When it comes to hybrid and virtual events, we’re in it for the long haul.
Need more? A whopping 93% of attendees said they plan to attend events remotely even in 2023 after the pandemic ends. (Source – Whova)
There could be several reasons to plan a virtual or hybrid event for your association. It makes planning easier for large committees, boards, trade associations, and similar groups, with members spread across regions following different COVID protocols.
Hybrid events can also be more affordable for the association members as they can log in remotely without traveling. And, in the digital age, hybrid events are excellent for online interactions and engagement, boosting your reach and impact between a speaker and attendees.
Conducting a hybrid event can seem formidable at first. For 1 in 5 event planners, lack of experience is often the biggest barrier.
This is why we have put together a handy checklist to guide hybrid events management for business professionals, trade associations, and other groups to increase your chances of surefire success of these meetings.
You can alternatively sign up on Airmeet and host a hybrid event from the dashboard itself. Check out our competitive hybrid conference pricing plans here.
1. Creating a three-pronged channel strategy
The crux of a hybrid event is its multi-channel nature. There are three distinct channel roadmaps you need to have in place when thinking about producing and managing a hybrid event:
- Marketing channels – For business professionals and trade associations, email lists and newsletters are the most effective ways to get the word out. You can also make use of relevant social media groups, Slack channels, and, of course, your community of website users to spread awareness about the hybrid event.
Pro-tip from Airmeet: You can also use presentations from your previous events to generate buzz around future events. This will also get you sponsorships.
- Content delivery channels – What are the offline and online channels that will help deliver the event? You can leverage live streaming on different social media platforms and develop on-demand content that can be accessed later by any association member who couldn’t make it.
Keep in mind that a hybrid event also involves a physical venue, so you’ll need to prep a stage, AV equipment, and so on – more on that later.
Pro-tip from Airmeet: One of the easiest ways to solve this problem is by investing in a virtual event platform that provides a hybrid experience and can handle all types of events. Airmeet comes with integrations and gamification features that help improve engagement and host successful events.
Have more questions? Book a demo today to know how Airmeet can help solve your content delivery problems.
- Revenue generation channels – An advantage of hybrid event production is that it offers numerous options to monetize. Target physical locations that your association members frequent, such as trade fairs. You also need a digital ticketing system for those who will be joining online.
Pro-tip from Airmeet: Offer early-bird discounts and promise a strong value proposition that will incentivize participation by association members and professional peers. Ensure both the in-person experiences and the virtual component of the hybrid event come with the same networking features.
2. Finalizing the association’s hybrid event budget
While event costs can vary, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events has a good rule of thumb you can follow:
If you were spending between $50K and $75K on an in-person event before the pandemic, you should now allocate around $75K to $120K to accommodate hybrid event needs. A small event can be easily wrapped under $50K, and full-scale productions could cost upwards of $200K or thereabouts.
3. Architecting the agenda
The agenda will form the primary driver for any event’s success. In a hybrid format, you need to pay attention to the requirements of community members attending both in-person and online.
For example, if there is a cocktail hour scheduled for live networking, there must be an equivalent virtual lounge where attendees can connect digitally. Partner with industry leaders and look for recent success stories to provide attendees with a meaningful event experience.
Pro-tip from Airmeet: Your event strategy can include breakout sessions in social lounges available on Airmeet. These can even allow the offline attendees to interact and network with the virtual attendees and build connections.
4. Ensuring all the equipment is in place
Confusion with technology is the reason why many event planners avoid going hybrid.
But this doesn’t have to be the case – you can combine traditional event equipment like a high-quality camera, sufficient lighting, sophisticated webcams, and microphones with a powerful event platform specifically meant for hybrid scenarios. This will allow in-person attendees to make the most of a live venue. At the same time, association members connecting online can interact via polls, hand raising, Q&A sessions, real-time contests, and more.
5. Live broadcasting with multiple cameras
Your cameras using broadcasting tools like OBS, Streamyard, Vimeo, or VMix, can be converted into a full hybrid event setup. The Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) stream that this generates can serve as the input for a hybrid event software platform like Airmeet to be streamed across the globe.
6. Streaming on social media
Social media has to be a top focus area, as you can connect with industry peers and business professionals relevant to your association. Specifically, target Facebook and YouTube – two of the most popular video consumption platforms in the world.
Over 3.5 billion live broadcasts were made via Facebook alone in recent years, and 43% of the world’s internet users access YouTube at least once a month.
7. Harmonizing the live and virtual experiences
You can plug an external audio/video into the virtual stage to harmonize a hybrid event’s physical and virtual aspects. This ensures that online attendees gain from extraordinary experiences right at par with the real world.
And, don’t forget to recreate those vital physical spaces like reception, networking lounge, trade booths, virtual photo booths and exhibitions for your virtually attending association members.
8. Collecting and analyzing feedback
Finally, once the event is complete, analyze key metrics like attendance, engagement, audience action, and ROI to plan for the future. Make sure to separately analyze online and offline participation to avoid comparing apples with oranges.
As hybrid event management becomes – and remains – a staple for your association, these are the eight foundational elements that require your attention. At Airmeet, we helped the United Nations Association in Canada, the Startup Réseau Entrepreneurship Community, and several other professional bodies simplify hybrid and virtual events. We believe this is a crucial step to futureproofing your audience connect and engagement strategy, now and also beyond the pandemic.
Frequently Asked Questions – Your Help Meet!
Virtual and hybrid events are types of events that include both a physical location and a virtual component. These are some of the hybrid event examples:
1. Only the speakers decide to meet and stream the session, and the audience is completely virtual.
2. When a part of the audience meets up at a physical location, the event organizers and others meet up online. This type of event uses a lot of virtual elements like speed networking and breakout rooms to build connections.
3. Then, there is a live event with an on-demand virtual component. Here an online audience can access the content and recordings of the event after the event has been completed.
In a virtual event, the event organizers use a virtual event platform like Airmeet to host and execute the event. Everything happens remotely.
In a hybrid event, there is usually an online event and a physical event. The hybrid event format depends on the speakers, attendees, and even the event content.
A hybrid meeting is a meeting that comes with a remote attendee and a virtual attendee. This is often a common format among marketing and sales teams and is much more productive than in-person meetings. Usually, valuable insights, backup plans, and keynote presentations include in a hybrid meeting.
You can set up your conference directly on Airmeet by signing up. If you need more help with the registration process or even want to host events at scale, you can alternatively schedule a demo here.
We also have a customer support lounge with subject-matter experts who can help you address all your hybrid event needs from a single platform.