In spite of the coronavirus lockdown measures starting to ease, it’s going to be a while until it's safe for events to operate in the same way. With its reduced capacities and additional expenses for event organisers and venues, we anticipate the hybrid event format is going to be essential to get the event’s industry back up and running, while also becoming a permanent fixture moving forward.
If this all seems a little daunting, feel free to get in touch with one of our team who can help you with the move to hybrid.
What is a Hybrid event?
A hybrid event is an event taking place in a physical venue, while also being attended by a live and interactive audience online. They aren’t new, you’ve probably already attended a few hybrid events, as they have become increasingly common over the past few years. A few examples of hybrid events include Ted Talks, Apple product launches and Startup Grind conferences.
There are a number of benefits to running hybrid events:
- International reach - you can reach participants anywhere in the world and potentially reach new untapped markets more easily.
- Go Green - human interaction at events is important, however, giving your attendees the option to attend online could help reduce travel and transportation and overall energy usage.
- Flexibility - It gives your event flexibility as people (and companies) have the option to attend the event F2F or virtually, pivot when plans change and potentially allow you to flex pricing options.
- Watch on-demand - all live event content can be recorded and published online or behind a paid wall meaning viewing can take place after the event has finished giving people further flexibility.
- Data & Analytics - there are a variety of tools and analytics to help you make sense of your event and get a better idea of the ROI.
- Reduced costs - it can help to reduce event and delegate costs if done properly with the correct live streaming and online platform technology is adopted.
Key Venue Considerations
It’s not as simple as putting a camera in a room and live streaming the sessions. You will need to start with these 4 essentials when adding a hybrid component to your event. Check your venue’s:
1. Internet connectivity: best practice is to use a dedicated, reliable internet connection. When you’re selecting the venue, check the internet speed using speedtest.net. We’d recommend a dedicated, hard-wired ethernet connection (if possible), 10Mbp+ upload & download speed and open ports.
2. Power: typically a secondary thought for a lot of people when planning an event, however, this is essential when preparing a hybrid event. Without sufficient power and access to the right points, the required live stream will fail.
3. Space for set-up: often neglected but adequate space is important to ensure the technicians have space to set-up and work from comfortably.
4. Access to the venue: when scoping out the venue confirm all access rules and loading regulations, especially in a central location! Access needs to be at all hours of the day, especially for bigger hybrid set-ups.
These 4 points are key to take into account when speaking to venues. If you’re running a hybrid event, start here!
Which platform should I use?
You don’t always need a virtual event platform, however, they do enhance the hybrid event experience and add in a number of features that will set your event apart. Looking to add in networking, Q&A functionality, smart agenda’s, breakout groups etc. (the list is extensive)? There are a lot of variables when it comes to selecting a platform and you don’t want to be paying for functionality you may not need.
Check out this piece on the ‘5 of the Best ‘All-in-One’ Virtual Event Platforms’ and make an enquiry with one of our virtual event experts who can help you make the right choice.
If you don’t want to use a platform for whatever reason, you can still create a limited interactive element to your hybrid event with a production partner. Or perhaps you just want a simple live stream on social media or through your company website, in which case, you may want to invest in adding some production value to your stream.
Timeline & Planning
While your hybrid event may still seem a little while off, give yourself plenty of time to plan; you’re essentially running two events in one. As a typical rule of thumb, we’d suggest the following event planning timelines:
If you have any questions, or need some further guidance on adding a virtual element to your in-person events, get in touch with one of our team who can help.
Co-Founder - London Filmed