A guy explains virtual event management

Epic Hybrid Event Ideas and Examples to Make Your Events Hit Harder

Virgil Wadhwa
• August 1, 2022

(6 min read)

Hybrid events are fantastic – they let you scale your events without the perplexing logistics. But what does it take to host breathtaking events that earn you more mindshare and, most importantly, make you and your hybrid audiences win? Let’s explore some hybrid event ideas and examples of hybrid events done right.

Table of Content

We’re super thrilled about this list of hybrid event ideas and examples. Why? Because this list brings some inspiring ideas from major hybrid events and conferences from across the globe. Besides, we also include a listicle of ideas to help you make your hybrid events more fun and engaging. 

As event organizers, we’re sure you’d like your attendees to leave energized and excited. Thus you’d need to plan activities that make room for some fun and serendipity. 

So let’s explore some ideas to add zing to your hybrid events. 

Hybrid event ideas to engage on-site audiences

Treasure hunts

You can make meaningful connections with your crowd if you help them loosen up and enable them to network. And what’s better than playing games in teams to help people know each other? 

A treasure hunt will enable your attendees to mingle and have fun. You can divide attendees into groups and send them on a treasure hunt. Hide one treasure for each team to find, and keep the rules simple – the team who finds the treasure first, wins. 

Breaking fortune cookies

Fortune cookies are exciting – you’re always up for a surprise! Besides, they taste good too. 

Here’s what to do: 

  • Break people into groups of 6, and have everyone pick a cookie from the jar. 
  • Let them share their fortunes and opinions in small groups. 

Icebreakers 

A fun and simple idea to kickstart networking at your hybrid event

Here’s what to do: 

  • Distribute cards to your attendees, and let them write a short story about them with their name on it.  
  • Now collect all the cards and mix them up 
  • Ask attendees to pick a card and read the stories. They can then connect with the person behind the story they read about

Live entertainment 

You can also include live entertainment like performances from famous bands, stand-up comedians, poets, and more. Hubspot’s hybrid event is a classic example of using live entertainment to take the event experience to the next level. 

Ideas to engage your virtual attendees

Scavenger hunt 

You can easily list some items and ask your attendees to click a photo of themselves with those items.

  • Assign points for each item
  • Set a time limit
  • The person with the maximum time limit wins.  

Virtual mixology class with kits

Mixing nice cocktails and mocktails is an art. While it’s always fun to be served a nice refreshing drink by the bartender, it can be even more fun to mix a refreshing drink yourself. 

  • Arrange a mixology expert who could teach your audience
  • Send virtual mixology kits to your attendees
  • Your attendees can mix a drink for themselves with the help of a live instructor

Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Online Haiku

Haiku is a poem with three lines and 17 syllables at max: 

  • You can divide your team members into groups of 3 
  • A person in a team can come up with one line of Haiku each
  • The end results from each team can be displayed to all of the attendees, and the winner can be chosen via polls

Creative and fun activities can energize and de-stress people during your event, which can do wonders for the sit-through rates of your hybrid event.

Virtual photo booth

Virtual photo booths are fun and can also help you get your event viral. 

  • Setup virtual photo booths
  • Ask attendees to take pictures, selfies, or selfies with their pets via a photo booth app
  • Best images can be displayed live during your virtual events
  • Attendees can post their pictures live with a hashtag of your event

Hybrid event ideas to bring your on-site and virtual audiences closer

Breakout rooms with screens and webcams

It’s easy to plan networking activities for on-site and virtual attendees separately. But it’s a real challenge to mix them together. However, it can be a great leveler. 

So let’s see how this hybrid event Idea can work out for your next event: 

  • Distribute your on-site attendees into small groups, and do the same with your virtual audience. 
  • Now allot rooms to each group of your on-site attendees, and assign virtual breakout rooms for your virtual attendees. 
  • Include screens and webcams for your groups of attendees in each room, so they can connect with virtual attendees. 

Bringing your audience closer with a hybrid event app

Having a capable hybrid event app can level experiences for both your hybrid and virtual attendees. 

Here’s how you can use your event app to boost networking between distributed audiences: 

  • DJ for on-site and virtual audiences: You can have a live DJ for your distributed attendees and stream the DJ session live for the virtual ones. 
  • In-app trivia, quizzes, and polls: It can be super simple to host polls and engage trivia on an app. The best part is that virtual and live audiences can access an app via their phones. 

Giving your on-site attendees a virtual speed-networking pass 

Let your offline attendees join your virtual attendees with an app? Many platforms support virtual breakout rooms and virtual speed-networking sessions

All your offline attendees need to do is open their hybrid event app and join a virtual speed-networking session via their devices to join the fun. 

Hybrid event ideas and examples from the top global conferences

In summary, hybrid events need unique ideas to engage in-person and virtual audiences. These ideas range from hosting treasure hunts for the in-person attendees to organizing fun trivia and virtual games for the online attendees.

Some companies like Salesforce, HubSpot, and Moz host inspiring hybrid events, and we can draw some ideas for your next event. So let’s explore them in the listicle below:

Takeaways from the Outbound event

Outbound is one of the biggest events out there for professionals in sales.

They host a power-packed conference that offers an amazing speaker line-up, fun activities, in-person experiences, and great networking opportunities. 

But they have a few tricks up their sleeves to take their events to the next level:

  • Exclusive speaker interviews for both virtual and in-person audiences 
  • A lower ticket price for virtual audiences
  • Bonus learning material as takeaways

Roaring entertainment at HubSpot’s Inbound event

HubSpot double downs on audience engagement at their events. But going hybrid poses a few challenges – how to engage their virtual audience equally? The way HubSpot solved these challenges makes a great example of a hybrid event. 

Let’s quickly dig into the hybrid event ideas from the event:

  • Performances from bands and standup comedians: It’s tough to glue yourself to just informative sessions. At some point, the amount of information becomes overwhelming. To tackle this, Hubspot introduced entertaining breaks in between. With roaring musical performances and upbeat standup comedy, they kept both the virtual and in-person crowd drooling for some more! 
  • Live chats, Q&A, polls, and moderator interactions: Real-time discussions are magical – they energize the atmosphere. People love to share their thoughts and ideas in real-time during a session.

Moreover, moderators can use Q&A and polls to vibe-check the event and give real-time reactions to the audience. 

Super Bowl 

The Super Bowl is more than a sporting event. But It’s also one of the most anticipated hybrid events. Inviting an in-person gathering of over 70,0000 and 36 million virtual attendees, the Superbowl can give us many inspiring takeaways and ideas for a hybrid event. 

So let’s dig in: 

  • Bringing people together: Superbowl is more than an event for people. It’s an excuse to chill and get together. Think of Super Bowl, and you’d think about a day with a holiday spirit, bumping into new people, cheering together for your favorite teams, and joining spontaneous conversations about sports and business.  
  • It’s about the right event, for the right audience, at the right time: Super Bowl is always hosted on a Sunday – the time when people are in the weekend vibe. 
  • Superb event moderation: For remote audiences, some live commentators energize every moment of the game.  

Dreamforce 2021 

Dreamforce designed bespoke standalone experiences for their physical and digital audiences. This time in 2021, they invited trailblazers back to their Dreamforce national park, where they had arranged a festival-style setup and power-packed entertaining acts, and insightful speaker sessions.  

Here’s how they pulled off their flagship event: 

  • Flagship entertainment and energizing themes: If you were one of the lucky ones attending the Dreamforce event live, you would have caught Metalica, Foo fighters, and many other Iconic supercharged acts. 
  • Festival theme and mascots: Festivals bring people together. The Dreamforce team turned their park into an amusing festival-like place with booths, lights, fireworks, confetti, and mascots roaming around everywhere. This gave room for some serendipity and fun. 
  • Insightful sessions for everyone: People are more than their jobs, and they like to attend sessions on topics they care about, even if they lie beyond their scope of work. That’s why the team at Dreamforce invited revered speakers from all walks of life to their conference – to provide value beyond their expectations.  

Apple product launch event

Probably one of the best hybrid event examples with superior production, immersive content, incredible hosts, and exciting product launches. 

Here are a few things to learn from them: 

  • Having fun: Apple sparingly includes fun elements in their event here and there. You could find these creative elements in their content, speeches, and introductions.  
  • Solid production: From accurately timed camera cuts to visually immersive product explainers and on-point storyline for their target persona. Apple smashed it.
  • Humanizing elements: Their presenters, hosts, and event content feel human, natural, and pleasant. A CEO of a multi-billion dollar company seems so approachable with a smile on their face and pulling off some witty one-liners. 

MozCon

Moz, the digital marketing giant, reached its target audience with high-class content on SEO, data, marketing strategies, etc. MozCon doesn’t believe in live streaming its sessions, but they made recorded versions available to watch later at a discounted rate.

The NBA virtual fan experience

Cheering and rooting for your team is one of the most significant elements of a live NBA match. But the organizers devised an innovative solution with the audience staying at home due to the pandemic. 

They brought the audience on mega screens in the stadiums and allowed the players to see the faces and listen to the cheers of their fans from home.

UEG Week

In 2016, UEG Week, one of the world’s most prestigious gastroenterology meetings, witnessed a crowd of 13,000, including virtual and physical. They took extra care to bring the online audience to par by using innovative interactive features like an e-poster lounge.

The Self Publishing Show Live

The Self Publishing Show Live was created for authors who self-publish their work and develop a following without traditional publishing houses. The event hosted 1,000 people, and the recorded sessions were made available for a small fee of 25 USD. They even offered a money-back guarantee in case attendees didn’t like the content. 

As a result, the event garnered a good crowd due to reduced barriers to entry. 

John Mayer’s Dive Bar Tour

It is a great example that shows the power of live video on social media. Back in 2017, talented singer, writer, and guitarist John Mayer commenced his Dive Bar Tour. The show was live-streamed on Facebook and made the musician go viral. 

While hybrid events for business and product launches can be more sophisticated, this example proves a point – live streaming on social media can add to your hybrid event’s success. 

Call to Action Conference

Unbounce congregates at this annual “no fluff” conference that offers actionable takeaways for attendees to raise their marketing IQ and improve conversion rate optimization.

They strategically time their ticket sales, offer early-bird discounts, and record the live show to make it available on-demand later. 

Forward Digital Summit

Great speakers can add awe-inspiring elements to your event. They can deliver engaging sessions and determine the success of your event. Forward Digital Summit is a perfect example. In their 2020 event, they invited John Thompson, chairman of Microsoft, and Hasan Minhaj, an award-winning comedian, to host the talk show.

Growth Marketing Conference

They planned special content for virtual attendees to enhance their event experience and loyalty. Event organizers offered a “Virtual Access Pass”, which additionally gives bonus content in the form of 200+ actionable webinars.

Yellow  Conference

Their hybrid event idea: Hold two separate gatherings for your online community and in-person attendees. The yellow conference makes a great example for your next hybrid event with separate gatherings for physical and online attendees. 

DigiMarCon West

It’s hard to talk about hybrid event examples without mentioning DigiMarcon and its conferences. 

The 2020 digital marketing conference of DigiMarCon West was a turn-page example of a very engaging and successful hybrid event. Expert speakers offered valuable insights into the digital marketing practices that captured the attention of all attendees.

A great idea to monetize your hybrid event: Set your ticket tiers according to the content accessibility. 

For example, DigiMarCon West planned their hybrid event with expert speakers and engaging content with incredible networking opportunities for both virtual and physical attendees. 

They kept the prices of virtual passes significantly lower than the in-person ticket to attract more virtual attendees. The tickets are further differentiated based on the amount of access given.

TwitchCon

TwitchCon, the leading live gaming platform, pulled off the hybrid event format phenomenally well. 

For their Hybrid event in 2020, they organized energizing performances by Blink-182 and a suite of activities like trivia, quizzes, and networking sessions for their online attendees. 

Let’s call it a wrap

Virtual and hybrid events have pushed event organizers to find new, unique, and creative ways to build impeccable experiences for their distributed audiences. 

We discussed a few hybrid event ideas and examples of how global brands are doing them right. 

Here’s a recap of the takeaways from the article:

  • Get creative with planning interactive elements: Audiences thrive off of networking and interactions. Make sure to include activities that enable your distributed audience to connect with each other. Here’s a hybrid event checklist for your convenience.
  • Experiential aspects take your in-person experience to the next level: A blissful yoga session in the open, themed venues and engaging performances from bands and stand-up comedians help you create immersive experiences at your event. 
  • Enable live social media engagement: People love sharing exciting and fun moments with their social accounts. But this helps your event garner more views and inspire more people to join your event next time. 
  • Insightful speakers and thought leadership content: People covet a chance to hear from industry leaders – people who have been there and done that! 
  • Double down on production: A great production team will allow your virtual attendees to stay immersed and tuned to your content. It would also help present your brand in a strong manner. 

Final words 

This list presented some hybrid event ideas and examples of the most successful hybrid events from across the globe. However, there is more to hosting a flawless virtual event – a capable hybrid event platform.

With Airmeet, you can host hybrid events where you and your audience can both win.

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