Why Organize a Hybrid Event?

Contrary to what one might think, hybrid events are not a novelty or the consequence of the health crisis. For years, event organizers have been creating event websites, sending email sequences or advertising online.

However, quarantines, measures and other restrictions related to this crisis have clearly played an accelerating role. To be more precise, the pendulum has swung to including more digital aspects within events. One question remains, though: why organize a hybrid event? Do all events need to become hybrid to meet market expectations? What are the advantages and best practices for setting up a hybrid event? We'll explain it to you.

Hybrid event: pros and cons

There are many advantages to hosting a hybrid event. However, there are points that need to catch your attention as an organizer in order for this event to be successful for all participants.

Advantages of a hybrid event

From the moment a hybrid event combines the advantages of face-to-face and digital, it offers many possibilities not just for the organizers but also for the participants.

1. Inclusion
This format removes certain obstructions or constraints encountered by people who wish to register. They can access content without having to get around. This is, for them, both a time-saving arrangement and a simplification in terms of organization: no need to schedule one's travel, book transportation and hotel, attend the event at a specific time (with possibly available replay), etc.
2. Reputation
Hybrid events are an opportunity to go the extra mile in terms of the participants' experience. You allow your participants to choose the format that suits them best. And by allowing not only physical but also digital access to your event, you significantly increase its reach and therefore its reputation (as it becomes accessible to more people).

3. Ecological aspect
As the public is becoming increasingly sensitive to environmental protection, limiting travel, especially by plane, can be a powerful argument in favor of a hybrid event. Indeed, it is now possible to avoid a round trip during the day to simply attend an event. The carbon footprint will not be totally zero, but will be limited.

4. Economic aspect
In terms of costs, sponsors, or exhibitors at trade fairs often turn out to be more generous since the scope of the event is much larger. The consequences for them are therefore potentially improved.

5. Experience brought to your participants 
Even though in-person meetings are always very important, organizing hybrid events allows you to offer your participants additional experience and therefore engage them more. It also allows you, as an organizer, to reduce the no-show rate.

6. Your community's engagement
Finally, another significant advantage of the hybrid event is the 365 engagement. Digital content is available on the platform during the event, but the link between participants and between participants and organizers may continue throughout the year. You have the opportunity to bring together a real community around your event through, among others, the dissemination of content on demand, the connection between your participants, and the sending of questionnaires.

Attention points when organizing a hybrid event

Thinking about your event strategy in a hybrid way has many advantages, but there are a few things to consider in order to take full advantage of it. In particular, we are thinking of:

  • Budget control: if there are two formats, the budget should not be doubled.

  • Participants' experience: ensure that the online experience of participants is as engaging as that of participants attending in person and vice versa.

  • Different paces between in-person and remote participants: ensure that the experience is as fluid as possible between in-person and digital and that the strategy is seen in its entirety and not separately.

Five (5) best practices for organizing a hybrid event

To make your hybrid event a success, here are five (5) best practices to adopt:

1. Consider your strategy in terms of including both formats
Just because the event organized combines both face-to-face and digital doesn't mean that the fundamental principles of event planning should no longer be applied. You must clearly define your objectives in order to determine your needs (messages to be shared with the target, partners, choice of speakers, number of participants, budget, etc.). It is also necessary to reflect on the points of contact between the two channels. Your main challenge would be to design your event in a way that engages the entire ecosystem.
2. Create relevant content for all audiences
People who attend the event in person do not need the same content as those who use the digital platform. Provision must therefore be made for the creation of suitable content for each type of participant. For example, live webcast and thereafter a replay of the speeches will be necessary for remote participants. For those present, it will be even more necessary to provide for the possibility of questions being asked and therefore a microphone, or to display the day's schedule and an access plan.

Furthermore, it is important to adapt to the specific needs of some participants. This includes people who do not speak the language spoken during the event. By choosing a platform that offers multilingualism, you will be able to invite people from all over the world without any fear of language barrier.

3. Optimize the participants' experience through interactivity
Interaction with the public is certainly the major challenge of hybrid events. It is necessary to manage to keep the attention of all participants, even those participating remotely who can be more easily distracted. To do this, do not hesitate to plan surveys, quizzes, chats, word clouds or networking moments to maintain the dynamism of the event.

Tip: Allow all participants to interact on the content offered to them via one and the same tool. For example, as part of a presentation, the chat can be visible to all participants (on-site and remote) and they can ask questions about it.
4. Measure the performance of your event to adapt your strategy
Measuring the impact of your event is as important as its smooth running. You need to identify what worked, as well as the areas for improvement in order to optimize your next events. With a hybrid format, you'll have many data sources: registration forms, check-in (on-site and online), session viewing time, mobile app connection, etc.

5. Choose a suitable platform
To make a conclusion on the best practices to adopt in organizing a hybrid event, be aware that it is essential to choose your tool correctly. It is essential to choose a platform that may facilitate the link between in-person and remote, and that offers participants the opportunity to exchange before, during and after the event. An all-in-one management platform saves you time, but it also offers an unparalleled experience for all participants.

You now have a glimpse of what it means to organize a hybrid event: it has the advantages of both in-person meetings and online gatherings, such as the broadcast of content and the facilitation of a community throughout the year. The various quarantines and lockdowns have definitively shown us that human contact is also essential.
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