What’s Next for Events?
09.27.21 | Operations Chat
As we continue to face unprecedented times, the “traditional” in-person event is still in question. At the same time, many are also experiencing Zoom fatigue. You may ask, What’s the ideal way to make both parties happy? Hybrid Events!
The hybrid event model integrates technology with the traditional in-person event to create a new type of attendee experience – allowing those who would like to be in person to attend, while also sharing the content on a platform for virtual attendees.
Hybrid events may be the wave of the future, however there are some items to consider before jumping in on this up and coming trend.
Increased Reach and Attendance
It is no surprise that allowing attendees the option to attend either in person or virtually will help to increase your reach in attendees. Providing guests with this option lowers the barrier of entry for attendees, making it as easy as possible for each individual to attend in the manner they see fit. Establishing two avenues to join will likely result in a larger, more well-attended event and allow companies to expand their reach and invite a larger group of attendees, including potential attendees outside of the region the in-person portion is being held.
The dynamic hybrid model can vastly increase the engagement of those attending an event, as long as the proper systems and functions are in place. Traditional in-person events usually leave time for a short Q&A and networking; however, the hybrid model will allow for increased engagement through a number of different resources:
- Breakout Rooms – This program is used to divide attendees into small groups, giving them time to discuss the presentation, collaborate on any questions, and even network. While the virtual attendees discuss in their breakout rooms, in-person attendees may use this time to meet in small groups and discuss the content.
- Polling Features – This feature, which is implemented in programs such as Zoom, provides the option to integrate multiple choice and short response questions directly into the presentation. Polling technology for in-person audiences is also available and user-friendly—enabling event hosts to provide a comparable experience to all attendees. Keeping attendees involved, especially virtually, is a key component for a successful event. The polling questions also provide insight as the data can be tracked and analyzed to help the presenters respond to any questions from the audience.
- Face-to-Face Communication – Since a major component of the hybrid model consists of in-person attendees, traditional networking and face-to-face interaction could be made available to those attendees that are comfortable doing so. The ability for attendees to meet and interact in person again will help facilitate conversations and bring back a missed element to corporate events.
As hybrid events become more popular, addressing any budgetary concerns will be critical to the success or failure of your event. Hybrid events will necessitate a larger financial commitment than purely virtual meetings, however, fewer in-person attendees will likely allow for smaller venues and decreased catering costs. Having the proper technology and protocols in place will also help lead to a reduced budget, allowing the allocation of funds to other necessary components.
To ensure your hybrid event is as successful as possible, a robust technology system must be put in place to seamlessly connect both the virtual and in-person audience. It is critical to have a trustworthy system capable of simulcasting the event, while also having the ability to keep virtual attendees engaged. Any technological glitch or connectivity issue may take away from the virtual attendees’ experience and potentially ruin what would have otherwise been a successful event.
The hybrid event model can be extremely complex as it can be considered to be two simultaneous events. The product delivered to those in person must be the same as those virtually attending the event, or you are likely to lose engagement. To be successful, hybrid events must go beyond simply streaming the event and work to keep virtual attendees engaged. Simply streaming the content may leave virtual attendees feeling left out and increase drop-off. Coordination between the team is a vital part of creating and maintaining a successful event.
Health and Safety Protocols
As certain cities now require vaccinations for in-person events, event coordinators and attendees must follow CDC and state government mandates before moving forward with the event. If the event is in an area that does not require vaccination, certain protocols – such as masks, rapid tests, or temperature checks, may be put in place to ensure the health and safety of the attendees.
Simply put, hybrid models are likely to become the norm within the event industry, and it is vital for companies who host events to adapt to this change and determine the formula that will serve them and their audience/customers best.
Questions: For questions on this article or any marketing related issues, please reach out to Frank Vitale, Chief Marketing Officer at Berdon LLP at 212.331.7650 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Caravello is Marketing Coordinator at Berdon LLP who works on numerous firm-wide business development initiatives, such as conducting research on prospects, their industries, and competitors. He is involved in executing various aspects of industry-focused business development plans, including event coordination and content development and is responsible for helping to maintain the Firm’s database and managing social media platforms.