Whilst we have a prospective start date for live and hybrid events, it’s no secret that events will look very different to how they did pre-pandemic. With 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. In the meantime, read on for London Filmed's top tips on planning your hybrid event.
What is a Hybrid event?
A hybrid event is one that has both an in-person element and a virtual element, and despite their new-found fame over the past 12 months, hybrid events aren't a new concept. In fact, 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. Check out a case study on a hybrid away day Hire Space attended at RSA House to see one in action.
Why Hybrid events?
There are a number of benefits to running hybrid events:
You can reach participants anywhere in the world and potentially reach new untapped markets more easily.
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.
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. You could consider using a virtual events platform such as Arena to host the online part of your hybrid event, so that your virtual attendees can easily gain high-quality access to your content as well as networking opportunities and access to any sponsors.
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 reporting
There are a variety of KPIs that you can use to make sense of your event and get a better idea of the ROI, such as lead generation, attendance and engagement levels. There are also a whole range of tools and analytics to help you with this. For more information, get in touch with our experts to find out how you can harness your event's data too.
Hybrid events will likely come in cheaper than standard in-person events due to the virtual element. Virtual events can be a lot cheaper than in-person events, due to the fact that they require fewer resources (less catering and smaller venue for example), but costs can still sneak up, so you'll need to keep an eye on what you're spending.
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 has:
1. Strong 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. Sufficient 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 about running a hybrid event. You can also read our guide to finding the perfect venue in a post-pandemic world.
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. 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. However if you're looking to add in networking, Q&A functionality, smart agendas, breakout rooms etc, hosting this on a platform such as Arena will make your life a lot easier and create a much slicker experience.
Check out this piece on the ‘10 of the Best ‘All-in-One’ Virtual Event Platforms’ and book a free consultation with one of our hybrid 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 and 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 below, who'll be more than happy to help. You can also check out our Ultimate Guide To Hybrid Events for more information.