With the sudden changes in the industry, hybrid events have become the immediate solution that event planners have pivoted to. For those who don’t know what a hybrid event is, it’s the meeting strategy that promotes the simultaneous benefits of attendees from an in-person setting and those who attend digitally. It’s unique and ultimately inclusive.
Hybrid is no easy solution. It has been known to give professional planners a few challenges and one of these is keeping both onsite and digital attendees interested and staying fully immersed throughout the whole duration of the event. The key answer to this is engagement. Keep on reading and learn these useful engagement tips and rein in your attendees.
Content is still king
Get to know your target audience and create customized content that would cater to both sides of your participants. Build your content as relevant and unique as possible. This is going to need a little bit of research on your target personas and it should let your attendees literally sit down and say “This is new and interesting. I am going to stay.”.
Make sure that it can be accessed from multiple platforms from in-person venue setups up to on-demand sessions and digital live streams. Also, take note that timing is relevant. Hold sessions according to the most convenient time and time zone. Consider content length and breaks in between. Long traditional keynote sessions work with in-person events but with hybrid and people’s tiny attention spans, hold shorter content to keep your virtual audience engaged.
User-friendly technology and tools
Digital event management software is one of the most important tools in a Hybrid Event. Online virtual events have progressed greatly and there are plenty of conference management companies that let you have a virtual stage. As comprehensive it may be to planners and hosts, it can be a bit more complex for visitors.
Go for vendors that give you the ability to manage everything under one system and offer an easy-to-use platform that won’t confuse your attendees. The last thing you need is your attendees losing interest because of a faulty and confusing platform.
Help your attendees build relationships with each other — especially between onsite and online attendees. This is one of the most common challenges event organizers face in creating a hybrid event. You can be creative with your approaches. Open chat rooms, networking lounges, hold live Q&A’s. You will be responsible for opening the gateway or being a bridge between them.
Do not overlook the inclusion of virtual participants. This makes them feel important and you would be able to provide equal networking opportunities. One quick tip is to engage before, during, and even after the event is finished. Remember, consistency is key. Keep the conversation going and your attendees will surely thank you for it.
Inserting the element of games into your hybrid event is a smart strategy. People are wired with a competitive spirit and providing a reward system will encourage your attendees to participate further. Encourage people to join an in-event competition and fire up their competitiveness to win. It helps in keeping them hooked throughout the event, giving additional engagement opportunities.
Let them have fun and give equal opportunities to both onsite and virtual attendees with the same incentives in achieving a certain game goal. This can foster engagement and it’s also a great way to break the ice. This can also help attendees break the barrier between onsite and virtual attendees.
Unique online entertainment
Hybrid events open doors for plenty of unique entertainment opportunities. Invite special guest artists that can perform during intermission and broadcast them live or hold F&B tutorials and invite professional chefs or mixologists to teach your viewers a new recipe. The possibilities are limitless.
Give your audience the right platform that gives them the ability to interact, engage, and simply enjoy the entertainment. With it, you would be able to upgrade your attendance experience, boost engagement, and encourage participation — leaving your attendees a very memorable experience.
Ultimately, the goal is to provide your attendees with a lot of reasons to stay as you build bridges between the two worlds that you are connecting. It can be a challenge but big challenges come with great returns. Jam pack your event with interactive activities and don’t forget to include your virtual attendees in every one of them. Remember, the beauty of Hybrid Events is giving both sides all the value your event has to offer.