The Complete Hybrid Event Checklist for Event Planners

In 2020, it’s no secret that the events industry was rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that things have settled down, event planners are trying to determine the long-term impact and future of events and how they should adapt. Many events will continue to be virtual while others will return to being in-person. Most events will be hybrid events – a combination of in-person and live streaming.

A survey by Freeman Data Solutions showed that 78% of 20,000+ brand marketers agreed that moving forward, in-person events will pivot to hybrid events.

Successful hybrid events require a different planning mindset and more unique technical requirements than strictly in–person events. Event planners must become proficient at planning for not only in-person challenges but the technological challenges that come with virtual events as well. The successful combination of the two is what will make your hybrid events boom!

Hybrid events benefit everyone involved:

  • Organizers reach a larger audience
  • Attendees have more options to meet and engage with more people
  • Speakers can reach and engage with more attendees and other influencers
  • Vendors and Sponsors have the opportunity to capture more qualified leads

Since planning a hybrid event is very different, we’ve pulled together a checklist that will make it easier for event planners like you to make your next hybrid event a hit!

Top Things to Consider for Your Next Hybrid Event

Here are some things to consider for your next hybrid event:

  • What venues are you considering? What dates?
  • Which of your speakers will be at the event in person and which will be speaking virtually?
  • Use a project management tool to organize your team with to-do lists
  • Create ticket levels for in-person and virtual
  • Decide if you will send swag boxes to virtual attendees if they purchase “premium” tickets
  • Create kits for attendees, speakers and sponsors that walk them through the details of how your hybrid (in-person and virtual/live streaming) event will work
  • Create and send out email updates about sessions, speakers, and have CTAs for ordering tickets
  • Write instructions for how attendees can get the most out of the event – whether they’re attending online or on-site – include technical/troubleshooting information for virtual attendees
  • Create rules for how attendees will network with each other

Video engineer sits at switcher with laptop and monitors to manage the virtual side of a hybrid event in a theater event space

Choose a Venue That Can Handle Hybrid Events

How do you choose a venue that can handle a hybrid event? Here are some things to consider:

  • Is the event venue you are considering the right size for your in-person attendees?
  • Does the venue have the right technical capabilities, electrical equipment, internet bandwidth, etc. for live streaming?
  • What live streaming equipment do they have on-site? (screens, cables, internet, etc.)

Put Your Hybrid Event Team to Work

Your team will be doing double duty at a hybrid event. Make sure you assign team members clear roles and ensure that they know what they are responsible for during the event:

  • Assign tasks to prepare for the on-site and virtual event
  • Create a virtual team and an on-site team – assign team members to each area of the event – both virtual and in-person (like working at each of the stages/sessions, online chat management, help, registration, trade show floor, etc.)
  • Ensure someone is responsible for responding to questions on chat and relaying chat questions to the speakers
  • Make sure you make announcements of upcoming speaker presentations and locations to all attendees
  • Have people dedicated to technical support in case virtual attendees have issues or questions
  • Establish rules for attendees to network with each other online
  • Create scheduled breaks so attendees are encouraged to visit live and virtual trade show “floor” and engage with sponsors and other attendees

screen capture of the live stream from a hybrid event with an open chat room where presenter is on-stage in-person speaking to audience at round tables

Help Your Presenters Plan for Hybrid 

Speakers/presenters are the main reason people come to events. Here are some tips to help prepare your speakers:

  • Confirm if a speaker is coming to the in-person conference or will appear virtually
  • Tour the venue in person, look at the stage or practice a video walkthrough if you are presenting virtually
  • If speaking virtually, make sure you have correct technical equipment (professional mic, headphone, professional background, direct link to internet – not Wi-Fi)
  • Remember to speak to both the on-site attendees and the virtual audience
  • Respond to direct messages and in-person questions during the event
  • Interact with attendees by answering live questions and make sure the event team has someone managing chat so you can answer virtual attendee questions
  • Spend time with other speakers networking

Utilize the Best Hybrid Event Technology

Hybrid event technology is not one size fits all. There are literally hundreds of event platforms to accommodate virtual, in-person, and hybrid events – but only some are built for hybrid audiences. Here are some questions to ask when deciding what type of event platform you will need for your in-person and virtual audiences:

  • Do you need your hybrid event platform to include a paid or free registration portal for attendees? 
  • Should attendees have an account to log into for the event to access event materials either on-site or online? 
  • Do attendees need access to the event on their mobile device? 
  • Do you need a platform that allows you to access content after the event? 
  • How do you want attendees to communicate during your hybrid event? Do you want attendees to be able to connect on social media or just through your event platform? What type of chat experience are you looking for between your audiences? 
  • Are your virtual attendees going to need to meet in a video-conference style setting? Are you scheduling in-person meet ups for attendees? 
  • What type of ADA accommodations do you need to make for your attendees? How do these accommodations translate to your in-person audience as well as your virtual audience? 

Hybrid events require a whole different skill set and planning mindset – and you shouldn’t try to go it alone! It’s important for you to have a professional video and event production team with experience running live streaming events there on-site to help you run your hybrid event. 

If you’d like to talk with us about your next hybrid event, contact our team today!