Dive into the building blocks and best practices you need to know to deliver a fantastic hybrid event experience for virtual and in-person attendees alike.
From AI's role in the cloud-native community to the nuances of modern IT sustainability, here's what to expect at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon 2023.
KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2023 is fast approaching! This premier event is a must-attend for anyone in the open-source and cloud-native community. Here's a quick rundown of what to expect.
The Cloud Native Computing Foundation's flagship conference, KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2023, gathers adopters and technologists from leading open source and cloud native communities. This event serves as a nexus for knowledge sharing, collaboration, and networking among professionals in the field.
Its 2023 edition is set to be a hybrid event, combining in-person interactions with virtual participation. The first day is dedicated to preliminary activities, while the main conference spans three days.
Over these four days, attendees can expect a mix of in-person and virtual content, featuring keynotes, over 10 conference tracks, tutorials, and networking opportunities.
Environmental Sustainability in the Cloud: A deep dive into the importance of environmental sustainability in IT. Learn about power consumption accountability, energy efficiency, GreenOps, and cost optimization from experts at Grafana Labs, Red Hat, Intel, Microsoft, and more.
Performance Profiling with Ryan Perry: Explore performance profiling across various programming languages and platforms. Understand the significance of observability in modern software development.
OpenTelemetry Contribfest: Get introduced to the latest features and developments of the OpenTelemetry project with Juraci Paixão Kröhling from Grafana Labs and other Prometheus project maintainers.
Measuring Kubernetes Costs: Gain insights on tracking cloud costs, especially for Kubernetes clusters, with JuanJo Ciarlante and Mark Poko from Grafana Labs.
AI Hub: The first-ever AI Hub is set to be a highlight. This one-day unconference will delve into AI topics impacting the cloud-native community, covering areas like LLMs, AI policy, AI operations, AI data governance, and more. Attendees can engage in active conversations and learn from industry peers about AI implementations.
Security Hub: The inaugural Security Hub will focus on security topics vital to the cloud-native community, offering insights into the latest cloud-native security practices and challenges.
All in all, KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2023 is poised to offer a comprehensive view of the future of cloud-native technologies and opportunities for networking with industry leaders.
What can you expect at Adobe Summit 2023? Here are the top speakers, sessions and other perks that you can look forward to this year.
Adobe Summit 2023 is just around the corner!
For the uninitiated, the Summit is basically like one of the Superbowls of the marketing world. It’s 3 days of explosive new ideas, insights, and hands-on learning opportunities from the best in the business, networking with 100s of peers, plus lots and lots of creative energy ⚡ Last year's edition was attended by more than 100,000 people from around the world!
When is Adobe Summit 2023? March 21-23
Here’s what you can look forward to this year:
‘The West Wing’ fans (like us) are thrilled that Aaron Sorkin, Academy Award–winning Writer and Director will hit the stage for keynote speeches, alongside Shantanu Narayen, Adobe chairman and CEO, along with Anil Chakravarthy, president of digital experience business. The A-star lineup also includes:
…making the Summit a must-attend if you’re looking to learn directly from leaders from the world’s top brands.
Super Sessions span nearly all Summit tracks, including commerce, customer journey analytics, personalization, B2B marketing, and more. Each gives you the opportunity to dive deep into Adobe product innovations and customer-driven use cases. You’ll walk away with tactical insights and intel that’ll earn you praise from your leadership. Here are a couple of sessions that caught our eye:
As the demand for more and better content continues to rise, organizations need new ways to create, manage, and personalize content. Discover how to transform your disjointed content supply chain into a well-oiled content machine that drives value at scale.
Customer engagement is inherently omnichannel, which can produce silos of unconnected data with fragmented insight. Learn how to transform your CXM approach with unique omnichannel insights that fuel real-time acquisition, retention, cross-sell/upsell.
It’s time for B2B businesses to scale using a new blueprint that focuses on the right prospects, creates a fast-track to sales, and optimizes for revenue impact. Learn the keys to a highly efficient marketing-led growth engine fueled by next-gen experiences and automated marketing and sales collaboration.
There’s nothing quite like striking up a conversation with a peer who ‘just gets it’ ie. can understand your challenges, struggles and goals in a way your well-meaning best friend can’t. These conversations are great foundations for exchanging and sparking new ideas, building an authentic professional relationship, and laying the groundwork for new opportunities. At the Summit, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to do just this, and connect with marketers and creators as well as Adobe peers.
If you can’t make it to Vegas, don’t worry. You can still attend the virtual Summit, and watch the same keynotes and take part in the same Super Sessions as those at the venue. Plus, you can do this for free! Yes, you read that right.
If you’re on the fence on whether to attend in-person on virtually, click here for information that can help you decide.
The depth and breadth that Adobe Summit offers - in terms of the topics covered, and the deep dives led by industry leaders - means that instead of attending 20 different webinars throughout the year, you can just attend this one event instead. Whether you decide to attend in-person or virtually whilst in your pyjamas, this one’s worth your time.
Learn how to keep the momentum and energy from your event going even after it ends.
The curtains have come down, the last in-person attendee has just left the venue, and you've said "thank you!" to all your speakers. High-fives all around! But what do you do now that your hybrid conference is over? Sometimes, we’re so hyper-focused about making sure that the event runs successfully, that we don’t really think about what comes next.
And that’s a big mistake.
84% of event attendees say that they have a more positive opinion about a company, brand, or product being promoted after the event occurs. That’s why it’s critical to keep in touch with attendees immediately after your hybrid conference ends, with relevant and personalized information.
So what you need is a strategic after-event plan. It needs to encompass as many touchpoints as possible to keep the momentum going. You may already be wondering “which channels are best to follow up with attendees?” or “do you need to create any collateral?” We’ve answered all of these questions in this article.
Read on to learn everything you need to do to get the most mileage from your hybrid conference strategy:
Every day that passes after your hybrid conference, you run the risk of your attendees losing interest. To keep it top of mind, either create a dedicated new page on your website or transform the landing page for our event into one that lets attendees relive the fun they had at your event (or in the case of those who couldn’t attend, see what they missed out on).
Let your after event analysis data (courtesy your platform’s analytics) guide you toward finding the most valuable bits of content to share, whether it was a popular speaker who received tons of engagement, or a post on your event platform’s activity feed.
On the page, create reasons for your audience to want to re-engage such as a ‘lessons learned’ follow-up webinar, or more events they can attend or link them to a forum where they can continue discussions of the event's topics with other attendees.
This one’s a no-brainer because the case for email is already well known. But, as all B2B marketers know, the key in getting the results you want from your event follow-up is segmentation. At the least, you should divide your attendee data into these two groups:
You can use the content that you put together for your event highlights landing page - digital media, key metrics, information about new events - for your emails.
Here’s an example by Litmus Live:
Here’s a framework you can use when building your nurtures:
Using a hybrid event platform that can integrate with your existing CRM enables you to use insights from any after event analysis reports to plan campaigns, and send automated outreach at scale, and with context. This helps to warm up prospects incrementally, without annoying the bejeesus out of them.
If leads show promising engagement on emails (ie. open and click throughs on assets you’ve already identified they will be interested in via analytics), they can be automatically routed out of the core email nurture flows to SDRs for individual, white-glove outreach.
This brings us to our next point.
It’s a recipe for disaster if marketing and sales teams aren’t hyper-aligned when it comes to event followup.
Especially in the case of email marketing, if there isn’t a set process in place and a centralized platform to use, both teams could end up emailing the same prospects at the same funnel stage, causing some leads to get emails and others none at all.
Pro tip: That’s why using analytics from your hybrid event to lead score attendees is so critical. Determining which attendees who showed most potential for conversion (consider early registrations, agenda blocks or role they clicked on during registration. time spent at the event, amount of engagement, email open rates, etc.) and which ones were also receptive to event followup emails is extremely helpful.
Once prospects are identified and warmed up, Sales colleagues can swoop in with hyper-customized 1:1 communication and calls, whether with a relevant piece of content or “what did you think of the event?”
Want more tips on boosting Sales-Marketing collaboration throughout the event lifecycle? CLICK HERE TO READ OUR FREE EBOOK.
Use event content as your “hero asset” and repurpose the information in different formats.
This will keep the discussion going and give your followers a second chance to see and understand your content. And by doing so, you’ll be tapping into the core purpose of the event and your audience’s desire for education and connection, and to repeat your message so it stays at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
Here’s a simple way to do this:
1. Event video can be made into:
2. Content from audience engagement activities such as Polls and Q&A can be turned into ‘How to’ and FAQ articles or tactical guides and spreadsheet templates. Copy from the articles can be shared as slide decks on LinkedIn or as bite-sized info nuggets via Twitter threads.
Protip 1: Don’t forget to leverage the reach of your event speakers and partners when distributing your repurposed content on social platforms
Protip 2: Gamify social sharing (here’s an example) with prizes like swag or Amazon gift cards, or discounted tickets to your next hybrid event
It now takes a whopping 27 interactions before a potential buyer is willing to have that sales conversation with you (yes, you read that right). And buyers do a lot of self-directed research checking a variety of sources, from social media to website to forums etc.
So the advantage of developing a library of content from your event for different channels and distributing it effectively (this is key), is that each piece serves as “one in a series of stepping stones” pulling people deeper into the funnel. Each builds visibility, familiarity, credibility and trust.
The last tactic we recommend to help drive more mileage from your hybrid event is to create activities and spaces where attendees can continue conversations and connections from the hybrid event.
This can be in whatever form suits your need - happy hours, accountability groups, or just simple online forums like Slack groups where you can break people up into cohorts based on topics from the hybrid event so that they can have targeted discussions with like-minded folk. Event and page moderators can facilitate discussions by starting threads during or immediately after the event.
Giving attendees a group or a community in which they can talk freely about your event, related industry topics, ask for advice and make new relationships, helps to build camaraderie and instil a sense of belongingness. (Look for instance at the Notion subreddit that has 155000 members). It helps them to feel like more than a lead, or a customer. And this in turn can build trust and generate organic traffic and leads.
And by activating more people to jointly contribute towards a shared goal, you are increasing the capacity and impact of your efforts as an organization or brand.
Protip: These spaces are also a great way to gather valuable insights into your event attendees’ interests through the conversations they have, questions they ask, and challenges they discuss. These insights not only help in creating future events but also in segmenting your leads in a better way for your campaigns and offerings.
Clearly, any hybrid event strategy you create is incomplete without you incorporating a plan for after-event activities too.
It’s not easy, but we guarantee that if you invest time and thought into crinkling out the processes for after-event activities beforehand - like how you’re going to even create event videos (solution: a video production tool incorporated into your event platform) or making clear the baton pass between marketing and sales - you will see improved efficiency and returns from your hybrid conference.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Zuddl is a unified platform for events and webinars that helps event marketers plan and execute events that drive growth. The platform has clients across the globe, such as the United Nations, Kellogg’s, Microsoft, HSBC, VMware, Google, StackCommerce and Cipla amongst others. In January 2022, Zuddl announced that it closed $13.35 mn in Series A funding.
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.
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
"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
"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
"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
Sara Roy from Nunify
"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
"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
"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
"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.
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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.”
“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
"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.
Zuddl is a unified platform for events and webinars that helps event marketers plan and execute events that drive growth. The platform has clients across the globe, such as the United Nations, Kellogg’s, Microsoft, HSBC, VMware, Google, StackCommerce and Cipla amongst others. In January 2022, Zuddl announced that it closed $13.35 mn in Series A funding.
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:
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:
When your attendees see that the venue is committed to keeping them safe, your on-site attendance will improve.
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:
Make sure attendees know what health and safety protocols are set in place, before and during the event.
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.
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.
There are plenty of ways to offer attendees safe but delicious food at your hybrid event. Here are some options to consider:
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.”
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.
Zuddl is a unified platform for events and webinars that helps event marketers plan and execute events that drive growth. The platform has clients across the globe, such as the United Nations, Kellogg’s, Microsoft, HSBC, VMware, Google, StackCommerce and Cipla amongst others. In January 2022, Zuddl announced that it closed $13.35 mn in Series A funding.
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.
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:
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:
While these are the essentials required, click here to read other important questions to remember when evaluating platforms for your event.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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).
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
The need for inclusive and accessible features in virtual spaces is of great importance. Read to learn how Zuddl elevates attendee experiences by providing just that.
Think about the last time you went to the theater to watch a movie.
You probably went in, sat down, dutifully put your phone away (we hope), looked up at the big screen, and enjoyed the show. A simple and easy experience.
Now consider the POV of someone who goes into the theater to watch the same movie but is hard of hearing, or who speaks a completely different language than that shown in the theater. It would be a completely different, more difficult and exclusionary experience.
One of the biggest benefits of virtual events is that as an organizer, you are no longer hampered by geography. There’s no need to worry about factoring in travel for attendees or speakers, or being constrained by venue capacity when you’re hosting a virtual event. This means that people from all over the world can attend, and where previously you might have been able to host only 1000 people at an in-person event, you can now reach tens of thousands.
But with great capability comes great responsibility.
You now need to ensure that each of your tens of thousands of attendees has an equally amazing experience at your event, whether that’s a virtual conference, company offsite, virtual office, ora virtual tradeshow. And central to this is ensuring that each person - from different countries and diverse backgrounds - can actively participate, contribute to discussions, and have equitable opportunities.
When planning virtual experiences for constituents, organizers may fall prey to an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality. No longer being able to ‘see’ the needs and requirements for different types of attendees can make it harder to address them.
And this is definitely an issue when one billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience some form of disability. In the United States alone, the Centers for Disease Control notes that: 61 million adults – or 1 in 4 – people live with a disability. These statistics alone makes leading with accessibility and inclusivity the mentality to have as a hybrid or virtual event organizer.
Attendees from different backgrounds or with disabilities will want to consume your content, ask questions to speakers, chat and interact with their fellow attendees - just like everyone else. This means that you not only need to be purposeful and empathetic in the way you organize your event and present your content, but that the virtual event platform partner you work with needs to be able to be fully accessible and inclusive - it needs to put all attendees on an equal footing.
Central to hosting a virtual event is making sure the content of your event can be understood by all your attendees. This is especially important when it comes to live sessions or recorded video that you or your speakers are sharing during the event. But, as illustrated by the movie theater example, if attendees at virtual meetings are non-native speakers or are hard of hearing, they may find it difficult to follow along and stay engaged.
This is where Zuddl can make a difference.
The reality is that not everybody can speak English or speak it well. So if you have people joining the virtual meeting from France, Finland and Fiji, using multilingual audio support is a great way to ensure that all attendees will still be able to understand speakers and the content that is being presented, which in turn helps to create a more inclusive, egalitarian virtual space.
This, of course, is especially important for companies with remote, multilingual teams. When hosting virtual company offsites, sales kickoffs, company meetings or any other internal events, multilingual audio support can help non-native speakers to better comprehend and retain information, and feel more connected to the workforce.
It makes business sense too.
According to a survey conducted by the Common Sense Advisory, a market research firm, 72.1% of consumers spend most or all of their time on websites in their own language. The same piece of research states that 72% of consumers are more likely to buy a product that is offered to them in their own language. Need we say more?
Live captioning works hand-in-hand with multilingual audio support. This results in a real-time visual aid that helps attendees at your event better decipher what’s being said on-screen.
The feature helps to improve accessibility for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, but can be useful for everyone, including those who join the live event late, or who are multitasking during the event.
This is useful when you’re hosting a virtual meeting for your company or team as giving employees the option to read-along live captions in their native language makes it simpler to absorb information and therefore increase focus and engagement. In fact, 80% of consumers are more likely to watch an entire video when captions are available.
Protip: Make presentations and video sessions available for attendees to watch after the event is over. This way they can revisit the information shared as per their convenience and make sure they don’t miss what was shared during a meeting.
The use of live chat and emoji reactions at your event gives your attendees the freedom to interact with and react to speakers and content shared as per their convenience, and it means there is equal opportunity to ‘speak’ and ask questions. For those who find written language a bit restrictive, they can easily express themselves through an easy emoji reaction.
Virtual and hybrid events are only as inclusive as they’re made to be; while event platform partners like Zuddl can make a great difference, creating spaces and experiences that make everyone feel welcomed and valued needs to be an active effort on the part of organizers. Talk to our team today to learn how to get it right!
Attracting new sponsors and retaining existing ones is no cakewalk for event organizers. But the shift to virtual and hybrid events has made this easier. Learn how.
Amongst the many challenges faced by organizers is that of driving value for event sponsors.
Every organizer knows that sponsorship is critical to a successful event - not only in terms of financial backing but also because of positive publicity, increased brand awareness, reach, and prestige that it powers. So, after bringing a sponsor on board, it’s extremely important to be able to give that sponsor the ROI that you’ve promised them - or else you risk losing them for future events.
But the growing popularity of hybrid events and the fact that 86% of B2B companies see an increased ROI of their hybrid events within 7 months of conducting it—presents a great solution to tackle this challenge.
Gone are the days when you would slap sponsor logos on merchandise. Thanks to the virtual and in-person components of hybrid events, organizers have more and better opportunities to drive both brand awareness for sponsors and lead generation as well.
Here’s how to go about driving value for sponsors at your next hybrid event:
Mike Butcher, the Editor-At-Large at TechCrunch, explains how sponsors’ expectations have changed over the years while reiterating the importance of understanding them from the beginning, stating "A lot of these sponsors don’t just want to have a sponsor sticker slapped onto an event. They want to do something that has a real conversational element to it.”
So discussing your sponsors’ objectives from a hybrid event at the outset will allow you to produce tailor-made sponsorship opportunities and results. Keep in mind that an essential part of managing sponsor expectations is clarifying what you can and cannot do with this event.
For instance, sponsors could be seeking a high level of interaction with the target audience but may be unsure of what results could be achieved through a hybrid event. Accordingly, you can share engagement metrics from previous virtual or hybrid events you’ve hosted as well as touchpoints you’ve planned for the upcoming event with them. This can help you and your sponsors agree on a goal that you are both comfortable with.
Whilst you are having these important discussions with your sponsors, you will also need to be scouting and evaluating virtual event platforms that can help you drive the results you desire ie. happy attendees and happy sponsors. What are the basics that your virtual event platform will need to have?
An exhibit booth is perhaps the oldest strategy for driving value for sponsors at an event - and that holds true today. By enabling sponsors to set up booths at both the physical and virtual venues, you double the exposure they receive.
Each booth acts as a hub for sharing branded content, marketing collateral, and downloadable assets. And as each booth can be staffed by a company representative, sponsors can offer product demos and hold private conversations directly with attendees.
Importantly, each virtual booth comes with a ‘Register Interest’ button for attendees to express their intention. This is a simple but powerful way for Sponsors to collect leads.
Plan in activities and touchpoints that drive visibility and awareness for event sponsors. Here are a couple of ideas:
Protip: Gamification is your best friend here as it can nudge attendees into completing actions that can drive value for them and your sponsors.
So far, we’ve focused on creating value for your sponsors during the event. But what happens once the event is over? Post-event insights are crucial to retaining sponsors for the long run as it can help aid strategy, product development, decision-making, and budget allocation. To this end, event organizers can share attendee data, survey and poll results, and insights from other activities to reveal what resonated the most with the sponsors’ target audience.
Here are some crucial metrics you can share with your sponsors:
The key to attracting more sponsors lies in creating value for them by building brand awareness and accelerating lead generation. Their primary interest lies in accessing your audience base, establishing their domain expertise, and capturing qualified leads.
Hybrid events give you ample opportunity to deliver these demands. Start by recognizing your sponsors’ needs, and then using the unique benefits of a hybrid event to meet them. All it takes is a little creativity, a little thoughtfulness, and a powerful virtual hosting platform like Zuddl to pull it off.
Keeping both virtual and in-person attendees interested, engaged, and satisfied can be a tall order, but equipped with these best practices, you’ll be able to keep everyone riveted.
First, let's get this out of the way: hybrid events have been around for years.
Take any example of a major sporting event that has been televised worldwide. On the one hand, you have plenty of people enjoying the game in person at the stadium, and on the other hand, you have millions of fans watching the game at home. This is an example of an event that is hybrid thanks to its virtual and in-person components. So, why the hype now?
Over the past year, event marketers have seen first-hand the benefits that come with virtual events - the ability to reach a broader audience, drive more engagement, track metrics easily, and improve event ROI. So even though people are able to meet again in person now, the success driven by virtual events have ensured that organizers will want to bring together elements of both to host a hybrid experience; as per the EventMB´s State of the Event Industry Report, 67.5% of event planners believe that future events will mostly be hybrid.
But there’s one major caveat: in order to take advantage of everything that hybrid meetings and events have to offer, focusing on ways to keep attendee engagement high is critical. But this can seem daunting - how are you going to keep thousands of online attendees along with in-person attendees invested throughout your event?
Here’s what you need to do:
Regardless of whether an event is in-person or virtual, letting attendees know what they can expect at the event beforehand has always been a priority for organizers. In the case of a hybrid event, this is especially important.
Keep in mind that your attendees may be confused about how the hybrid setup will affect their event experience. They may not understand how to attend it, how to consume content, or how to and interact with others.
Setting the stage, therefore, is the first step in driving better engagement. Educating attendees about how to access the event, what in-person and digital elements will be present, how they can participate, and how they can connect with other attendees will go a long way.
From the seating plan to technological capabilities, the venue you choose can play an important role in your ability to keep all your attendees captivated and engaged. The essentials: seating capacity for your in-person attendees, Covid-19 safety considerations, full audiovisual production ability or live studio setup, and secure and reliable WiFi.
You have to ask yourself: How can I use the venue space and its capabilities to create an immersive experience for all attendees? Does it have the equipment I need to produce a high-definition Netflix-like event experience? Does the venue provide enough bandwidth to prevent any buffering or AV lag?
As hybrid events become increasingly popular, more venues are starting to offer the services that enable hosting them. Today, it’s not surprising to find hybrid events venues that come equipped with a full live studio setup with Augmented Reality, XR effects, LED backdrops, and more. These may be a little more expensive, but the experience they provide is sure to increase your session engagement tenfold.
It’s quite possible that you’ll have attendees from all over the world tuning into your event, in which case, how can you make sure your attendee from Alaska is able to have an event experience as satisfactory as an attendee from Australia? How can you ensure that everyone has access to your event content? And has the opportunity to connect with other attendees and speakers? Planning your event can seem pretty complex.
But it doesn’t have to be.
One solution is to create on-demand content or set up simulated live sessions. You can release pre-recorded videos or workshop tutorials each day which means you can accommodate attendees in different time zones easily. You can then follow it up with live Q&A sessions with the speakers featured in the on-demand content, which keeps everyone interested and involved.
Another is to host the event over a couple of days - why not? The virtual component to your hybrid event allows you to do so with agility. As long as you have an event schedule that clearly spells out what sessions or activities are going to be going live at which times, your line-up can scale up or down.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
And by creating more chances for your attendees to access and consume your content, the better your engagement rates will be.
Keeping hybrid attendees engaged is already a challenging task, so don’t complicate it further with cumbersome technology. You can assume that just like you, your attendees and speakers and sponsors will also be a bit unaccustomed to a hybrid event setup, so your first priority should be to find a virtual event platform partner that makes the entire process as simple, straightforward, and stress-free as possible.
Second, if the event platform you choose has features and tools that will help you drive engagement, that’s half the work done. Live Polls, Q&A, and Chat facilities are the bare minimum you should look for. Then there are platforms like Zuddl that will give you enhanced features like Raise Hands, Breakaway Rooms, and AI-powered Networking that raise the bar. Also critical: a mobile app that in-person attendees can access while at the venue that lets them connect with virtual attendees.
The more spaces and pathways you give your attendees to connect, chat, and interact, the more engaging your event will be as they are constant reminders of being part of something bigger than themselves.
The last thing you want is for any of your attendees to feel left out. Leveraging the capabilities of the virtual event platform and the in-person venue you choose, you can then host activities and sessions that bring your in-person and virtual attendees together.
Here are a couple of ways to do this:
Networking - Give your attendees the opportunity to meet and connect with each other at their own pace by setting up networking sessions, and Breakout Rooms. Zuddl offers Smart Networking through which attendees are matched based on mutual interests such as a session topic, a job role, or an industry. Once matched, attendees can schedule a 1:1 video meeting, and get to know each other better.
Breakout Rooms - These virtual rooms can be used to facilitate small group conversations. Attendees can use these rooms just to socialize and relax or get together to discuss a specific topic. These are particularly effective as they bring together small numbers of like-minded peers who can easily form connections with each other.
Stage Interactions - While it’s important to offer content that is accessible to attendees as per their convenience, it’s paramount to have 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 attendees that their opinions matter in real-time, take as many questions as you can by the audience to Speakers, or even using Raise Hands to bring attendees onto the stage. These simple actions can go a long way in making an attendee feel ‘seen’ and valued, and will encourage them to keep participating.
Gamification is a simple and effective way for you to prompt and encourage attendees to participate more at your event. Set points to different activities and actions your attendees can complete such as asking a question or answering a Poll, and set prizes for those who top the leaderboard. This introduces a lighthearted sense of competition that will keep energy flowing throughout the event. (Click here to read more about Zuddl’s gamification feature)
The popularity of hybrid events is only set to grow over the next few years, so it’s important that you know how to get the most out of any hybrid event you host. Through thoughtful planning and the support of the right venue and a virtual event platform, you should be able to create an event experience that has all of your attendees excited and tuned in - no matter if they’re attending in-person or online.
Follow the seven strategies highlighted in this article and you’ll optimize your quantitative and qualitative results from your hybrid event.
The COVID-19 pandemic put virtual events front and center, but as things are slowly opening up again, in-person events are making a comeback. In this phase of transition, hybrid events — a combination of live and online events — are becoming popular, and for a good reason.
They give your audience the flexibility to choose the format that best suits them. And like virtual events, they also allow you to reach a wider audience and at reduced costs because you don’t have to make arrangements for hundreds of people on-site.
The technology used for virtual events also helps you track valuable information on your attendees and gauge their level of engagement with your brand and event. Moreover, they open doors to numerous sponsorship opportunities—making it a win for both you and the audience, who get access to expert speakers while sitting comfortably at home.
All these benefits combined can massively boost your ROI from the event. But don’t just take our word for it: 86% of B2B organizations say they’ve experienced a positive ROI on hybrid events within months of hosting them.
But as lucrative as they seem, hybrid events can only be profitable if you follow some strategies before, during, and after the event. This article will explore seven such strategies that can help you capitalize on ROI in a hybrid format. Let’s dive in!
Calculating an event’s ROI can be challenging, given how many of its benefits are intangible and don’t always show immediately.
However, you can still measure its ROI to an extent. The first step is to determine why you’re hosting the event, as well as the metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPI) you need to track for the same. Now, your goal behind hosting a hybrid event could be:
Determining event ROI becomes much simpler once you have a clear idea about your goals and the KPIs you have to track to measure them.
Then, all you have to do is compare the expenses incurred to the gains (quantitative and qualitative), and you can assess the success of your event.
We’ve talked about calculating ROI, and the prerequisites for measuring event success. Now, let’s explore what you can do to boost your return on investment from hybrid events.
One of the most significant benefits of hybrid events is the massive reach they bring. You’re not restricted by your audience’s location, ability to travel or the venue capacity and can get many people to attend the event. And the more attendees you get, the greater your ROI will be.
So the key to increasing registrations is to start marketing your event in advance. Ideally, all your marketing campaigns should include a call to action (CTA) to register for the event 6-8 weeks before it’s set to happen. Some ways to promote the event are:
Although it was entirely virtual, content marketplace Pepper Content implemented many of these strategies and started marketing their Elevate Summit more than six weeks before the event—the result was 10,000+ global attendees.
Hybrid events have both live and virtual audiences, so to deliver a successful event it’s essential to keep both engaged. For your on-site audience, you can use tools like surveys, Q&A, and networking sessions. But for your virtual audience, it’s the event platform you choose that will play a significant role in determining their engagement and experience at your event.
Choose a platform that offers interactive features, like live streaming, polling, chat, and breakout rooms to keep your attendees interested and involved throughout the event. Zuddl, for instance, offers matchmaking features, discussion rooms, and 1:1 meetings to help attendees interact with each other, the speakers, and sponsors.
This helps attendees derive more value from your event and create positive experiences, which ultimately boosts returns for you.
A straightforward way to maximize ROI and generate more revenue from your event is to host a paid event.
The idea is to price your event in a way that covers your costs and justifies the value your audience will receive from it. This will be much easier if you’re bringing well-known speakers to your event and have an established audience that will be ready to buy from you.
But regardless of that, there are many ways you can increase ticket sales. The first is to create ticketing tiers—offering different access levels at different prices. This will give your audience the flexibility to choose as per their needs and budget and can thus increase registrations for you.
Another strategy to get more attendees is to offer an early bird or group discount—this will encourage more people to sign up fast and even build hype around your event.
Finding sponsors can reduce the costs you personally incur on organizing events and help you invest in better tools and arrangements for attendees.
But the question is, how can you convince people to sponsor your event? The best way is to educate them about the increased exposure and visibility they’ll get through it. Sponsorships are beneficial for both you as the event organizer and for the brand that is providing you resources. You can add their logos to event banners, landing pages and Stage backgrounds, create virtual sponsor booths, and encourage them to offer attendees giveaways or digital swag bags.
Moreover, you can give sponsors access to the attendee data you collect during the event and give them in-depth insight about their target audience, so they're further motivated to collaborate with you. See how AdWorld has clearly stated the benefits of being a sponsor on their website.
The good thing about hybrid events is they allow you to collect a vast amount of data on your attendees, including:
This information can help you understand what your target audience likes and doesn’t, create detailed buyer personas, and thus, more targeted marketing campaigns. You can also use real-time feedback and polling features to assess your event’s performance and make improvements on the go—this can further enhance attendees’ experience and customer sentiment.
The bottom line: Such insights into your audience can help you optimize your marketing efforts and current and future events.
A Marketing Charts survey revealed that events generate qualified top-of-funnel leads. And hybrid events make tracking and retrieving information on leads even easier—since all your attendees (in-person and online) register through a single platform.
Collecting and storing information on potential leads is also where your event platform plays a crucial role. Zuddl, for instance, helps you track attendee data, engagement, and buyer intent and prepares solid lead sheets for you. You can immediately start following up with these leads after the event ends.
Now, some ways you can enhance your follow-up efforts are:
The idea is to integrate these leads into your marketing campaigns and keep your brand on the top of their minds. This can not only help you convert leads but also build meaningful relationships and retain them.
If re-used intelligently, your event content can bring you returns for months after it ends. Here’s how you can go about this:
Click here to watch a recording of Zuddl and ETP’s hybrid event about hybrid events, SHIFT 2021.
With these strategies, you can generate leads and customers from your event content and turn it into a recurring revenue source for yourself.
By reducing operational costs, expanding reach, and providing valuable data, the hybrid format can considerably boost your event ROI and provide benefits long after the event ends.
Follow the seven strategies highlighted in this article and focus on improving attendees’ experience—whether it’s through the speakers you bring onboard, the content shared, or your event platform—and you’ll optimize your quantitative and qualitative results from the event.
Choosing a venue for your hybrid event is one of the biggest decisions an organizer has to make. How do you determine which one is the right one amongst hundreds of options? We break down the criteria for you.
Planning hybrid events is a combination of keeping track of small details and taking some big decisions. The venue? It’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make as an organizer, because the smallest oversight when picking the venue can blow up, causing huge issues on the day of the event. And if you’ve never hosted a hybrid event before, it may feel a little overwhelming trying to figure out which is the right venue for your event.
There’s a lot to think about and a lot riding on your choice, but don’t stress. If you carefully evaluate the following factors, you’ll end up with a wishlist that you can use to start your search
Now, let’s break each of these down.
This one’s a no-brainer.
79% of event professionals feel that wifi performance and availability are a big issue in the event industry according to a study by EventMB. 44% of the participants also said that having poor wifi was one of the main frustrations they faced when dealing with venues.
Internet connectivity will be central to hosting an integrated event experience for both your in-person and virtual attendees. You’ll need excellent connectivity and bandwidth so that live-streamed sessions and pre-recorded videos play without interruption for your virtual attendees. And your in-person attendees will need to be able to access your event app to access virtual content, post to social media, and connect and network with virtual attendees.
To this end, the venue should have an Internet Service Provider (ISP) that is capable of processing high bandwidth and can keep the connection secure, even in a high-density environment. It’s best if you confirm with the venue that you have dedicated bandwidth and not shared bandwidth, as this will guarantee that you have consistent internet connectivity throughout the event. A venue that doesn't offer dedicated bandwidth will most likely not have fiber optic cable either.
Here are some other considerations related to internet connectivity that you should look for:
Be sure to screen your venues with these requirements in mind, and vet their online streaming capabilities through the online event platform you are using so there are no issues later. When you’ve chosen a venue, work with them to finesse your requirements. Even if you have to pay more for a larger streaming package, it will be worth it to avoid any stress and hassle on the day of the event.
When you’re organizing a hybrid event, the venue space is just as important as the right equipment. Not only does your venue need to accommodate the number of attendees you’re expecting, but it also needs to have the space for any setup you’re considering - like a stage for instance, with lighting and cameras.
Think about these questions when evaluating the space of a venue:
From AV capabilities to dedicated studio space, the right venue can help you take advantage of the expertise and infrastructure they offer to ensure that your audience is able to have a good experience.
No one wants a power cut to bring everything to a halt, so check that your venue has the capability to support your power needs, including entertainment, lighting, decorations, video and audio equipment, photo booths, band, catering, etc. And don’t underestimate the value of a good power backup system.
Hosting a hybrid event that caters to a live as well as remote audience at the same time can be challenging because not all companies have a team that is large enough to take care of both your virtual attendees and your in-house attendees.
Having an in-house support team will make the job easier for you.
Having a capable and friendly venue team to work with means that they can help address issues attendees face at the physical venue, allowing you to focus on other pressing issues of your hybrid event like attendees engagement, integrating sponsorships into your event. If you’re working with a studio partner to produce your hybrid event, keep in mind that you’ll be able to leverage the talent on their team as well.
Either way, ensure that you have the following professionals support the event, regardless of whether they are on your team, or work for the studio partner or the venue:
If the venue does not have in-house support, you can negotiate your venue package pricing since you will be sourcing support yourself, and which - though necessary - can take up a significant amount of your budget.
For ultimate peace of mind, choose a venue that lets you hold practice runs before the main day. There are 100 different things that can go wrong on the day of your event, so having the opportunity to hold a dry run, check all the essentials like the internet speed, audiovisual equipment etc, and fix any issues is invaluable.
Protip: Keep in mind that many of your speakers may not be 100% comfortable with interacting with a live and virtual audience and other speakers simultaneously, so allowing them to practice at the venue will help them feel more comfortable and confident on the day of the event as well.
Most venues should give you the time you need to set up and practice the day before your event. However, if you are getting access only on the day of your event, you’ll need to consider whether your team will be able to combat major problems on the spot or not.
With variants of the pandemic emerging every other day, you’ll now have to deal with twice the safety issues as before. For in-person attendees, the venue will have to conform to the safety regulations of their respective local and national governments.
Pro-tip: Look for a venue that has well-documented and clear safety policies and protocols. When your attendees see that the venue is committed to keeping them safe, your on-site attendance will improve.
Keep these factors in mind when evaluating potential venues, and you should end up with one that’s the perfect partner for your hybrid event. And if ever in doubt, just think about the venue from an attendee’s perspective. How would you feel if you were attending a hybrid event in the space? Does it have everything that would make an attendee feel delighted to attend the event, as well as looked after during it? Is there anything that would cause discomfort or stress?
Keep customer-centricity in mind when picking the venue, and you won’t go wrong.
Hybrid events come in all sizes and shapes. Take a look at some of the most imaginative and unique ways companies have held hybrid events for some inspiration when planning your own.
Contrary to popular assumption, hybrid events have been around for years.
Just look at the Super Bowl. Thousands of fans would watch the game at the stadium, and many millions more would watch the game from their homes. It's a classic example of a hybrid event with both in-person and virtual components.
It’s taken the pandemic for businesses and corporations to realize that they can hold hybrid events, and the unique value they offer. Hybrid events combine the irreplaceable feeling of connection of in-person events with the amazing data-based insights and reach of virtual events.
But, not all hybrid events are created equal!
Hybrid events come in all shapes and sizes, delivering unique and memorable experiences to their attendees. We found 9 of the coolest hybrid events example that really showcase how versatile the format can be. All it takes is a little bit of creativity.
What’s a wine company to do in a middle of a pandemic? The Austrian Wine Marketing Board seems to have taken the question as a personal challenge. Instead of shutting shop, the company decided to hold a hybrid Austrian wine tasting event in Moscow instead!
At the in-person event, wine professionals were given their own socially distanced tables on which they tasted several hybrid wines from Austria, and learned about each product. Using an online app, the tasters could connect virtually with suppliers in Austria through 1:1 video calls in private video meeting rooms or live chat at virtual booths, that had easily accessible documentation and technical specifications. This allowed the tasters to place orders directly from suppliers they would never have known existed, without the event.
It’s no surprise that the largest meeting planner and event planner industry association worldwide held one of the most successful hybrid events to date: WEC Grapevine. The association's flagship event brought together more than 600 in-person attendees in Grapevine, Texas, along with 1,000 virtual attendees. It garnered a 93% satisfaction rate from attendees.
The reason? All WEC Grapevine sessions ensured that both the in-person and digital formats complemented one another. This includes keynote sessions structured like a late-night talk show, where an emcee engaged with the speakers and in-person audience, while virtual attendees participated online. Break-out sessions, midday broadcasts, and Zumba workouts boosted the virtual side, with 23 concurrent sessions.
Twitch, an online streaming service for gamers and content producers, hosts a conference – usually in San Diego – that attracts thousands of attendees from around the world. TwitchCon 2019 focused on community-building regardless of where their attendees were. Virtual attendees are able to participate in the event through live streaming, panels, tournaments and more! There were also keynotes, dozens of heavily-produced gaming tournaments, and even a Blink-182 performance.
What better way to impress upon event marketers and organizers the benefits of virtual and hybrid events than host one yourself? Shift 2021 did exactly that. Powered by virtual and hybrid events platform Zuddl and studio partner, Entertainment Technology Partners, the event was held at a physical venue in Orlando and virtually on Zuddl.
The event boasted speakers from companies like Google, Hubspot, LMG, Viacom, Invision, Redstone, VEI, and more, talking about all things hybrid, as well as online networking sessions too. As a consequence, although this was Zuddl’s first hybrid event, it was a resounding success. More than 55% of in-person and virtual attendees actively participated during Shift, asking questions to speakers, upvoting questions asked by other attendees, and connecting 1:1 to network with each other.
Soon after Texas opened up in early 2021, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention successfully held a Christian mission-inspired conference titled Empower 21 as a hybrid event. The target audience for the event were the members of the 40,000 Southern Baptist churches under the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (STBC) spread throughout the country.
The organization used a single platform for both in-person and virtual attendees instead of a patchwork of different programs. Because of this, SPTC was able to promote the event over 100 channels to the families and individuals of the community. Virtual attendees tuned in from the safety of their homes, and attendees who went to the event in-person in Texas, followed social distancing guidelines and wore a mask.
All attendees were able to attend 29 sessions that included panels, luncheons, workshops, and keynotes. And thanks to enhanced integration, virtual attendees were able to network with their in-personal counterparts. Empower 21 is one of the top examples where a unified audience was created across virtual and in-person so that attendees could share the same experience, communicate, and interact with each other.
When it comes to events with power and pull, Apple is, of course, one of the front runners - and it’s no different when it comes to hybrid events. For years, the company has live-streamed product launches and special events to thousands of technology enthusiasts and Apple fans all around the world in addition to on-site attendees.
There are some who believe that hybrid events disproportionately favor in-person attendees over virtual participants. The Growth Marketing Conference is one hybrid event that disproves that. Organizers created a ‘Virtual Access Pass’ that gave their virtual attendees bonus content, such as access to more than 200+ webinars, to make sure they felt included and valued.
This conference has been running every year since 2013. Last year, because of the pandemic, the organizers decided to pivot to a hybrid model. Key staff members and speakers attended the event in person, and thousands of attendees were able to watch the event live and online free of charge.
Organizers used a virtual event platform to keep attendees excited, engaged and make them feel taken care of. When attendees logged in, they were greeted by DJ Skemaddox, top-notch swag, and puppies of Pulse to set that tone of excitement. And welcome video popups shared helpful tips for navigating the virtual platform to make the experience as frictionless as possible.
Organizers used their virtual event platform to great effect - organizing networking sessions for all attendees, driving virtual event engagement, and capturing attendee feedback. It was one of the most sophisticated hybrid events held to date.
HubSpot's annual INBOUND conference is usually a three-day affair held in Boston that brings together business professionals from almost every industry. The company’s hybrid event featured all its trademarks.
Known for its great entertainment - stand-up comedians, actors and industry leaders regularly feature on its roster of excellent speakers - this year, both in-person, as well as virtual attendees were able to interact with presenters like Kerry Washington, Bob Iger, and John Legend. It doesn’t get more star-studded than that.
The event blended live sessions with on-demand recordings. Additionally, during the event, both audiences could connect and speak and mingle, which was one of the aims of the event.
As can be seen, hybrid events offer companies a myriad of ways to leverage the blend of virtual and in-person to their advantage. Whether broadening your reach like in the case of Empower 21 or attracting more star power to bolster your brand like in the case of INBOUND, the unique attributes of a hybrid event lets you work towards your business goals in creative ways.
If you have any questions about how to host a hybrid event of your own, and how to drive the best business outcomes from it, we’re happy to help! Let’s talk.
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