HYBRID EVENTS: 11 commonly asked questions.
Updated: Jul 1, 2020
Many event organisers are exploring new ways of bring people together to encourage event attendance.
The combination of virtual events and in-person events isn’t uncharted territory. We have been involved with live streamed events for a long time now, and we have been excited to see the popularity increase and the world embracing the technology.
We have compiled some of the questions we are commonly asked to guide you through making your event format decisions.
Our eleven commonly asked questions.
1. What is a hybrid event?
A hybrid event is a conference, tradeshow, seminar or other meeting that combines an in-person audience at your event with a virtual online audience.
It is a physical meeting in which an online audience also participates.
For example, a conference that hosts an in-person gathering in Auckland can also live stream its sessions to a worldwide virtual audience who can attend by connecting and viewing on their own device.
2. How is a hybrid event different from a virtual event?
A virtual event takes place exclusively online with a virtual audience. Whereas a hybrid event also has a physical venue and attendees.
3. What are some of the advantages of hybrid events?
In a climate where your attendees have become comfortable with virtual attendance it is a popular choice to offer both options: Attend in-person as well as virtually.
Increased Reach: Your attendees can be located worldwide. By removing barriers of travel restrictions and budgetary restrictions you are able to reach more people with your content.
Your in-person event will be restricted to the amount of people able to fit within your venue. By opening up to hybrid, you are able to reach an unlimited virtual audience.
Return On Investment: You may find that a portion of your audience isn’t able to afford physical attendance, but is prepared to purchase access to attend virtually. Selling virtual access to your event in addition to your in-person tickets will boost your ROI. Remember you can use your recorded sessions as promotional collateral in the future, extending your message and brand.
Data: The reporting and data available from your virtual audience is powerful and more readily available than your in-person attendee portion. Tracking virtual event engagement and audience insights is detailed as well as archived, making it available to improve event details in the future.
Extended Message: Reaching people virtually anywhere, you will reach an audience that would otherwise be unachievable. Your unified message will be extended to a wider audience.
4. Does a hybrid event’s in-person and digital sessions need to take place at the same time?
No, not necessarily! It is it a common misconception that all virtual events are live as they are happening. We have found that using a combination of pre-recorded content helps with the running of your virtual event, and allows it to blend in seamlessly with your in-person event.
Another advantage of pre-recorded contend is that the presenters can be recorded and their sessions are made available to online audiences at any time.
An example of a semi-live session is where a virtual audience watches a pre-recorded session and then the presenter jumps on live to answer questions. This allows the timing to be flexible when combining live in-person events with virtual.
5. Should I adapt my content for online participation
We would encourage you to be mindful that online audiences have a shorter attention span. If you plan to stream your live in-person sessions, these should be kept as compact as possible to accommodate both audiences.
See our tips for engagement in number 7. How do I keep my virtual audience as engaged as my face-to-face attendees.
6. Networking is a large part of our in-person event. Is there a way I can provide networking for my hybrid event audience?
Absolutely. A simple way to achieve this is by setting up a virtual breakout room on the online platform that we will set up for you. Your virtual attendees will have access to connect to this room, and are welcome to enter to discuss the topics in your event further, or to introduce themselves to the group and engage in conversation. You could also add the popular feature of a presenter attending the virtual room after their presentation. This provides opportunity for your audience to ask questions and further discuss a topic, as well as the opportunity for your presenter to engage back with your audience.
Another networking idea is to simply create a “happy hour” virtual room to connect all of your virtual attendees.
7. How do I keep my virtual audience as engaged as my face-to-face attendees?
Your online audience will still want to have some of interaction that they would have if they travelled to your event in-person. The secret is ensuring that your online audience has the same engagement features available to them.
We have previously mentioned that keeping your sessions short and compact will help with attention spans.
Other engagement ideas are:
- Live Chat
- Social Wall Feed
8. Where can I record my pre-recorded content?
We offer a studio set up in our premises that can be customised to your requirements. You may wish to have a dynamic LED wall as your background. This can show content/presentations/branding etc.
We can also set you up to stand at a lectern to promote and encourage the formalities of a conference, which is so often lost in the current online world of people sitting at their desks in their home.
Otherwise, your offices or clients offices can be set up to accommodate a suitable area. Remember, we are accustomed to set up equipment in any location.
9. What are some challenges of hybrid event management?
To create a seamless event and keep value for your virtual group, it is important to recognise that each audience will have slightly different needs. Consider adapting content to create a digital experience that keeps your virtual audience as engaged as your in-person participants. Your virtual audience will require a higher level of interaction to keep focus and attendance.
10. Who manages the technology to live stream to my virtual audience?
We can. Your in-person event will very likely have one of our technician(s) operating the audio and visual package, so this is a simple add on in terms of technical support and equipment.
We can have a number of demonstrations and rehearsals prior to your event to ensure you are comfortable with going live in the virtual world.
11. What live streaming platforms do you use.
We offer a range of online platforms that all have slightly different features, integrations and applications. We are happy to suggest the most suitable options once we know the format and features of your event.