits.
In case you are also considering organising a hybrid event, then send a message our way to benefit from one of the best virtual event services.
Sarah Hill is a content writer at Seven Events Ltd, leading virtual event agency offering corporate event management and venue finding services in the UK. She started her career in the events industry almost a decade ago as time progressed she became an avid event blogger sharing her insight on corporate event planning.