Cvent's Hybrid How-To: Creating a Successful Event
Monday, November 2, 2020
By Cvent staff
Hybrid events, which combine elements of both live and virtual programs, will be an essential tool moving forward. In this guide, we will walk you through the ins and outs of planning and hosting a hybrid event.
AVOIDING COMMON CHALLENGES
We’ve outlined two of the most common challenges below, along with tips and tricks to help you avoid these pitfalls.
One event, two experiences: Hybrid events are truly a balancing act. On the one hand, you will have to deliver your content differently to both the in-person and virtual groups. However, you do not want it to feel like two entirely different events — it is one event with two experiences. Your content should be relevant to both in-person and virtual attendees; don’t plan joint activities that isolate one group from participation.
Keep content engaging: It is difficult to keep attendees engaged in front of a computer screen. To keep content interesting, make sure that it will translate well over video. Incorporate live polls or Q&A to keep virtual attendees involved, and make sure all sessions are a digestible length.
4 ELEMENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL EVENT
There are four key elements to any successful event: content, community, sponsorship, and analytics. In this section, we will explain how to execute these elements for a hybrid event.
1. Content: You can’t deliver content the same way for your in-person and virtual attendees. Here are some ideas for differentiating your content:
Have an onsite representative dedicated exclusively to your virtual attendees. Your onsite attendees likely will have someone onstage addressing them directly throughout the day. Have an event coordinator act as an emcee and address your virtual attendees to keep them in the loop and make them feel important.
Create separate content for your virtual attendees. Don’t make your virtual attendees watch your onsite attendees at an interactive networking session. Instead, offer exclusive virtual-only interviews with industry experts or panel discussions with thought leaders. Designate onsite vs. virtual sessions through your customized registration paths, so no attendees register for the incorrect sessions.
2. Community: Onsite attendees have the advantage of experiencing an event’s community firsthand, making it easier to network in-person and have organic conversations. However, there are ways to bring this community to your virtual audience as well:
Incorporate live polls and Q&As into your sessions. Connect your virtual and onsite audiences with tools such as live polling and Q&A. During a session, encourage both audiences to submit questions and answer polls, so they can interact with one another.
Create collaborative virtual sessions. Give your virtual attendees the opportunity to connect in smaller groups. Many virtual-streaming providers can create breakout rooms within the meeting, providing the perfect space for virtual networking.
3. Sponsorship: There are many ways to put your sponsors in front of both your virtual and in-person attendees. Below are just a few ideas to get you started:
4. Analytics: Send out a post-event survey to get a sense of what content resonated with people and how your attendees felt about their onsite vs. virtual experiences. Make sure to follow up with attendees who visited a lot of sessions, asked a lot of questions, and/or engaged with your sponsors.
AN INSURANCE POLICY FOR THE UNKNOWN
One of the most important lessons we’ve learned this year is to be prepared. Incorporating hybrid events into your total event program will be an “insurance policy” as we continue to navigate the unknown. Live, in-person events will never go out of style, but it never hurts to have a backup plan. Make hybrid events yours.
The Cvent Event Cloud offers software solutions to event planners and marketers for online event registration, venue selection, event management and marketing, onsite solutions, and attendee engagement. Cvent’s suite of products automate and simplify the planning process to maximize the impact of events. The Cvent Hospitality Cloud partners with hotels and venues to help them drive group and corporate travel business. Learn more.