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Fuel and Engine: Building marketing teams that can scale

10
Mins Read
Kishore C S

Earlier this year, marketing leaders Emily Kramer and Ketan Pandit discussed fuel and engine, and how to pair them right to get the perfect marketing function. This article has the important highlights from their chat.

Today, we're throwing it back to when Emily Kramer (Cofounder MKT-1) and Ketan Pandit (Head of Marketing, Zuddl) sat down for a fireside chat to discuss the fuel and engine concept and how to pair them right to get the perfect marketing function. 

We've handpicked the highlights of their session in this article; you're welcome!

The growing complexity of marketing

Marketing, especially tech marketing, has grown complex over the years. A number of market-focused tactics have changed. Technology platforms have grown to be a great better, in that they can tell you, with a great deal of accuracy, which ad platforms work better for you. Even a number of marketing roles and titles have widened or altered beyond recognition.

And yet, lots of things about marketing have remained consistent. The foundation of marketing has not, and cannot, change. While marketing is increasingly finding a seat at the revenue table, its primary purpose and mission hasn’t changed. 

With that context, it becomes both interesting and challenging for marketers to build stronger teams that, in turn, can shape the marketing function.

Fuel and Engine in marketing

If you take away all the jargon from marketing and strip it down to its most essential form, you will find the fuel and engine concept in marketing expresses everything that marketing is and needs.

The fuel is the ‘what’ part of marketing. All the content you have developed, all the messages you have crafted, all the creatives your teams churn out… everything that goes out to your audience is the fuel.

The engine is the ‘how’ part of the marketing. All the channels that you use, all the distribution vehicles you deploy to get the message across, all the platforms you leverage, … all of these are a part of your marketing engine.

In brief, fuel is the all the assets you create while engine is your distribution arm.

The most common marketing problems to overcome

No marketing teams are perfect, no matter how large and resource-rich the organization or how experienced the team members. The three most common patterns or problems that marketing teams face are:

1. All fuel and no engine

This is where you have made a whole bunch of content, you have perfected the words after having spent a lot of time. But unfortunately, that content isn’t getting to anyone because you’re not focused on distribution.

The key problem: You have the ‘what’ but are missing on the ‘how’.

2. All engine and no fuel

The website is ready for conversion flows and everything is optimized but the messaging is almost entirely absent. No matter what stage your website visitor is at, you hit them with the same message. You ignore other things and only put the request-demo message in the loop.

The key problem: You have the ‘how’ ready but the ‘what’ isn’t in place.

3. Wrong engine, wrong fuel

You have a great engine, but unfortunately it’s meant for a different business model, not yours. The messaging is neat and all ready, you’re sending it through the wrong engine.

The key problem: There’s a clear mismatch between your fuel and your engine.

What marketing needs to focus on

Sales is focused on crushing revenue goals month after month, quarter after quarter. But what does marketing do?

Sure, marketing needs to be supporting the sales function in achieving the short-term revenue goals. But in addition to that, marketing should be able to build for long-term growth. And that’s done in a variety of ways. 

It could be through the following five actions:

  1. Building the brand: Your customers know and trust you, and recall your brand so well that they will continue buying even if you’ve dropped your paid promotion budget.
  2. Creating customer evangelist: It could be through UGC (User Generated Content) or finding and highlighting customers who are keen to share their positive experience with your brand.
  3. Going beyond numbers: Your marketing teams should have at least a few goals that are not number-based. Instead, make sure they’re building the fuel for the future.
  4. Always be experimenting: If you aren’t constantly running experiments on your homepage all the time, you’re wasting the traffic. Your marketing teams need the experiments and their learnings to keep improving their strategy. 
  5. Studying all kinds of results: Some of your experiments won’t have great results, but you can learn from them all the same. Learn even from the traffic that doesn’t convert.

The definitive solution: Building your marketing team

It is evident that what worked for some other company won’t work for yours. That’s because all organizations are different. So one thing to do is to build a framework that will work for you.

More importantly, build the right team and you can prevent or overcome all sorts of marketing challenges. So how do you build a marketing team?

The conventional approach - the T-shaped person

Traditionally, people would suggest you hire a T-shaped person.

A T-shaped person is someone who is great in one area and has general knowledge across all the rest of the areas. Startups often do this - they get someone that’s really deep in one area, but doesn’t have much breadth. 

A better approach - hire the π-shaped person 

Times are changing, and you want your hiring strategy to change accordingly. 

A π shaped person is someone who is an expert in one area, and pretty competent in another area. And he has a good general knowledge across all the rest of the areas. Think of a product marketer who also can write well. Basically, you should be looking for a person with skill overlaps.

What about hiring contractors and freelancers?

Sometimes it’s easier to hire for your own teams, and at other times it makes more sense to have a contractor or an agency.

But how do you make a choice between hiring a full-timer and hiring an agency?

Sure, you can outsource a number of people or agencies for lots of tasks. But even after you’ve signed up with the best agency, how do you make sure they deliver the right quality?

An important thing to remember is that contractors and freelancers, no matter how good, will only be as good as you can manage them and guide them. They aren’t going to be great if they’re not given guidance and context for the company. 

So this is the crux: Activities that require deep expertise are best left to contractors if you’re not going to need that on a regular basis. Contractors have been working on the same thing over and over again, for a long, long time. Also, for work that’s done in spikes, i.e. at irregular intervals should be outsourced.

And with the work from home model widely accepted, it’s easier for people to work from where they want. That brings in a lot of different kinds of people you probably wouldn’t have been able to hire earlier.

As for your own teams, be really clear on goals upfront. When you’re building a startup, you want people to know what they’re working toward. 

Psst... More of a listener than a reader? Listen to Emily and Ketan's conversation here.

Virtual Events
Hybrid Events

What are micro events and how can they grow your business?

8
Mins Read
Kishore C S

Learn how to improve your virtual and hybrid events for engagement and involvement to create more profitable and memorable experiences. Discover how you can tap the true potential of micro events.

It’s no secret that events are one of the best ways to source leads for your business. In fact, one study even found almost 7 out of every 10 respondents (68%) used events to generate qualified leads. Hybrid events, in particular, present tons of opportunities for marketing, because they combine the advantages of both in-person and virtual events. 

Against that, B2B marketing is turning more complex. Stiffening competition, compliance, and a host of other factors are leading to sales cycles that are longer than ever before. 

Fortunately, marketers have found that micro events are just the right solution to drive growth.

But before we talk about how micro events can grow your business, let’s understand what micro events are and what benefits they bring to the marketing table.

What are micro events?

Micro events are small sized events that are designed to drive better engagement and connection with a smaller audience.They are more often virtual or hybrid than in-person, and that’s for a number of reasons. For instance, attendees at virtual microevents don’t have to worry about health hazards or social distancing regulations. Even if there is in-person attendance, with hybrid micro events the small number of in-person attendees makes it easier for the organizer to manage and comply.

What is perhaps most interesting about micro events is that they can be either completely independent, stand-alone events or run-up events leading to a bigger, overarching event. In the latter case, they provide both a window during which to better engage the audience and a promotional activity with which to drum up the excitement ahead of the marquee event.

Consider the annual Salesforce conference that will be held in San Francisco very soon. Despite being a big, respected brand, Salesforce doesn’t want to take chances in making the event a big success. As a result, they will arrange multiple micro events whose different themes will dovetail with the goal of the annual conference. 

How micro events can grow your business

Some of the benefits of organizing micro events are pretty obvious. For example, they are easier to organize and promote, since you are looking at a much smaller number of attendees. 

In addition to that, micro events present very real, very achievable opportunities to grow your business. Here are the five important ways your business can grow with micro events

1. Micro events provide better interaction

Over 45% of marketers target generating pipelines through virtual events. That can be possible only when the event provides you with opportunities for quality interactions. 

By the very virtue of their small size, micro events make it possible for every attendee to participate. Smaller group sizes encourage people to interact with one another. Detailed conversations help you understand the pain points of your target audience at a deeper level.

Later, you can use these insights to frame your solution in the language that resonates with your audience. And don’t forget that better interaction is also a major reason why micro events are easier to sell!

2. Micro events offer complete flexibility

So what happens when we say micro events give you better opportunities to interact? Collecting insights is a great outcome, yet there’s more: flexibility to re-pivot.

Let’s imagine you’re holding a micro event where you originally intended to discuss how your digital platform can offer competitive intelligence. But right off the bat you figure out that the challenge your audience faces is not so much of the insights as is of interpreting those insights. 

While it may appear to deviate from the original goal, you can actually repivot the event in order to walk your audience through how to use the insights. This helps your audience get real value from the event, value that translates to superior attendee experience. 

If you were to be organizing a big event, chances are such a pain point may not have reached you - and even if you could figure it out, it’d not be possible to shift the focus because of the sheer size and preparations for the event.

3. Micro events means more hands-on activities

Imagine your Chief Product Officer is on the stage, the in-person audience is 100 strong and there are another 350 virtual attendees. How easy would it be for your CPO to carry out a deep-dive  product demo and hold the audience’s attention for an hour?

Chances are, it’d be tricky. That’s because in front of a large audience, such product demos can quickly slide into being one-way communication - the speaker talking and the audience listening (or at least politely giving that impression). Engagement levels can drop pretty fast, you know.

On the other hand, detailed product demos can be interactive and engaging in micro events. Because of the extremely small number of people attending, everyone gets an opportunity to ask questions and get involved. What’s more, the smaller numbers enable the presenter to easily gauge the non-verbal cues of the audience and make extempore changes.

In essence, product demos are one of the many hands-on activities that you can carry out in micro events but probably not in huge events.

4. Micro events means you conserve resources

This one’s so obvious that we don’t need to elaborate this too much.

Micro events, because they involve small numbers, are very budget-friendly. A location that could accommodate, say, 250 people could itself cost you upwards of $3,000 for the venue alone. In contrast, micro events are far less expensive. 

Besides, when you have very small numbers for in-person event, or an entirely virtual event, your cost of compliance for pandemic related regulations drops drastically. Don’t forget that social distancing norms in certain locations could require you to hire twice the size of the venue you’d otherwise need, which could be a big drain in your budget.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you’re skimping on the efficiency or data security of the event. At Zuddl, for instance, we take data security very seriously. We regularly conduct third-party penetration tests, vulnerability testing and similar audits so that your attendees and speakers get a completely safe and pleasant experience. 

5. Micro events allow you to respond faster

The past decade or so has been marked by disruptive forces and few, if any, industries are left untouched. In that context, organizing huge events that require months of planning and organizing face an unpleasant risk of being labeled obsolete.

The pace of change everywhere creates an unusual challenge. You plan to add value by drawing attention to and discussing a major industry challenge. However, some unprecedented changes that happen elsewhere can suddenly reduce the value of what you were trying to deliver.

Let’s say you begin organizing a huge event around a big problem your industry is battling with. But when the actual event happens three months later, things might have changed enormously. Regulations might have changed, some disruptive startup might have at least partially solved the problem, some alternative methods might have emerged, rendering the problem largely irrelevant… any of these can take the steam out of your event. While this doesn’t happen often, the risk is always looming large.

Micro events represent agility. You plan, promote and make it happen in a matter of 2 or 3 weeks. This speed presents a dual advantage. One, you are not at a risk of being seen as outdated. And two, you can respond faster and enjoy the early mover advantage. 

Opportunities ahead

What The New York Times said in 2010 remains true today … “(events need) to generate interest and convert that into actual leads...” Virtual and hybrid events of all sizes do exactly that and that’s why they are here to stay; each kind comes with its unique strengths. 

So if you’re wondering where to begin, learning about how a powerful end-to-end platform can hugely simplify things for you is a good place. And because technology has grown sophisticated than ever, be demanding in what to expect from the platform. The security of the platform, its integrations, its ability to encourage and smoothen networking, give you a consolidated solution for your entire event lifecycle… all this and more will tell you if the platform is a good fit for you.

Marketing
Virtual Events

4 marketing lessons from our chat with Dave Dabbah

5
Mins Read
Kishore C S

Here are 4 marketing lessons you'll love from our recent webinar with Dave Dabbah, CMO of Robocorp

‍If you’ve been following our webinars, you’ll know that we recently featured Dave Dabbah, CMO, Robocorp on a fireside chat about marketing, events and beyond. In case you missed it, you can always watch it on demand here or listen to this podcast that captures the essence of the conversation.

Tell you what, let us spoil you silly by telling you the best parts of our conversation with Dave Dabbah in this blog. It can’t get easier, can it?

Here are four lessons you can take away from our webinar with Dave Dabbah:

Let your passion and curiosity fuel you

Follow your passion

According to Dave, it's important for marketers to let curiosity and passion drive their work. He gives his own experience as a kid to illustrate this point.

“Back in the day, my friends would get copies of Sports Illustrated while I was getting copies of Ad Age and Media Week as a child. It was fascinating, you know, cuz like you'd be reading about products and then, two months later you'd actually see the television spot, you’d feel like you had some, some inside sort of knowledge about what was happening with brand development even at a young age.”

Don’t be afraid to explore different avenues

Explore and experiment

Dave also highlights the usefulness of having worked in different roles before taking up a marketing role, highlighting how knowledge and experience in other functions can add a lot of value to storytelling.

“Having had a bit of a sales background and a business development background, sort of coming into the Silicon Valley, I felt like that really benefited me, um, a lot. And, and one of the things I tell young marketers today who are just graduating from college, is this; don't be afraid to go into sales, for, for a couple years, you know, experience what the sales people are experiencing. And that will make you a, a far better, especially B2B marketer.”

Don’t go for a one-size-fits-all approach

One size doesn't fit all!

Some of you may already know this, but what Dave says about distinguishing the marketing needs of a big corporation from a B2B startup is worth reading multiple times.

“B2B marketing is significantly harder than marketing a consumer brand. Those are, you know, sort of two different things, entirely. A lot of what we've seen with some of the really successful big brands in the Silicon Valley and the enterprise software space over the years is [that] they end up using a lot of consumer marketing tactics to put their brands into the marketplace. 

And, that's great, when you are, you know, IBM and you have, a hundred million, television budget for a 12 month period, but when you are a startup in the B2B space, how do you really get your brand message out in an effective way? I think, you know, over, over the years, that's something I've gotten, you know, pretty good at, um, trying to figure out.”

Repurposing content is the way forward

Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose!

As he talks about getting back to doing events, Dave makes a great case for repurposing content as a long-term marketing strategy.

“When we got back to events during the pandemic, we were not just spending money on the event, you know, before the event or during the event, but also actually getting content out of the event that could be repurposed and reused, down the road.”

Want more of these marketing gems? Go watch the webinar on-demand now. 

Virtual Events
Engagement

Driving value co-creation at virtual events: with the attendee, for the attendee

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Attendees are no longer passive bystanders but partners and constituents with the power to co-create content with their community. Here's how organizers can help them express themselves

In 2014, the LEGO Group launched LEGO® Ideas.

The goal was to create a platform where passionate fans and creators could share ideas for LEGO products, give feedback and vote, with the most convincing ideas turned into official LEGO® kits. And as a result, it is why today we have the brilliant Vincent Van Gogh: Starry Night, the intimidating Earth Globe, and the iconic Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. These are direct results of co-creation.

What is co-creation and why is it worth reading about

Prahalad and Ramaswamy in their journal article ‘Co‐creating unique value with customers’, define co-creation as “the joint creation of value by the company and the customer; allowing the customer to co-construct the service experience to suit their context.” In simpler terms, it is when a company and a group of its customers, jointly produce something that is mutually valuable.  

The value, it’s important to note,  is in the experience. And as J. Pine and Gilmore put it in their piece ‘Welcome to the Experience Economy,  “An experience occurs when a company intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event.”

Why is co-creation especially important at virtual events?

In today’s digital-first world, with attention-spans shrinking and Zoom fatigue so prevalent that it has its own page on Wikipedia, consumers need more than traditional audience engagement strategies in return for their attention, time, and energy. That’s where co-creation can make a difference at your virtual events.

Because co-creation involves the participation of stakeholders, they switch from being mere consumers to active contributors. It’s a shift in perspective, but an important one. Attendees are no longer passive bystanders at virtual Stages, listening to speakers present at sessions, and simply watching on.

They now become partners and constituents with the power to co-create content with their community.

This is why Twitch, the American video live streaming service, is incredibly popular - with 30 million daily active users and 2.5 million people watching Twitch streams. Co-creating entertainment is at the heart of its success. “For unfamiliar audiences, Twitch is certainly a platform that is heavy on interaction and different types of input, and that is part of its formula and beauty for dedicated users”,  writes Dr. Nicolle Lamerichs in a paper titled ‘Material Culture on Twitch’. “Each stream is perhaps best read as a community or experience, rather than a content or story. It is in the interaction that Twitch becomes interesting, and in the ways in which audiences actively tune in and out of different streams.

This is the approach to engagement that virtual event organizers now need to adopt.

Three ways to improve co-creation at virtual events

1. Tools to empower co-creation

[Consumers] want to engage, interact and influence brands, seeking to ‘exercise their influence in every part of the business system’ (Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2004). Extrapolating this to virtual events means that every single attendee has influence,  so event organizers need to be proactively looking for ways to help them express themselves. To this end, engagement tools in-built on a virtual event platform like the following are invaluable.

  • A Chat function on your virtual event platform for instance enables multiple individuals to have a dialogue. Attendees can let speakers, each other and you as an organizer know what they really think about the content being shared. It also helps to create the effect of a shared experience regardless of how the attendee is joining the event, and in turn, a sense of community. For the individuals involved, the value of contributing to the group chat can be psychological, driving feelings of appreciation, and higher self-esteem.
Example of the Chat tool used at a virtual event
  • A Raise Hands feature (like Zuddl has) that lets an attendee join speakers on the virtual stage to ask them questions directly ‘face-to-face’ and join in conversations in  a way that makes the entire experience more immersive.
An example of the Raise Hand feature used at a virtual event
  • A Q&A tool emboldens attendees to ask questions as part of a group in a way that they might have felt uncomfortable doing so at a traditional in-person event.
Example of the Q&A used at a virtual event
  • Polls in particular actively promote an interactive viewing experience. They maintain that human connection by preserving the in-the-moment experience.
  1. Speakers, for instance, can use a Poll during a session to gauge opinions of attendees, and use the results to steer the direction of the remainder of the session so as to truly drive value and insights for attendees. 
  2. Organizers can leverage Polls as the beginning point of a back-and-forth exchange to collect feedback and market research from attendees and use the input and insights to improve your features, brand or business.
An example of the Polls tool used at a virtual event

2.  “What’s in it for them?” is the question you need to answer

Gamification used at a virtual event

Getting hundreds of attendees to do more than drop by your virtual event platform can be daunting. Not surprisingly, incentivization is one motivation. For virtual event organizers, gamification is the best way to achieve this. Simply put, just like with any point-based game or video game, gamification is the application of elements like the completion of tasks, earning badges, points, rankings, and the setting up of leaderboards with prizes for the toppers to visually encourage participants to achieve goals.

What this means is that you, as the organizer, can use gamification in virtual events to nudge attendees towards meaningful interactions that produces high-quality content and which can boost engagement among a wider audience. It’s a simple and fun way to drive value for all stakeholders - attendees, sponsors, partners, and your organization too. For instance, if the purpose of your event is to highlight a new product at a virtual conference or summit, you can incentivize actions to get feedback from attendees or suggestions on features to help improve it.

Keep in mind though that compensation is not necessarily the only motivator. McKinsey’s research on ten co-creation projects found that most participants  (28%) were  driven by curiosity and a desire to learn, followed by those who were driven by entertainment and social play (26 %), and a third motivated by building skills (26 %). Therefore, using gamification based on these motivations might result in a more valuable experience for attendees and in the long run, for your business.

3. Zero latency is mission critical

There is absolutely no room for live streaming lags or delays at your virtual event. Even a 30 second lag can make the difference between your attendees feeling like they’re watching a great looking Youtube video that gets stuck buffering, or  the intimacy and sense of community created by a speaker/presenter reacting to questions, suggestions and comments by attendees in real time.

The  immediacy provided by a zero lag platform is integral to generating more authentic interactions between co-creators.

To sum up…

Embracing co-creation isn’t easy, but the potential rewards can be significant. If virtual event organizers are able to provide modern consumers with the specialized viewing experience that they’re looking for, it can help build a culture of innovation and collaboration, strong relationships with invested constituents which in turn can result in business benefits down the road. Just ask LEGO.

Hybrid Events

Busting 5 myths about hybrid events

4
Mins Read
Kishore C S

We bust the 5 most common misconceptions about hybrid events.

In the context of modern day business, hybrid events occupy a special place. That’s because such events bring creative opportunities with which growth marketers can attract customers, generate revenue, and drive growth.

Hybrid events - events that engage both in-person and virtual attendees equally well - aren’t new. But after the pandemic, marketers have rediscovered some of the unique benefits of hybrid events. 

With hybrid events, attendees and speakers are not constrained by locations. That helps your business create brand awareness and expand your footprint across different geographies a lot more easily. Which is why you see (and likely attend) so many of them these days.

And yet, some amount of confusion and a handful of myths about hybrid events prevail. Some organizers are unsure of the hardware required for hybrid events. A huge myth, for example, is that live-streaming an in-person event makes the event a hybrid event. 

This post looks at the 5 principal myths about hybrid events. We hope dispelling them will help you better see the true value of hybrid events. Here goes!

Myth 1: The virtual element of a hybrid event will reduce in-person attendance

A red arrow faltering downwards is held by a woman struggling under its weight

Because you don’t need to travel in order to be a part of it, hybrid events are easier to attend. This makes organizers feel that once people begin to attend virtually, they would avoid attending an event in-person altogether.

The fact is quite the opposite. In nearly all cases, your audience for virtual attendance vis-a-vis in-person attendance is different. Your virtual audience is often people who haven’t been to your events earlier. They are, therefore, there to explore and see how things go. 

Moreover, virtual audiences and in-person attendees have different expectations from the activities you conduct during the events. For example, your in-person attendees can get into treasure hunt games while your virtual attendees might be checking out the virtual fairs on the platform.

Finally, there’s the question of venue capacity. Your in-house attendance is restricted by the size of the hall you’re holding the event in. This limiting factor requires you to know a few days to weeks in advance how many people will be attending physically. You can practically never accommodate people at the last moment at an in-person event, because the venue can house only so many people. 

In contrast, you can keep the link for virtual attendants open almost till the last moment. People with unpredictable schedules naturally prefer virtual attendance. 

Myth 2: Organizing hybrid events is a complicated task

Two men shout at each other through loud speakers - their dialogue is represented by a black jumble of swirls

To be honest, hybrid events can only be as good as the platform you choose for the virtual segment of the event. Anything standard and you lost the ability to really create a valuable and meaningful experience for your remote attendees.

Sure, anything that’s successful takes planning and coordination and all that, but hybrid events are not even half as intimidating as some people make them out to be. An intelligent platform for hosting hybrid events takes away the pain and nightmares you’d commonly associate with organizing hybrid events. 

Further, there are two clear reasons why organizing a hybrid event is easy. One, the platform will have the technology sorted out so you don’t need to lose sleep over the event. And two, adding a new virtual attendee doesn’t need any additional effort, nor does it take any substantial increase in resources. Which means you can keep promoting the event without worrying whether you will be able to accommodate larger numbers.

Myth 3: Hybrid events don’t engage attendees adequately

A man sits on a blue block with pink whirlpool for a head

If you have the right platform for your hybrid events, attendees will be engaged more than adequately.

Latency is a good example where a robust platform can make the difference between a dazzling event and poor experience. For instance, Zuddl works on a zero latency streaming basis. That means you can eliminate relay lags of upto 40 seconds, something that’s common with dated technologies like RTMP, notorious for glitches and gaps.

Without the time lag, speakers, in-person audience and virtual audience get the same, fulfilling experience. Conversations between contributors and attendees flow smoothly. Virtual attendees also get an immersive experience as they go live on the LED screen at the in-person venue. Little wonder that engagement hits a homerun every time!

Myth 4: Hybrid events may have very limited opportunities for sponsors

A woman hangs upside down reaching towards a gold dollar

Honestly, we don’t know where this myth originated from. 

Paradoxically, the truth is the exact opposite: hybrid events actually present more opportunities to the sponsors. Here is why: sponsors can place their logos and brochures and other promotional materials at more places than they can in purely physical events. That’s because there is little to no space restriction.

Secondly, sponsors have a much better shot with contextual placement of their material. Whenever a virtual attendee specifically shows interest in a certain kind of product or service, the sponsor will be able to display relevant material.  In this situation the sponsor knows they are talking to their audience at just the right time.

Finally there is the benefit of the wide reach unlike a purely in-person event - a hybrid event gives sponsors access to a global audience. That means sponsors can reach much bigger numbers,  generate a larger number of leads and actually sell their product or service in a geography they normally weren't able to serve earlier.

Myth 5: Hybrid events are only relevant during the pandemic

Three people sit apart from each other with laptops

During the pandemic, some people felt hybrid events were more like a stop-gap arrangement and that once things returned to normal, hybrid events would vanish. Not surprisingly, this has not happened.

All the stakeholders including contributors, organizers, sponsors and attendees have discovered that hybrid events make great business sense. Organizers have made enormous investments in terms of resources and commitment for hybrid events - naturally they want hybrid events to stay.

It might sound a little unusual, but the way hybrid events have been successful, it makes us feel that hybrid events would have happened anyway, pandemic or no pandemic. That’s because hybrid events enjoy some unique benefits that organizers and sponsors do not wish to lose.

Your next event

Growth marketing is all about being agile and adopting efficient methods to seek new customers. As more marketers begin embracing hybrid events, there’s no reason for your organization to hold back. 

Now that this article has debunked the major myths of hybrid events, you’ll want to understand how such events can work for you, and more importantly, how you’ll go about organizing one. And if you’re like most businesses, you’ll want to first learn about the setup and logistics of hybrid events. So why not drop us a line - we're here to help you throughout the event lifecycle, from coming up with custom-fit strategies for your use case - and of course in technical support and problem solving.

Hybrid Events

Back to the basics: the ultimate guide on how to set up your first hybrid event step-by-step

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Learn exactly how to go about setting up a hybrid event from scratch.

Hybrid events are poised to be the future of MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences & exhibitions) events as well as internal events (company offsites, sales kickoffs, new hires onboarding sessions etc.) for organizations. So the need for organizers to know how to set up a seamless and engaging hybrid event is more critical than ever. 

It can be intimidating, we know. So, to make this process more straightforward, and to ease your trepidation, we’ve put together a simple guide on how you can go about hosting your first hybrid event.

1. Pick your hybrid event venue(s) carefully

A checklist

Choosing the venue(s) for your event is a little trickier than it seems. Not only do you need to keep the basics in mind - attendee capacity, technology capabilities - but you also have to factor in safety and health protocols and guidelines. And if you want your event to be as eco-friendly as possible, there is an additional set of factors to consider. Click here to read more.

Nevertheless, here are the basics you need to look for in a hybrid venue:

  • Robust internet connectivity
  • Space for attendees and any equipment needed (stage, lighting etc.)
  • Provides in-house support
  • Lets you hold dry runs 
  • Has safety measures in place

Click here to read a further breakdown of these basics.

2. Choose the right virtual and hybrid event platform

Four people stand around a table made of jigsaw puzzle pieces

This is the big one. Finding a virtual and hybrid event platform that can help you execute a seamless event experience for all your attendees, regardless of whether they are attending in-person or virtually is mission critical. 

The platform you pick will have to serve as the connective tissue between attendees and speakers,  attendees in different locations and venues in different locations as well. So here’s what is essential:

  • Zero lag: A platform that lets you present your stream to your attendees in the lowest latency environment and eliminate the typical RTMP delay.
  • User-friendliness: No matter how much a platform boasts of its capabilities, it won’t make a difference to you as an organizer or as an attendee if the platform is not easy to use. Look for platforms that allow you to build in days instead of weeks, and that require no knowledge of coding for the creation of the virtual venue.
  • Customizability: Customization enables effective branding, marketing, and audience engagement - all critical to the success of an event, and in generating ROI for an organizer. Needless to say, organizing a virtual trade show is going to require different elements than a virtual sales kickoff, so the more flexibility a platform has in accommodating your needs and specifications, the better.
  • Live engagement tools: Build a sense of community in your event with engagement tools such as Chat, Q&A, Polls, Emoji & Raise Hands that enable attendees to participate irrespective of where they are. For instance, for events hosted on Zuddl, virtual attendees use the in-platform tools to take part, while in-person attendees  use our mobile app. This way all interactions are facilitated and captured via a single platform. 
  • Networking capabilities: A platform that lets virtual, and in-person attendees and speakers connect in virtual booths and also network in real-time via the mobile app.
  • Analytics: Your platform should let you capture a breadth and depth of real-time data from both in-person and virtual attendees at your events — including daily attendance, audience engagement and more. 

While these are the essentials required, click here to read other important questions to remember when evaluating platforms for your event. 

3. Set up your virtual venue

A group of people all holding different shapes in their hands, try to fit them together

As mentioned, based on how user-friendly the hybrid event platform you pick is, setting up the virtual venue can take from hours to weeks, so factor this into your planning timetable.

When setting up your virtual venue, keep in mind that you’re trying to create an experience that is exciting enough to rival a Netflix show or a sale on Amazon. Therefore, curating a variety of spaces and activities, such as the following,  is key to retaining attendee attendance, attention and engagement. 

  • Lobby: Event lobbies can help people remember you vs the 5 other events they may be joining that week. Using our platform tools, you can create a warm, welcoming, exciting area that sets the tone for your brand, event, and customer experience.
  • Stages: Stages usually play centerstage at any event. This is where virtual attendees can view live keynotes, panel discussions, roundtables that are occuring at the in-person venue(s). Stages should have engagement tools that attendees and speakers can use to share opinions and join in the conversation. The layouts should also be customizable, so that you can add your company branding to the backdrop or that of your sponsors to drive visibility and awareness for them. Protip: Zuddl offers event organizers a Backstage feature that enables easy management and coordination of speakers and content. With this capability, you can control the rotation of speakers, pre recorded content and transition videos and images, and stay on top of timing. Click here to read more. 
  • Virtual breakout rooms: Rooms in which attendees can meet and talk in smaller groups help drive more in-depth conversations and create a ‘shared experience’ for in-person and virtual attendees. You can use Rooms for a variety of purposes, from team brainstorms and workshops to just casual social rooms where attendees can socialize and talk about sessions happening on the stage.
  • Expo area: Setting up a virtual expo zone enables your sponsors and partners to create virtual expo booths to showcase their products and services. It's a great way to drive value for them, and for attendees as well.
  • Fun zones: There’s plenty of opportunity to make your event an exciting one for attendees to spend time at. You can turn one of your Expo Booths into a photobooth for instance to make your event just that little bit more fun, interactive and memorable for your attendees, or set up virtual games. 

4. Brand everything

A large part of creating a hybrid experience that feels unified and shared is branding, because consistent branding throughout the event, at both the in-person venue and your virtual one, ties both experiences together.

With this in mind, you should completely brand the in-person venue with your company decor and signage, and use similar videos, colors and graphics for your virtual venue as well. This helps in creating a shared and connected experience. 

“Creating a polished and branded meeting venue was very important for us from the beginning,” says Lindsay Meyers, Senior Director, Office of Special Events of the University of Maryland (UMD) when discussing how the UMD team set up their first hybrid board meeting.  “Being able to curate every aspect of the experience was critical. We wanted to design everything in a way that trustees would immediately feel they had come to the right place, and also capture the energy, professionalism, and pride of previous Foundation board meetings.” Click here to read more about the event.

5. Stay on top of event communications

A man follows a set of grey stone dot path

While this specific piece of advice is part and parcel of all event planning, it is especially important in the context of hybrid events. You can assume that most of your attendees do not know quite what to expect from a hybrid event, so all your communications to registered attendees should help them understand what to expect. 

Keep in mind that you’ll need to tailor instructions for virtual and in-person attendees.

For in-person attendees for example, you will need to specify guidelines about the in-person venue - where it is, if there are any COVID negative proofs they need to bring, any instructions about checking if, safety protocols in place, etc.  An event schedule, highlighting rooms, activities, and networking opportunities is key, as is explaining how they will be able to connect with virtual event attendees at the event.

For virtual attendees, you will need to share instructions on how to access the event, an event schedule, as well as how they will be able to connect with in-person attendees at the event. Keep in mind that your attendees will be tuning in from all over the world, so share event timings in an accessible way - ie. in PST/ EST. 

6.  Create an engagement strategy that brings in-person and virtual attendees together

Two men and women stand around holding gears in their heads

More than ever before, we’re yearning for human connection. Build your hybrid event engagement strategy around this tenet, and look for ways to connect in-person and virtual attendees in ways that make them feel part of the same shared experience. Here are some suggestions:

  • Pre-event/Pre-session chat: Connecting attendees with even one other person ahead of time can make them feel more excited, comfortable and confident in attending the event and meeting others, and can even embolden them to participate more during the event.
  • Birds of a feather sessions: These sessions, which can be hosted in virtual breakout rooms, can serve as relaxed town hall-like space where like-minded virtual and in-person attendees can chat about their interests, leading to potential collaboration. You can choose to invite a speaker to the session to facilitate group discussions, or you can make it more informal and simply encourage attendees to have unconstrained conversations about set topics. 
  • Speed networking: This type of networking works in a similar fashion to speed dating but with the advantage of AI-matchmaking. It helps attendees connect with others at the event based on similar interests. For this activity, you will need a virtual event platform like Zuddl that has this capability. Click here to read more. 
  • Stage interactions - Plan in live sessions that shake things up, get everyone energized and create a greater sense of connection. At these sessions, you’ll need to play the role of a thoughtful moderator - using Polls to remind all attendees that their opinions matter in real-time, and encourage everyone to ask questions using Gamification - via the mobile app or using the event platform.  These simple actions can go a long way in making each of your attendees feel ‘seen’ and valued, and will encourage them to keep participating.
  • Virtual watch parties - One of the advantages of virtual Breakout Rooms is that attendees within a Room can together watch what’s happening live on a Stage. In this manner, it functions as a Watch Party of sorts. It’s a great way to intertwine virtual and in-person attendees in real-time. 

7.  Use analytics to uncover relevant insights, faster

Three people stand below a symbol of a lightbulb, a set of gears and a graph diagram

One of the greatest benefits of hosting a hybrid event is that it gives you access to accurate real-time data that you would not otherwise get from a traditional in-person event. This means that with an event platform like Zuddl, you can pinpoint which speakers, sessions and content drive the most interest and participation from attendees, and which are not performing well. 

You can then leverage these insights to make immediate changes (for instance, replacing  poorly performing marketing collateral at an Expo Booth), create valuable follow-up assets (for instance, a downloadable how-to guide related to a session topic), and refine subsequent events (for instance, working again with speakers whose sessions got the most engagement).

To sum up…

We know that organizing a hybrid event can seem intimidating. There seems like a hundred moving parts to keep track of, and not enough time in a day. With this guide, you can go about organizing your event in a calm and purposeful way. Each recommendation will help you build an event experience that is fun, impactful, and memorable.

Over to you

So you just went through the most comprehensive guide for setting up a hybrid event.  From finding the right technology to planning strategies for engagement,  there’s a lot you need to do before the event can be termed a grand success.

Which is why you want to have peace of mind when it comes to the virtual event platform. Choosing a platform that’s extremely user-friendly for both attendee and organizer as well as 100% customizable is one of the smartest decisions you could take. 

We’d be happy to show you how we can help. Why not get in touch with us today?

Hybrid Events
Engagement

5 issues that can torpedo your hybrid event

4
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

From audio-video lag to making virtual attendees feel like second class citizens, here's what can ruin your hybrid event - and what to do about it.

You may not be surprised to hear this, but it still bears repeating: hybrid events are here to stay.

With the value of online events having been firmly established over the past year, but with people excited to be able to meet in-person again now,  organizers are going to find themselves hosting more and more in-person events with a virtual component aka. a hybrid event. To put a number on it - 51% of event marketers are convinced that this kind of conference will stay even after the pandemic subsides - simply because they are "pandemic proof.”

What this means is that event  organizers who half-heartedly trifled with the hybrid event format last year, no longer have the luxury to be complacent anymore in getting a hybrid event right. 

And there’s a lot to get right. 

There’s more to curating a hybrid event than just planning your in-person event and then inviting virtual attendees to tune in. At its essence, a hybrid event is all about bringing attendees together, regardless of their location, to enjoy a shared experience.  Easy to read but not so easy to pull off, especially when you’re not aware of basic errors that could derail your entire event.

To help you out, here are 5 mistakes to eschew when you set out to plan your hybrid event. 

1. Choosing an RTMP-streaming dependent hybrid event platform 

Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) is the de facto method for virtual and hybrid event platforms to stream audio, video, and data over the Internet, meaning that event organizers don’t think twice when the event platform partner of their choice uses RTMP streaming. But this is the biggest mistake organizers and planners can make. 

First, RTMP doesn’t allow for two-way communication which means that your virtual attendees will not be able to speak with your in-person speakers or attendees, which means you’re essentially blocking them from fully participating at the event. 

Second, using RTMP causes a 30 second latency issue which means that virtual attendees will continually feel out of the loop and one step behind in-person attendees. So if you did decide to use RTMP streaming, your speakers and attendees at the venue would have to continually wait for 30 seconds for the virtual audience to react.

Just imagine this scenario at your event:

- Scientist X, speaking at the venue: We’re excited to announce this life-saving new medicine!

- Attendees at the venue:  Cheers and applauds wildly

- Meanwhile, virtual attendees: *crickets*

                                                      10 seconds later… Hello? Scientist X? What’s going on?

                                                      20 seconds later…Hello? Hello?

                                                      30 seconds later…Oh

There should never be a latency issue at your hybrid event. Period. 

The need for organizers now, instead of defaulting to RTMP, is to look for a streaming platform that is zero latency-  like Zuddl.

2. Using a hybrid event platform that makes you compromise on branding

A large part of creating a hybrid experience that feels unified and shared is branding, because consistent branding throughout the event, at both the physical venue and your virtual one, ties both experiences together. However, this can be difficult if your hybrid event platform partner doesn’t have the capability to let you brand the hybrid event your way.

Branding, after all, is much more than slapping a logo and your brand colours on the welcome or login page. It’s about being able to create a look and feel that resonates with your brand, and this can be achieved through creative use of image, video and interactivity. 

So when picking your hybrid event platform, look for the branding ability it gives you. Take for example, this schedule page created by the University of Maryland (UMD) for their hybrid Board of Trustees meeting. Not only does it make clever use of UMD branding, but it also showcases the critical role the Foundation plays, and therefore subtly highlights the importance of the event as well.

The virtual event lobby created by the University of Maryland on Zuddl
The University of Maryland's virtual event lobby

“Creating a polished and branded meeting venue was very important for us from the beginning,” says Lindsay Meyers, Senior Director, Office of Special Events. “Being able to curate every aspect of the experience was critical. We wanted to design everything in a way that trustees would immediately feel they had come to the right place, and also capture the energy, professionalism, and pride of previous Foundation board meetings.”

Click here to read more about this hybrid event.

3. Having an ‘if they like it, they will pay attention’ mindset towards engagement

A women sits at a desk with a laptop. On the upper right hand corner, a hand turns a spotlight towards the woman

We’re betting right now that you have at least another three tabs open, and that you’re reading this piece half distracted by an email you need to read,  a conversation on Slack you need to reply to,  or a Netflix show you have on pause. No judgement - we get it. But like you, your attendees too have a world of distraction at the fingertips, which means that you have to actively work towards keeping their attention at your event. 

Curating great content is, of course, essential but it’s engagement that will differentiate your event sessions from a slick documentary on Youtube. Therefore giving your audience a variety of ways to get involved with your event - from Chat and Q&A to Polls - and using  Gamification to encourage them to keep on  participating is critical to keeping them invested. And this is also a way for all your attendees to feel like they’re at the same event.

4. Downplaying the importance of curating experiences for two audiences

You don’t have to create the same experience for your in-person attendees and your virtual ones.  “It’s really about what you can create even if they are different experiences that’ll make that experience worth it for separate audiences,” says Vedha Sayyaparaju, Co-Founder & CTO at Zuddl. 

For example, you wouldn’t ask virtual attendees to sit and watch live sessions for 4-5 hours like in-person audiences are used to doing. Instead you could consider offering live sessions many times so that virtual attendees can join at a time of their convenience but still build off the energy of a live session with an in-person audience. 

And for instance, if in-person attendees were treated to a live and hands-on demonstration of a product, you might offer virtual attendees exclusive opportunities to meet with experts in an online group for discussion. 

Then, you can bring both audiences together by using virtual Rooms that can be joined by in-person attendees via a mobile app and virtual attendees via the platform, for group discussions.

5. Not using analytics to make quick improvements

Two men stand around a girl with a laptop. Above them are a symbol of a graph a lightbulb, and gears

The biggest benefit of a hybrid event is the ability to learn more about attendee actions at your event in real-time. You’ll be able to see which topics are getting the most interest. You can use polls to capture feedback from attendees.  And you’ll be able to tell what collateral is working and what isn’t. This is all very valuable information that you would not be able to source from a traditional in-person event. 

With this information, you can identify small points of difference to amplify and exploit. For example, if you realize that marketing collateral at your virtual expo booths are failing to drive any engagement or generate any leads, you have the ability to change it immediately and monitor the performance. Or you can action immediate offers and follow-up emails to attendees with higher lead scores.

To sum up…

Hybrid events offer event marketers and organizers an unprecedented opportunity to create a formidable engagement and lead generation vehicle by leveraging the best of both in-person and online event mediums. To get started, keep a watch on the 5 hybrid event pitfalls mentioned in this piece, and take immediate actions to thwart them before they become irreversible. 

Hybrid Events
Hybrid Events

Host a Hybrid Event: Experts Advice

15
Mins Read
Zuddl Staff

Want to refine your understanding of a hybrid event? Check out this curation of expert answers from industry specialists!

Hybrid events are the perfect bridge between virtual and in-person events. They’re also easier to host than you might think.

Despite what you might believe, they don’t require a ton of high-end technology, like virtual reality, augmented reality, holograms, or anything of the sort.

You can make a quality hybrid event with accessible technology that doesn’t require years of experience and expertise.

Keep reading this article published by Porch.com to learn the fantastic advantages of hybrid events as well as advice from professionals.

How Are Hybrid Events Different From a Virtual Event?

Chances are, you have heard about hybrid events before today. According to the research done by etc. venues, 73% of event planners expect hybrid events to become more popular in the future.

At Zuddl, we feel that hybrid events will become the de-facto choice for organizations. And why not! Hybrid events are more inclusive, and sustainable and deliver a higher ROI as compared to traditional in-person or completely virtual events.

But what really differentiates a hybrid event from a virtual one?

Let us dig in:

1. Complexity: For one, hybrid events are much more complex and difficult to execute than only virtual events or in-person events. This is largely due to the fact that the experience for in-person attendees as well as virtual attendees has to be of similar high quality. There can be no exceptions

2. It’s not just about the live-streaming: An in-person event cannot be turned into a hybrid event just by adding a live stream. Sure, live streaming is a core component of a hybrid event, but planners cannot overlook the importance of a bi-directional engagement and live conversations with virtual attendees during the event.

3. Balance: Hybrid events balance the experience of an in-person event with the convenience of a virtual event. With a choice in their hands, attendees can choose to participate in whichever form suits them most, and organizers, on the other hand, can maximize ROI and contribute to their sustainability goals by planning better in-person to virtual ratios. As is evident, one major highlight of the hybrid event model is that it empowers attendees with choice, in that they can choose to either attend the event physically or virtually, based on their convenience. With asynchronous or on-demand content becoming more and more popular, hybrid events can help you better engage with the constantly evolving modern attendee.

Ketan Pandit from Zuddl

What Are Hybrid Events?

"As the events industry evolves, so does the way event organizers and marketers plan and execute events. In recent years, there has been a growing trend of “hybrid” events. So what exactly is a hybrid event? A hybrid event is an event that combines aspects of both online and in-person events. They are becoming increasingly popular, as they offer the convenience of an online event combined with the personal connection of an in-person event.

The physical component is usually a conference or trade show where people can meet in person, and the virtual component is usually a web cast or online meeting where people can participate from anywhere in the world. There are several reasons why hybrid events are becoming increasingly popular. First, they allow event organizers to combine different elements that appeal to different audiences.

This can help increase attendance and create a more well-rounded event experience. Secondly, hybrid events are often less expensive to produce than traditional standalone events. This is because organizers can save money by using shared resources such as venues and staff. Finally, hybrid events offer greater flexibility and creativity for marketers.

While hybrid events can be a lot of fun, there are a few things to keep in mind while planning one. Here are six tips to help make your hybrid event a success:

1. Choose the right mix of activities. It’s important to choose activities that will appeal to your target audience and that will work well together. For example, if you’re planning a hybrid event with a mix of online and in-person activities, make sure the online activities are relevant to the in-person ones.

2. Consider sponsors. Sponsorship not only gets you valuable exposure for your brand but also provides the resources needed to pull off the event. If you can align a corporate sponsor with your event’s theme, it will make it easier for your audience to engage with the sponsorship.

3. Plan ahead. Like any other type of event, planning a hybrid event takes time and careful coordination. Start by putting together a project plan and timeline, and make sure you have the resources you need to pull it off.

4. Create an engaging agenda. A good hybrid event starts with a strong agenda that is designed to engage your audience and build interest in the event. Consider how you can incorporate key messaging and interactive elements into the event, such as live quizzes and q&a sessions.

5. Audience engagement Make the event fun, engaging and memorable. Great hybrid events are interactive, engaging, and fun for your audience. Create an atmosphere that will help build rapport with your readers.

6. Keep it simple. The goal of a hybrid event is to create a unique and compelling experience that will drive your audience to action. So keep the number of sessions and activities to a minimum. Hybrid events allow organizers to be creative and flexible with their planning and programming. Additionally, it provides a way to connect with different audiences, which can help organizations reach their goals."

Sachin Anand from WebMOBI

What Are Some Examples of Successful Hybrid Events?

"Successful hybrid events are the right combination of different ingredients: good planning and strategy, a real integration of in-person and virtual audiences, and the right tools to bring all the attendees together. But, of course, the most successful hybrid events are the ones where you can exceed your goals.

One of our clients, a data performance company, recently hosted a hybrid event with the goal of reaching a broader audience. The event counted with 200 participants on-site, and 500 participants on the event platform and app. This hybrid event is a good case study: the hosts had a well-defined strategy on how to reach their targeted audiences, the video content live streaming strategically showcased not only the stage and the speakers, but also different angles of the on-site audience, and during the event the hosts encouraged participants to engage via the event app, and had a tablet to read the audience comments live, bridging the gap and creating a unifying experience between the in-person and online audiences.

Another company wanted to create their hybrid event platform with an outstanding design, following their in-person event branding. We managed to build together a hybrid event platform and app ahead of the game, empowering the hosts’ team to take out the most of the tool’s features and adapt them to their specific needs. This event gathered more than 3000 participants from more than 100 cities, so it was really important to foster participants’ connections. This company made clever use of the matchmaking tools, allowing participants to connect following their interests. The company also leveraged its social media, creating a huge buzz, and resulting in an awesome number of participants posting their home office, or a selfie attending the event on the go, via the mobile app.

But the success of a hybrid event it’s not only measured while it’s happening but also once the event is over: does the event create long-lasting relationships through its networking activities? Is there an active community that continues to engage once the event is over? Do participants keep their communication with the brand in the long term? If designed with the right strategy, hybrid events will contribute to the success of your company, and will help you to achieve your business goals."

Rita from SCOOCS

What Should Venues Be Equipped With?

"Event venues are the WOW moment for every event. Post pandemic, they need to evolve just like every other physical space like airports, offices, and stadiums. Over and beyond the traditional needs of the event venue here is a list of upgrades the venue needs to be ready with

  1. Be Hybrid Ready – Hybrid events are the new normal. The silver lining of the pandemic was it unlocked the possibilities of a remote attendee. As in-person events make a comeback, venues will need to have all the components of Hybrid events.
  2. Tech-Friendly Venue – Traditionally venues have steered clear from event tech and provided only basic tech like wifi & AV. But today a great differentiator is a partnership with a reliable hybrid event platform.
  3. Make it Safe – As In-person events return venues would need to satisfy all health & safety standards. Take guidance from local health and venue safety authorities on best practices. Ensure yours. The staff is well trained & equipped in cleaning and hygiene techniques
  4. Streamline Event Check-in – Onsite Check-in Technology in the venue is a natural extension of the at-venue event experience. Contactless check-in, Event Check-in apps , and Seamless vaccination validation are must-haves in today’s world.
  5. Quality Internet Connection – With event organizers needing to live stream from the venue, it’s imperative to have blazing fast upload speeds. And don’t just restrict it to the organizers. Today attendee’s come equipped with event apps that require reliable internet too."

Sara Roy from Nunify

What Technology Do Virtual Attendees Require To Join An Event?

"Normally the technologies for connecting to a stream are internet-based technologies. So all the virtual assistant needs is a stable internet connection (either wifi or wired) and access to a web browser. Chrome is usually preferred but, in reality, they work with all of them. From there, each event can be streamed through multiple channels Zoom, Go To Webinar, Meets or platforms such as Youtube Live, Facebook Live, Linkedin Live or Instagram Live also serve this purpose and expand the audience of the event.

When event organizers want to have more control over access to their event, who can and who cannot access their event, they opt for event management software with its own RTMP server to broadcast in streaming such as Events case, among others, but from the point of view of the virtual assistant, all they have to do is register for the event, with a username and password and then, on the day of the event, use these credentials to access the event online through a dedicated URL.

Other options that have been used over the last two years are web apps or native apps. So the virtual assistant, in addition to having access to the content of the event itself, has access to the event agenda, sponsors, speakers, and other attendees with whom to network by holding spontaneous or previously scheduled videoconferences, the possibility of interacting live through tools such as live chat, Q&A and surveys, as well as gamification formats such as contests, challenges, and other games. The difference between the two formats is that web apps are a URL to connect to while native apps require downloading the app from the Android and iOS shops.

In short, the possibilities for customization are endless but the technological needs of the virtual assistant are always similar. If you have a computer or a mobile phone to connect to the Internet, you have a window to access thousands of events around the world."

Mentxu from Eventscase

What Are The Benefits Of Attending a Hybrid Conference?

"Attending a hybrid conference gives you the best of both worlds – the face-to-face connections and onsite engagement which we have so dearly missed as well as the convenience and comfort of staying at home while still participating in an event. Providing flexibility in attendance is key!

By opening the doors to both in-person and virtual attendees, you’re essentially increasing the reach of your event and allowing for a bigger audience to join in. More attendees usually mean more opportunities to engage and interact – only if you have the right software and features to enable it!

For example, with the Canapii mobile app, attendees will have greater networking options and opportunities. Onsite, you will have the ability to speak to different people and schedule meetings in person. With the app or on a platform, you will also be able to chat, video call, and arrange meetings with virtual attendees. Essentially, you can interact with absolutely anyone who has registered at the event.

Hybrid conferences are also a great way of repurposing your onsite content to engage your virtual attendees and online communities. Your event material becomes instant assets that can help generate revenue and deliver more value to your virtual attendees during or post-event. Make snippets of a live session, transform a roundtable meeting into a future webinar, and create evergreen content that will serve the event community in the weeks or months following the event.

Attending virtually eliminates the barriers of travel, transportation, and time while still allowing attendees to connect, interact and consume content. While attending in-person offers more immersive experiences. By combining both together, you can truly curate a holistic and inclusive environment for all event stakeholders."

Elliot from Canapii

What Are The Challenges Of a Hybrid Event?

"Perceived complexity is one of the greatest challenges in hybrid events. Organizers may feel intimidated by the idea of simultaneously planning an in-person and virtual event. Some professionals may believe hybrid events take twice as much effort, time, and resources for planning. No wonder: After all, the hybrid format combines two ways of engaging the event attendees. This perceived complexity results in organizers tending to focus on one format, choosing between running an in-person or virtual event. Subsequently, they cannot take full advantage of both formats’ benefits. Luckily, event solutions, such as Eventtia, allow organizers to combine the best of the two worlds, engaging attendees in-person and virtually. Moreover, thanks to advanced planning solutions, running hybrid events doesn’t require additional effort or resources. Organizers can run a full-fledged in-person event while deciding which aspects they want to digitize, creating unique experiences for their virtual attendees. At the same time, they can ensure the virtual guests’ expense integration with the in-person environment by enabling mixed networking. In other words, they can enable virtual attendees to connect with people who’re in-situ, experiencing the in-person event. Planning and managing a hybrid event may add a layer of complexity when designing and setting different digital workflows, such as online streaming, virtual attendee engagement, sponsorship booths, and networking. However, the entire process can be coordinated via platforms similar to Eventtia, allowing organizers to manage their hybrid events with just a few clicks."

Elsa Joseph from Eventtia

What Are Some Examples Of Hybrid Events?

"We have had all kinds of events turn hybrid on the Sarcon platform across industries and geographies.

Hybrid event types include medical conferences where some speakers join live while others are connected remotely and beamed on the stage. On the one hand, the entire event was streamed to live audiences; on the other hand, the sponsors and exhibitors were spread across the in-person and virtual editions of the event. Mandatory video conferences and web-based seminars have been around for a very long time.

The healthcare industry has been conducting these seminars online but with limited functionality; cutting down on some of the major highlights of these events. Take for example poster presentations and certifications. They are the key highlights of any medical conference, but due to the lack of more holistic technology, there were missed opportunities. With the help of hybrid platforms, speakers and industry experts can not only present vital information in person to the audience present at the venue but also broadcast the presentation to those audience members who have joined online, while also interacting with them live.

Others include rewards and recognition events for large enterprises where the leadership congregates at one location, be it in their office or a studio where they want state-of-the-art recording facilities while the audience attends the event from across the globe.

The importance of cybersecurity has started to reach the general audience. With the rising need to educate and reach a large number of individuals, companies involved in cybersecurity are organizing hybrid events. These events are aimed at bringing the pioneers and experts of cybersecurity under one roof. Going hybrid helps them bring experts and CIOs spread across the borders; allowing them to discuss and share upcoming features, trends, and products. Hosting hybrid events helps reach stakeholders across borders.

Prior to the digital revolution, a vast majority of industry summits were held on-ground in physical locations.  Two major limiters of such summits were the available real estate and the carbon footprint they would leave behind.  The number of attendees would be as large as the permissible foot traffic of the venue. And the amount of carbon footprint it leaves behind is directly proportional to the number of attendees. Today, with the prevalence of virtual technology, the concept of a hybrid process has enhanced and uplifted the way organizers conduct the event.

Hybrid summits not only have in-person audiences attending the on-ground event, but the number of virtual attendees can rise up staggeringly; an individual’s online bandwidth being the only limiter here. Moreover, the carbon footprint left behind is drastically low in comparison.

The financial sector, too, has embraced the power of hybrid events. High-profile banking summits, for example, have been organized on Sarcon’s platform.

And lastly, one of the most memorable events for any individual is their wedding. People have realized the value and ability of hybrid events to alleviate a certain amount of wedding woes. The virtual environment is designed to aesthetically match the real aspects of the wedding that is taking place in the physical world.

The bride and groom, along with the members of their family aggregate at the event venue for the ceremony. And those family members who cannot attend the wedding ceremony due to certain geographical limitations can join the ceremony through the virtual medium. Weddings are one of the most socially pleasing and awaited occasions for individuals. Watching a video of the ceremony online does not provide the dopamine boost our brains experience when we interact with the people we love while attending a ceremony. Hybrid platforms become the mediator and set the stage for the friends and family to socialize, interact, and come together under one ceremonial umbrella and rejoice while physically being located thousands of miles apart.

Summary

  • Exhibitions & Tradeshows
  • Virtual Weddings
  • Conferences
  • Job & Career Fairs
  • Award Shows
  • Medical Conferences
  • 3D Webinars
  • Housing Fairs
  • Graduation Ceremonies

These are some examples of hybrid events, a type of events that brings the best of both worlds — in-person and virtual, together and elevates their most important aspects for a better outcome."

Dishant B from Sarcon

How Effective are Hybrid Conferences?

"At the height of the global COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions on travel and limits on in-person events presented serious challenges to organizers of conferences and trade shows. Fortunately, the technology already existed that would allow them to work around these constraints. Tools like Zoom and Google Meet enabled speakers and attendees alike to gather virtually, no matter where they were in the world.

Even with many of the pandemic restrictions now loosened, a hybrid approach to events may prove to be a winning formula. With the cost and logistics of travel less of a consideration, the ability to reach a wider potential audience with reduced effort and expense could certainly prove appealing to a large number of those involved in putting on or presenting at large-scale conferences.

Quoted in the journal Nature, astrophysicist and conference organizer Elizabeth Tasker noted that a hybrid format makes events accessible to many more people. “Over the last two years, data from conferences has shown a sharp increase in the diversity of attendees for online meetings,” Tasker said. “Removing the need to travel plummets the cost of attendance, makes the meeting far more accessible for those with disabilities or illness, and typically makes it easier to balance caring or other local commitments.”

Earlier this year, PressReader had a presence at the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit. The event took place in Manila from April 20 to 22, and although we were not there physically, we did have an online “booth”. This included a “virtual fishbowl” in which potential partners interested in our product — a platform through which users can access digital versions of thousands of newspapers and magazines from around the world — were able to drop their business cards.

We at PressReader were not the only ones attending from afar. After the event, the WTTC reported that, in addition to the 600-plus in-person delegates from more than 50 countries, the summit had received over 10,000 virtual registrations. Those are encouraging numbers. While hybrid events come with their own unique set of challenges — such as ensuring that those tuning in virtually have as satisfactory an experience as those attending in person — when done right, they can be remarkably effective."

Nikolay Malyarov from Pressreader

What Is The Best Event Platform?

"NetworkTables is an all-in-one event platform for event organizers to help their attendees meet the right people at the right time at events. Created in collaboration with event managers since 2015.

It lets guests gain access before the event starts to connect with relevant people without the headache of filling out forms or downloading apps. Providing insights into who is attending an event, where, and the tools to book an appointment without fuss. The platform seamlessly integrates with ticketing tools so that attendees can use the platform without creating another profile.

Roundtables show an overview of each table, whether it’s online or offline, and let attendees choose who they are sitting next to strike up interesting connections, like choosing a seat on an airplane. Meanwhile, request meetings and generate perfect matches with a complete-time schedule on the day.

After an event, connect with all the guests that attended the same things as you and exchange virtual business cards, as you know you share common interests. Then gain access to on-demand recordings of the entire event. All while staying in the loop with post-event feedback, communication, and session ratings.

For organizers, they can create their own workshops, webinars, and workshops all year long and automate schedules and reminders to their guests. Keeping engagement high by seamlessly transitioning guests through all the sessions they have signed up for one after another. When it comes to virtual events, technical support rooms are available for any guest to jump into to quickly resolve any problems.

To keep the momentum going, event planners can also create an always-on event community. Here members create their own member-led sessions to extend a one-day event throughout the year.

Perfect for hosting in-person and virtual events while increasing value through networking. Great ease of use and pre-event features."

Tyler Wood from Network Tables

How Do I Engage Guests in a Virtual Event?

"Virtual events provide access for an audience that would otherwise find the content inaccessible. Maybe the cost is too great; maybe there are global travel restrictions; maybe they just don’t like crowds. There are many reasons why people cannot physically attend an in-person event. The beauty of virtual events is that they invite folks of all types, locations, and identities to participate.

Before we produce a virtual event, we start with the question, “why does this need to be live?” The reason always boils down to engagement. What makes a virtual event an EVENT is the ability to engage with the content, its creators, and others in the audience. By inviting users to engage, you cultivate belonging. They become a part of your tribe.

Engagement looks different depending on the type of event. What works well for a brand activation may not work for an internal corporate presentation. For optimal participation, engagement opportunities should feel organic.

An audience’s most basic expectation is that they can communicate with each other in real-time. Comments, chat, or Q&A – these are table stakes for any virtual event. Most virtual event platforms have this baked in, but third-party widgets like ChatWing or Chatroll also work wonders.

Stepping up from there, you’re looking at “call and response” engagements – think quizzes, polls, word clouds, or trivia. Our favorite tool for this is Slido, which can be embedded on your website or accessed via a QR code.

When events get massive, they may exist in multiple locations – maybe they’re streamed on YouTube as well as Facebook and Zoom, or maybe there are multiple tracks. Combining data streams – like YouTube comments and tweets  – and incorporating them graphically into your content helps an audience feel like they’re a part of something bigger.

Whatever engagement strategies you choose, make sure your virtual event audience feels like they’re an organic and vital part of the total experience.  

In conclusion, do not be discouraged from trying to host a hybrid event even if you have never done so before. Technology is more available than ever, and time is ideal.

And in practice, hosting them isn’t difficult. Not if you have the proper equipment and knowledge."

Nick Bacon from Mainstream Media

Why Should I Attend a Hybrid Content?

"A hybrid conference offers what Hannah Montana would refer to as the best of both worlds. Hybrid settings allow people to connect in person, or digitally. If what you seek is human connection, then you can attend the conference in person and network. But if you want to connect with other people without having to travel to the venue, or you simply aren’t ready to deal with large groups of people then you can attend online.

These are some of the many benefits of attending a hybrid conference:

Increased attendance: as mentioned above, attendees will either attend online or in-person. This means that there are no excuses (or fewer) for not attending, which ensures the conference will be a success in terms of attendance.

Less carbon footprint: since fewer people will have to travel to attend the event physically, the overall carbon footprint reduces. A smaller physical audience will also require less equipment, reducing transportation and labor emissions.

Better engagement: big conferences usually run multiple panels, talks and workshops simultaneously to suit everyone’s interests and fit an extensive schedule into a short period. This usually leads to people missing out on some talks they may have wanted to attend, but this issue is solved at hybrid events. Since the virtual side of the conference requires the recording of all panels, then you can listen to every talk you were interested in once the conference uploads the videos post-event. No one will have to miss out on any aspect of the event if it’s a hybrid.

So we can agree that attending hybrid conferences is the ideal choice for everyone."

Ana Lopez from Walls.io

What Do I Have To Consider Entertainment & Education Wise in a Hybrid event?

“A hybrid event in its simplest definition is an event with two audiences… those attending in person and those attending remotely.  

In terms of education and entertainment, you must determine what you want each of those audiences to experience. Those attending remotely will never have the same exact experience as those attending in person… it’s not possible. The excitement, energy, and conversations one has at a live event cannot be replicated for your remote audience. Therefore, when considering your entertainment and educational content, you must consider the experience.

For your educational content, do you want both groups of attendees to have access to the same content? Do you want some content available only for in-person attendees? Do you want to provide special sessions for your remote attendees? The content at your event must be value-driven and provide actionable solutions for your attendees. However, not all content is suitable for both audiences. If you are having a breakout session where the primary focus is on the interaction between attendees (i.e. a workshop format where attendees have to work together to solve a problem), that session may not be best for your remote attendees. As you are building your agenda, consider what tracks and sessions are appropriate for your two attendee groups.

When choosing entertainment options, you will have similar questions to answer. How do you want the two groups to interact, and what entertainment options do you want to provide? Do you want a party for your in-person attendees and a separate online party for your remote attendees? For your specific audience, would it be better to bring the two groups together for the entertainment portion?

We have brought in entertainment such as DJs playing “Name That Tune,” and artists painting live on stage. When we bring in entertainment, we first decide what the goal of the entertainment is, how it will translate to the two audiences and what we want the experience to be like for the attendees… then decide what the best match is for that experience.

Always look at entertainment and education from the perspective of your audience to help guide your decisions.”

Lisa Schulteis from Electralime

What Aspects Make Hybrid Events Successful?

“When it comes to hosting a hybrid event, it is important to keep in mind that both audiences need to be fully engaged. Livestreaming is not enough, because remote guests require the same level of interaction as in-person attendees.

At Dot.vu, we strongly believe that the keys to successful hybrid events lie within the interactivity of your event. You need to engage participants both physically and virtually, and make sure to create an equal experience for both types of participants.

There are many Interactive Experiences that can be designed to help you organize the most amazing hybrid events, such as Interactive Videos, Quizzes, Polls, Gamified Experiences, and so on. These Interactive Experiences can be used before your event to promote participants and boost sign-ups, during your events to engage, entertain, and delight, or after your event to gather feedback and share results.

For example, you could create an Interactive Virtual Tour for online participants so they can virtually go around the event facility and explore the different rooms, stages, and so on. This is an excellent way to allow online attendees to the network by starting online discussions and visiting the different stands and exhibitions.

You can also use Interactive Videos instead of traditional presentations. The same Interactive Videos can be shown to both types of participants, except that online attendees could interact directly within the video while in-person attendees could interact through QR codes with their phones. In your Interactive Videos, you could add as many interactive elements as you want, such as polls, quizzes, Marketing Games, contests, and so on.

In other words, the keys to a successful Hybrid Event lie in planning an event that will be engaging and interactive for every attendee regardless of their location. With Dot.Vu, the Leading Interactive Content Platform, can create many Interactive Experiences that will delight your audience both virtually and in-person.”

Erika Naud & Ivanina Topuzova from Dot.vu

How do I engage guests in a Hybrid event?

“In the post-pandemic world, where hybrid events are increasingly becoming popular, many event planners struggle to bring their virtual and in-person audiences on the same page simultaneously. Pre-pandemic, there was much less emphasis on engaging virtual attendees, who were more of mere spectators. However, now people prefer to choose their participation format, suiting their convenience, and this necessitated a major overhaul of attendee engagement techniques. Combining the best of digital and physical worlds to keep all attendees happy and excited throughout requires some reinvention of strategies.

1. Foster Inclusion

Creating a sense of inclusion is more difficult for remote participants. They miss the social interactions and lively ambiance that keeps onsite attendees hooked. A ‘virtual facilitator’ can help replicate the onsite experience for them by interacting over live chat, Q&A, agenda, polls, and more. For presenters, acknowledging the virtual audience is important, and so is taking their names and addressing the camera to give them a sense of eye contact while answering their questions.

2. Prefer Live Sessions

Live sessions are always recommended instead of pre-recorded ones. To both sets of audiences, live sessions give an opportunity to have their questions, views, and doubts addressed in real-time, which always ensures a higher degree of interaction.

3. Allow Ample Networking Opportunities

While in-person attendees can comfortably indulge in networking during lunch breaks or around their tables, facilitating it in virtual spaces is often challenging. Offer breakout rooms for remote participants, helping them set up targeted or randomized meetings. Some tools also allow replicating physical venues where attendees can move between tables or join different conversations, enhancing the overall experience. It’s also crucial to create a means where virtual attendees can network with the onsite audience.

4. Use Technology Optimally

Whether you’re filling the session gaps with fun elements or meaning to create a connection between both sets of audiences, using the right technology is essential to keep the engagement level high. In addition to ensuring a seamless experience for remote attendees, you can go creative and use technology to further blend both worlds. For instance, showing the remote participants on the main screen on-site can further enhance the sense of inclusion and promote connectivity between virtual and in-person attendees.”

Jaya from Eventcombo

What Are The Keys To Successful Hybrid Events?

“Hybrid events are more popular than ever, and it’s not hard to see why. More event organizers are embracing the hybrid format with the potential to increase attendance, boost revenue, and improve convenience. That being said, organizers need to understand the format before they can use it effectively.

Balance Virtual & Physical Elements

One potential stumbling block when running a hybrid event can be neglecting the in-person or virtual elements. By focusing too heavily on one aspect of the format, organizers can fall into the trap of producing a ‘False Hybrid’ event. This leads them to cater too heavily to one group of attendees while neglecting the other.

False hybrids can be effective for some events, particularly if virtual and physical audiences participate on separate days. However, it is generally essential to treat both sets of attendees equally, to ensure all participants feel engaged and not alienated.

Use the Right Technology

Mobile event apps are now a common sight in the industry, to the point of becoming a vital resource. While these apps can greatly improve an in-person event, the potential to link them with a virtual event platform makes them essential for effective hybrids.

By partnering with the right event solutions specialist, organizers can create a branded app that improves attendee interaction, promotes networking, drives footfall, and more besides. Likewise, these features can be mirrored onto a custom web platform, letting virtual and in-person attendees engage with content, sponsors, and each other.

Know Your Audience

There are many reasons to run a hybrid event, but one of the most common is to expand your audience and increase event attendance. While the hybrid format can certainly deliver this, you need to establish what key features will help achieve your goals.

For example, if you want to expand your audience globally, you should probably consider an app and platform will multilanguage capabilities and closed captioning.

When planning a hybrid event, it is always best to consult an event solutions specialist who can guide you through the process and deliver exactly what you need.”

Ben Harper from All in the Loop

Who Would Attend A Hybrid Conference?

“The popularity of hybrid events can be attributed to their unique flexibility to attendees. With the option to attend either in person or virtually, conferences can expect much higher participation levels and a lot of interest from participants around the world.

Thanks to globalization, many corporations today have international teams that can rarely meet in person. For workplaces like these, internal events like team meetings, employee engagement activities, or quarterly planning events are best done in a hybrid environment, where local employees can meet in person, and any employees who work in other parts of the world can attend virtually. Additionally, external corporate events such as product launches or customer conferences can gain much more attention from customers globally if they have the option to attend events in a hybrid capacity.

Besides the corporate world, educational institutions also have much to gain from hybrid events. Everything, from student information sessions to doctoral dissertations, is now hybrid events, allowing a mix of local and international participants to interact and learn. Universities can now teach hybrid courses using higher ed LMS, and by doing so, they can eliminate several financial or legal barriers that their international students would face otherwise. Many graduation ceremonies are also hosted as hybrid events, allowing students to participate even if they have returned to their home country.

The case for hybrid conferences and events has been made even stronger since the pandemic. The risk associated with large gatherings has made hybrid events common in workplaces and educational institutions. Many sick or immunocompromised people prefer to attend events virtually, while those who are immunized have the option to attend the same events in person, provided that they take the necessary precautions.

There are many reasons a person may attend events in person or virtually. Oftentimes, the decision simply comes down to personal preference. This flexibility and room for choice are why hybrid events are and will continue to be very popular.”

Maira Afzal from Edly

How much does a Virtual or Hybrid conference platform cost?

“The cost of a virtual or hybrid platform can vary quite a bit, and most do not have native streaming built in, which creates an extra cost (we natively do).  Most companies, us included, have a base starting price.  This could be anywhere from $8,000 – $20,000+.  This covers your base license for use and typically a set number of users.

If you would like custom features, additional professional services, or go beyond your base user count, costs can rise.”

Catherine Moats from Corporates Events Online

How do you Define a Hybrid Event?

"A hybrid event is a combination of in-person and virtual. Typically, both audiences share a live stream digital experience – oftentimes, this can be both audiences watching the same screen or the virtual audience watching a live in-person event. The latter is more common. Event organizers aim to provide a similar experience for virtual attendees by offering break-out sessions, chat engagement, and props like snacks or swag shipped to their homes. Typically, the virtual and in-person audiences remain separate yet offer a slightly different perspective on the same content. The beauty of hybrid events is allowing attendees from all over the world to get access to the content they normally wouldn’t have access to. While hybrid events became popular out of necessity, it does feel like it’s here to stay, given how large an audience they can support."

Jas Banwait from SnackMagic

In conclusion, do not be discouraged from trying to host a hybrid event even if you have never done so before. Technology is more available than ever, and time is ideal.

And in practice, hosting them isn’t difficult. Not if you have the proper equipment and knowledge.

Hybrid Events

A brave new world: a quick guide to hybrid event safety

4
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Hybrid events are on the rise, so it’s more critical than ever for organizers to put safety precautions into place at their events to keep attendees as safe as possible. We walk you through the basics.

Just as virtual events became the standard for events over the last two years, now, hybrid events are becoming the new normal. 

With in-person events on the rise again (according to a Northstar Meetings Group survey, 96% of planners will do an in-person event this year), but the benefits of virtual events too strong to simply throw by the wayside, event organizers are bringing the strengths of the two together in the format of a hybrid event. The result? The energy that comes from face-to-face interactions, as well as increased reach, better engagement and improved analytics from virtual event platforms.

However, organizing a hybrid event in this new normal is anything but normal. It  requires new planning and extra precautions to keep attendees as safe as possible. This is mission critical in making sure your hybrid event is a success. To help, we’ve listed out everything you’ll need to keep an eye on when planning your next event:

1. Pick a venue that can accommodate COVID-19 protocol

Venues for your hybrid event need to be able to accommodate Covid-19 protocol

It can be difficult to zero in on a venue for your hybrid event because there’s a lot to consider. From technical support to attendee capacity, here’s a list of things to keep in mind when assessing potential venues. Safety is one of the most important.

Keep in mind that the venue will have to conform to the safety regulations of their respective local and national governments, so look for venues that already have well-documented and clear safety policies and protocols in place. 

Bonus: Venues that have received Covid-19 Safe Accreditation are optimal choices. You can keep an eye out for: 

  • Global Biorisk Advisory Council’s (GBAC) STAR accreditation. This program evaluates 20 elements  of a venue’s operating protocols and risk-assessment strategies, from disinfection practices to emergency preparedness. 
  • The AIM Secure Accreditation. It is an industry-wide mark of excellence focussing on offices, venues and service providers.

When your attendees see that the venue is committed to keeping them safe, your on-site attendance will improve.

2. Make checking-in as safe as possible

Make checking in as safe as possible at your hybrid event

Prevention is better than the cure, so being as cautious as possible is the best way to go. Here are a couple of measures you can take to drive better safety even before the event is in full-swing:

  • Require a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination for entry: By doing so, you’ll decrease the possibility of anyone catching the virus at the event, and it will also make attendees feel more confident and comfortable about attending in-person.
  • Staggering arrival times: A simple way to avoid congestion at the entryway is by allowing groups of attendees to arrive at certain times. Attendees can choose their time ahead of time on your registration form, ticket booking site or event landing page. Consider allowing cohorts of people - such as those from the same workplace - to book arrivals together. 
  • Allow mobile check-ins: Invest in technologies that allow digital scanning or can process virtual tickets to enable entry into the event. Making the process as contact-less as possible will make check-in more safer but more efficient too.
  • Streamline traffic: Set up dedicated entrances and exits at the venue - more than one will be a benefit as it will help to diffuse any traffic jams so to speak. Use floor markers to keep people at a safe distance while they wait to check in, enter rooms, etc. 

3. Communicate health and safety protocols clearly

Hybrid event safety involves communicating health and safety protocols clearly

Make sure attendees know what health and safety protocols are set in place, before and during the event. 

  • Before the event: Keep attendees in the loop by emailing them about what they can expect at the venue such as the requirement for a negative COVID-test or the use of a mobile app for check-ins. Keep in mind that people are going to be anxious about their safety, so being as clear and comforting as possible will go a long way.
  • During the event: Put up lots of signage in your hybrid event venue to communicate expectations and rules for attendee behaviour. For instance, at CES 2022, attendees were given the choice of three coloured stickers to indicate how much touch they were comfortable with.

 Signs that tell attendees to wear masks or where they can find hand sanitizer are some examples. The point is to make attendees feel comfortable and secure. 

4. Keep lots of PPE and sanitation handy

Keeping lots of PPE handy is important for hybrid event safety

Setting up dedicated areas stocked with hand sanitizer and protective masks are a small but powerful signal that keeping your attendees safe is top of mind.(Bonus: they give you a custom branding opportunity for your business or that of your sponsors.)  Highlight these areas with signage.

5. Touchless, yet matchless, COVID cuisine

Touchless food setups are important for hybrid event safety

There are plenty of ways to offer attendees safe but delicious food at your hybrid event. Here are some options to consider:

  • Seated meals, with tables and guests appropriately distanced are a good option for small events. 
  • Pre-packaged gourmet meals that can be easily consumed by attendees at the in-person venue, and which can be delivered to the houses of virtual attendees. 

Ask attendees to choose from a menu ahead of time to personalize the experience. This also makes for a more eco-friendly event.  Steven Enselein, senior vice president of events for Hyatt, gives the example of a hybrid event recently held at Hyatt Regency O’Hare, “The same breakfast, lunch and snack arrived via contactless delivery right at the doorstep of each virtual attendee’s house. Inside was a menu and plating instructions so they could follow along with the group on-site,” says Enselein. “We are always thinking about outside-of-the-box ways to make remote attendees feel cared for and part of events.”

To sum up…

Hybrid event safety is one of the most important considerations for event organizers now and going forward. Keep these tips in mind when planning your event, and you’ll be able to create an experience that makes your attendees feel safe, comfortable, and supported.

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