When Live And Virtual Event Come Together: Introducing Hybrid Events
With recent developments in our world’s health status, event planners across the globe are working to develop new, exciting, and safe ways to bring their audiences together. Going from live to virtual events isn’t out of the ordinary as the events industry has been evolving for many years into the digital age we live in. 2020 has challenged event planners to get creative, including embracing hybrid events.
What is a Hybrid Event?
Hybrid events are live, in-person events that offer virtual components. The combined power of live and virtual offers event planners a broader reach to increase their audiences and improved data tracking, which can result in better ROI for their events. Hybrid events also provide audiences the opportunity to participate and engage at a level they are comfortable with – either face-to-face or virtually. It’s a win-win event!
Top Hybrid Event Ideas in 2020 and Beyond
When you combine your live audience and your virtual audience, you have the unique ability to accommodate a larger variety of event types. Here are some of the top hybrid event ideas in 2020 – and beyond.
There is nothing quite like standing in a crowd of thousands, singing at the top of your lungs and dancing like a fool to your favorite musical artist. In today’s world, musicians across the world are accommodating a hybrid concert set up. Hybrid concerts are allowing venues to host a reduced number of in-person attendees to keep the health risks low, but still host thousands at their concert by incorporating a virtual concert platform.
Concert promoters are offering specialty ticket options for venues with restrictions and a virtual ticketing option where those who are watching online get the same incredible concert experience from the comfort and safety of their own home. You can offer special added value opportunities in exchange for “front row tickets” online with that same social interaction and merchandise benefit that attendees expect, such as virtual meet-ups and VIP online merchandise. Some promoters and venues are also adding in online and mobile food ordering options for both in-person and virtual attendees.
Hybrid Fashion Shows
While hybrid fashion shows aren’t new, they are becoming increasingly popular in the fashion world. Just recently, Copenhagen Fashion Week announced that its annual summer event is opting for a hybrid fashion show to include a more limited amount of fashion professionals physically in attendance, but reach a whole new audience with the virtual aspect of the event. While they aren’t doing any sort of livestream of the fashion shows, which is always a viable option, Copenhagen Fashion Week is offering an exclusive email campaign where users can sign up to receive digital access to images from the fashion professionals attending and special benefits from the “Digital Runway.”
Hybrid Trade Shows
Trade shows are critical in many industries for a variety of reasons, including product launches, showcasing new and existing products and services, and, most commonly, capturing qualified leads for business development. To host a hybrid trade show, you can still plan on hosting a strong in-person event as livestreaming presentations and informational sessions are important to sharing the messaging appropriately across the live and virtual audiences. The only change would be a more limited audience. You can plan on making your in-person invite list more exclusive or offer a higher ticket price to engage with the right audience while you can be more broad and reach a much wider audience on the virtual side. Make every effort to incorporate lead capture features that are detailed to qualify your leads for your exhibitors.
When offering virtual features for a hybrid trade show, the moreyou can be, the better! Consider developing a 3D environment for your audience to navigate through. This is much more fun than just a boring webpage. You can also plan on offering virtual networking opportunities and downloadable (and shareable!) content for your audience. Make a lasting impression with the information and tools you provide.
PRO TIP: Offer an online store for products from the trade show that is exclusive for your virtual attendees. This creates added value that attendees may be looking for with their virtual access.
Hybrid Career Fairs
Just because we’re moving into a world where “work-from-home” is the new normal, that doesn’t mean hiring stops. Career fairs are still necessary for a wide variety of industries and colleges who work to give their students the best opportunities as they graduate. Many career fair organizers have enjoyed the hybrid career fairs as it allows for better coordination between locations where the fairs are typically hosted, employers, and attendees. While there are a variety of ways to host a hybrid career fair, there are some huge advantages to hosting it hybrid style. You are able to better expand involvement of the applications as anyone who has an internet connection can participate. You can also engage with a larger variety of employers from all across the world. This is a major advantage for the more specialized industries or areas of study.
While face-to-face is always preferred in the interview process, allowing hybrid career fair attendees the opportunity to save money on travel and time getting to the career fair may provide them better opportunity to provide relevant information on how their skills may be appropriate for the jobs they are interested in. One of the most natural flows for a hybrid career fair includes a more brief virtual career fair with an in-person career fair to follow. This allows the attendees to be more organized upon their arrival as to which employers they would like to connect with and limits the face-to-face interaction for those who are concerned about current health risks associated with large crowds.
Many corporate conferences that once hosted hundreds of professionals in-person are now hosting thousands online across the world. Hybrid conferences are enjoyable for everyone who is able to attend, both in-person and online. These part-live / part-virtual conferences still host keynote speakers, breakout sessions, virtual networking events, and exhibitors – just like a fully-live conference.
Like with any conference, you are putting attendees first and it’s your #1 job to keep them engaged. Offering a professional event design with the best speakers at your hybrid conference is a great place to start! It’s also very important to choose the right technology for your hybrid conference to provide actionable, social content. When you’re combining both live and virtual features, you want to give both your in-person and virtual attendees the most professional, user-friendly experience possible. With the right technology, you have a lot more control of measuring your engagement as well. This will help you grow and adjust for your future conferences.
Hybrid Fundraising Events
In 2020 and beyond, professional event planners are anticipating that fundraising events will be a hybrid of both small, in-person events and virtual content. While donors anticipate attending live events to see their immediate return on their donation (in the form of a fun event!), donors can still feel engaged while attending the virtual side of a fundraising event.
Hybrid fundraising events combine the personal impact of a live event with the everlasting experience of the virtual event. What can fundraising event planners do for hybrid fundraising events? Many fundraising professionals are hosting online live and silent auctions, creating special concerts, tours, and presentations to engage donors, encouraging online shopping that benefits shoppers and the organization, offering special speaking engagements for more intimate donor experiences, and a variety of other online fundraising options that can be incorporated into a live, in-person event or even a livestreaming event.
Looking to Plan Your Hybrid Event?
If you’re ready to turn your live event into a hybrid event, contact the team at Wired Production Group. With over 25 years of experience and a dedicated team of live and virtual event professionals, we are here to take your event to the next level anywhere.