By Kyle Arndt
As events begin to reclaim their former status in the world, everyone is looking for hybrid event solutions to maximize their efforts and create an inclusive experience for their attendees. Unlike a fully virtual or in-person event, hosting a hybrid event anticipates multiple types of audience interactions. And, with hybrid events being relatively new, it may feel like you’re lacking prior experience on what to expect.
First thing first, to set up your hybrid event for success, begin by mapping out your event budget. It is more important than ever to future-proof your events, and exploring best practices, ways to cut cost, and the best resources to invest in, will result in a truly rewarding hybrid event. So, here are some things to consider when budgeting out your next hybrid event.
The biggest elephant in the room. Literally. Hybrid events are unique because they really function more like two events, rather than a single one. This means you need to consider a virtual event platform, as well as an in-person space. This being said, don’t be afraid to brainstorm and leverage a space you haven’t tried before. Hotels can come with added costs, and maybe an open gallery, warehouse, or company building will be able to facilitate the same objective. And, for your online venue, it’s critical to do your research. With so many event platforms out there, make sure your choice comes with the features you need, and the customer service you deserve.
2. Your Strategy
Building a hybrid event is like a choose your own adventure novel, there are many options, and all can provide different value. One option is hosting a large in-person event, and broadcasting this to your remote audience. Then, there is the possibility to host your event on separate days, with in-person and virtual audiences treated as separate. Or, you can choose to have your main content appear online, and relay this information to smaller in-person events. Explore the different hybrid models, and brainstorm creative solutions with your partners to build an event that makes sense for your organization and your attendees.
While we are moving away from strict COVID regulations, it is always important to create a comfortable and safe environment for your attendees. That means you can’t decorate your room how you used to, with shuffled table assignments and a standard room layout. It may seem mundane, but make sure you consider the flow of the room, chair/table count, as well as six-feet of furniture distancing, and build these needs into your budget.
4. Event Production
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention production decisions when curating your event. Arguably, production has provided the most value in the world of virtual events, creating a link between the at-home and the in-person audience. In order to host an event that’s engaging for all of your attendees, a webcam video just won’t cut it. When you invest in crystal-clear, broadcast-level technology, you won’t regret it. This professional element takes an event from ordinary to memorable, and will keep audience members connected to the content.
Ultimately, the ROI potential from hybrid events is what really sets it apart from events and budgeting of the past. With the ability to reach a larger demographic, your event influence has double, even triple, the power. The low barrier to entry for hybrid events allows your audience to grow and expand, and this is where your investment pays off. I am really excited about the future of the hybrid events, and exploring ways to build creative solutions that result in success. If you have a question, or want to learn more, connect with me today and let’s get started!