The New Year is right around the corner, making now the perfect time to re-think your event strategy for 2022. The past two years have been a challenge as planners struggled to find their way through unchartered territory, partially relying on trial and error as in-person events came to a halt and digital and hybrid events became the new standard.
Today, it’s clear that some hybrid event features – like lengthy presentations, unstructured happy hours, and virtual scavenger hunts – are best left in the past. For planners who want to make a splash in 2022 and beyond, it’s time to let go of the old and embrace a whole new way of thinking. Here’s a look at some of the top hybrid event tips to help you set yourself apart in the New Year.
Plan Shorter and Smaller Events
While people are starting to get more comfortable attending in-person events again, it’s safe to say they won’t look the same for quite some time. Instead, most events will be smaller, shorter, and more locally focused.
In 2022, and for at least a few years beyond that, planners can expect to see fewer multi-day conferences and an increase in half-day meetings, roadshows, and local business retreats. Instead of centralized mega-events or events held only on the east and west coast, many companies will host multiple smaller events in various locations across the country.
Focus on the Experience
One advantage of keeping things small is that it allows planners to focus on creating personalized, intimate experiences. For the time being, this is going to be even more important than the content and speakers – particularly for in-person event attendees. Since it’s now easy to consume content from the comfort of your home, attendees need a better reason to take on the expense and potential risks that come with traveling to an in-person event.
Offer On-Demand Content
Event attendees no longer want to deal with scheduled event sessions and keynote speakers with limited access times. Instead, they want to access presentations when it’s convenient for them. This makes it important not only to live-stream speakers but to also record the sessions so attendees can easily view them after it’s done.
Not only is this far more convenient, but offering this option will keep your event, hosts, and sponsors top-of-mind for weeks after the event is over. One thing to note – if you offer your content for months after the event is done, the excitement will die down. To make the biggest impact, offer it for a couple of weeks or a month at most. This will give attendees enough time to consume the content while also encouraging immediate action.
Shift to an “Event Producer” Mentality
Creating hybrid events is hard work and it requires planners to wear many different hats. To thrive in this arena, you’ll need to start thinking of yourself as not just a planner, but an “event producer.” Your job duties will include designing an engaging and effective program, creating an agenda that will work for both virtual and in-person attendees, and putting on a top-notch production.
Cutting-edge virtual event management software is now non-negotiable if you want to ensure your hybrid event runs smoothly. In addition, you may consider hiring a professional production team to create a thrilling sense of excitement for both in-person and virtual event attendees.
Customize Your Swag Bags
Sending event merch and swag bags to virtual attendees is still a great concept, but mailing generic kits to everyone is a trend that’s best left in the past. Now, you’ll want to take the time to customize the bags before shipping them out. While this does require more effort, doing so will create a more pleasing and intimate experience for your attendees.
There are many ways to add a personal touch before shipping out your packages, from allowing participants to choose food and drink preferences to providing certain items based on a participant’s job role or industry,
Focus on Your Sponsors
Continued uncertainty may make some sponsors hesitant to make large investments in in-person events. However, hybrid events offer them unique and exciting opportunities. Since opening up events to both in-person and virtual attendees increases the size of the audience, this offers much greater exposure. It also creates new ways to increase lead generation and raise brand awareness.
The more value you can bring to sponsors, the more money they’ll be willing to put into your events. Make sure your event management software makes it easy for you to promote them. Some options to consider include adding sponsor logos to registration pages and webinar presentations, offering both physical and virtual sponsor booths, and making it easy for all attendees to schedule appointments with event sponsors.
Have a Backup Plan
While it’s starting to look like things are getting back to “normal,” if the events of the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that you always need to expect the unexpected. To give yourself the best chances of success, try to think of everything that could possibly go wrong and develop an action plan for what you’ll do if it actually happens.
While this doomsday-mentality might cause you a bit of anxiety, knowing you have covered all your bases will make you feel more confident when the time comes. If something does happen, instead of breaking down or panicking, you’ll handle the situation without breaking a sweat.
Embrace Digital Technology
If you truly want to thrive in the world of hybrid events, you need a top-notch suite of integrated software solutions. Trying to cobble together multiple platforms or making do with what you have simply isn’t good enough anymore.
That’s where eShow comes in. We offer a comprehensive platform for all of your in-person, virtual, and hybrid event needs. From registration and virtual event management to meeting logistics and RFID tracking, we’ll help you shine from beginning to end. Contact us today to schedule your free demo!