Back in lockdown, a survey by etc.venues revealed that 16% of event planners viewed confusion with technology as the main barrier to planning successful hybrid events. Post-pandemic and many hybrid events later, the industry now has a wealth of knowledge at its fingertips around planning events with digital components, which, evidently, are very much here to stay. In fact, a study by MPI found that 70% of event planners feel that hybrid events will be a hugely important part of the events industry both now and in the future, especially thanks to the cost of living crisis impacting company travel budgets.
Whilst we know a lot more now than we did back in the pandemic, there are still some common hurdles with hybrid event technology that planners face. Below, we've listed the top 3 most common hurdles and how to solve them.
Hurdle 1: Planners having difficulty using hybrid technology
You could plan a seamless in-person event in your sleep, right? But when it comes to hybrid, perhaps you're struggling with delivering an equally fantastic experience on the virtual side of things? In 2023 there is a plethora of event tech tools at our disposal, and ever-evolving event technology allows planners to create some truly incredible immersive experiences for their attendees.
But if you don't know how to use it, it can be overwhelming to choose the right tools and implement them successfully. But trust us when we say you don't have to be a tech wizard to plan a successful hybrid event! The key lies in making things as easy as possible for yourself, and bringing in people who know what they're doing when it's necessary.
Solution: Keep the tech simple
- Opt for an all-in-one platform. An all-in-one virtual or hybrid event platform will make things really easy for you by giving you everything you need to create the virtual elements of your hybrid event in one place. This is much easier than having to get your head around and integrate multiple technologies to create a seamless attendee experience - the more tech you have, the more complicated it becomes. Our blog on all-in-one event platforms versus stacked technology has the full lowdown, but in the meantime check out Arena for a fully brandable, affordable, and easy-to-use option.
- Choose a platform that provides ample support. It's important to choose a platform that has a comprehensive knowledgebase or an efficient support team, especially if you're underconfident with technology. This way, you can be sure you'll get the help you need to get the most out of the platform. Alternatively, you can hire an event manager to support you with this.
- Familiarise yourself with the tech ahead of time. Make sure that you arrange demos of the platform you’re using and spend time on it ahead of your event so that you're really comfortable and familiar with it. You could even host an internal meeting on the platform and get feedback from your team on how they found the experience and what they struggled with. This will inform how you communicate with your delegates and use the hybrid event technology during the event.
- Hire a professional production team. We’d recommend having a professional production team film, produce and live stream your content. That way, they can deal with everything to do with your live stream and production without you having to worry about it. This will include sourcing the right equipment, such as microphones and cameras.
- Give yourself more time than you need. There's nothing worse than being pressed for time when you're trying to get your head around new technology. Inevitably, things always take longer than you expect. So, give yourself extra time every step of the way, especially when it comes to getting everything set up in your event venue on the day. Better to be sitting there twiddling your thumbs than having a panic attack when your event's about to start and you're nowhere near ready!
Hire Space Top Tip:
Make sure the venue you choose for your hybrid event has the capability to successfully deliver your event, and that the AV team is well briefed on exactly what your event objectives are and what is needed so they can take the reins. London is full of fantastic hybrid-ready venues, so browse our top selection to find the perfect fit for you.
Hurdle 2: Attendees having difficulty using your hybrid event platform
No matter how clear you make it, there’s always going to be an online attendee or two who struggles to access your event platform, or who finds it hard to use. After all, every virtual attendee will be accessing your event from a different location and, of course, using their own technology and internet.
Although you can't eliminate the possibility of technical failure on your audience's side completely, you can take some steps to make it less likely. Check out our guidance on contingency planning to ensure you can resolve any event-related problem that's thrown your way in 2023.
Solution: Walk them through it
- Consider who your audience is. Take some time to consider how confident your audience will be using the latest technology. Although it's hard to know for sure, factors such as your audience's average age and typical occupation could be good indicators. Then, bear this in mind throughout the planning of the virtual elements of your hybrid event. For example, a conference for IT specialists could utilise more advanced technology than a charity AGM. Our introduction to virtual event design has more.
- Provide clear joining instructions. Make sure that you provide regular communication ahead of time, letting your online audience know what they have to do in order to access the event. This could include setting up an account before the big day arrives.
- Use 'one click' sign-in. Some event platforms, such as Arena, will provide your attendees with a 'one click' sign-in link. This feature makes it really easy for attendees to access an event and minimises the chance for any tech issues to occur.
- Educate your attendees. Depending on your audience, you may wish to use pre-event comms to explain how to use the platform, either by sending clear instructions in a written format or a quick video tutorial on how to get the most out of the event.
- Be on hand to support. Make sure your audience knows what to do if they really can't access your event when the time comes. Ideally, this will mean providing a way for them to contact you outside of the platform, for example over the telephone or via live chat. As event managers are usually busy on event days, it might help to have some dedicated staff managing the support lines so they can respond quickly. Our hybrid event experts can support you on this, so just get in touch for more information.
Hurdle 3: Your technology stops working
Whether it’s to do with a dodgy internet connection or a broken piece of equipment, there’s always a chance that the technology simply doesn’t work as it should on the day. That said, there are things you can do both before and during your event to reduce the risk of things going wrong (and to minimise the impact if things don't quite go to plan).
Solution: plan for every eventuality
- Choose the right venue. Any venues you consider for your hybrid event should have fast internet speed and, ideally, a hard-wired ethernet connection, 10Mbp+ upload and download speed, and open ports, to minimise the chance of technical failure. Make sure your venue is hybrid-ready and is willing to work with you and support you from start to finish.
- Read reviews. Make sure that you do your research and choose a hybrid event platform that has good reviews and an excellent track record. Some will struggle with bigger virtual audiences, so make sure your platform has experience catering for online audiences of your size. Ultimately, it's safest to use tech that has been tried and tested.
- Hire a technician. If you get a professional production team to film your hybrid event, they may also provide virtual tech support on the day. If not, hire a technician to troubleshoot any technical issues. That way, if there are problems, you can get them resolved quickly and professionally. Or, you could chat to our experts at Hire Space 360 about how we can support your event needs with unlimited event tech access and onsite support.
- Make a plan B. No matter how hard you try, sometimes things do go wrong. But that's okay - it's how you handle it that really matters. Why not put a plan B in place just in case all else fails and your live stream does cut out for a period of time? For instance, you could record all your content sessions so that virtual audience members who missed out can access everything on-demand after your event has come to an end (which has the added benefit of extending the life of your event). Read our guide to contingency planning (with a free downloadable resource) for more top tips and tricks.
Need some more help with event technology?
Hire Space 360 is the ultimate event planner toolkit for planning seamless hybrid events. Not only will you get unlimited access to our state-of-the-art event technology, but you'll also save time with venue, supplier, and technology sourcing for all your events (as well as bypassing tricky procurement processes). You'll also be able to standardise and consolidate all your supplier contracting, as well as get on-demand access to eventprofs who can slot in to fill any gaps and help with any issues.
Find out more about Hire Space 360
Event technology can be daunting to implement successfully, but there is plenty of help on hand! If you're ready to start planning your hybrid event and need help with the tech side, or perhaps with finding the perfect venue or suppliers, just get in touch below and we'll be more than happy to assist.
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Izzie brings a deep understanding of the events world to Hire Space, and keeps busy by writing lots of Hire Space and EventLAB content and managing the Hire Space social media presence.