If you have years of experience in the event management industry as we do, you know how complicated it can be. Throughout the challenges of COVID-19, you have been surviving with virtual events. Now you can foresee and celebrate the day when live events will come roaring back. But will they come back entirely in person? To some degree, your future live events will need to embrace the same technology that carried you through quarantine and lockdowns. 

Live event management is a big enough job as it is. Sometimes you switch back and forth between a dozen different platforms to get one task completed. You have thirty different suppliers providing details on logistics, costs, addresses, and delivery dates. You handle registration lists, speaker lists, and vendor lists. You capture all the details accurately and consistently across all platforms, but it’s not easy.

Prospective Attendees Need Options

Now, you also need to host hybrid events to accommodate everyone’s preferences and ensure maximum registration. While we’re eventually going to start meeting in person again, COVID-19 has changed the world forever. Not everyone will be jumping at the chance to attend your in-person event.

To offer both live and digital (or virtual) options for those who can’t or won’t physically attend, you’ll need the best tools in the business. In addition, you’ll need platforms to “talk” to each other and allow you to expend the least amount of time, money, and effort.

Need some help creating a hybrid where you can manage all the details in one place? With the right tools and a few ideas for engagement, hybrid events can be a seamless and rewarding experience for both digital and in-person participants. Keep reading to learn some practical tips on how to create an effective hybrid event.

Boost Engagement At Your Hybrid Event

You know the value of engagement. Meeting other participants and getting involved might be one of the top reasons people register. But will they get the same value from a virtual experience? That depends on the tools you use.

User-friendly event management tools now offer features for boosting engagement. Make sure you take advantage of this technology so you can promote interesting activities at your hybrid event. You can use plenty of strategic ideas to entice your target audience to register and help exhibitors and sponsors see the value offered. For example:

Chat Tools

To boost engagement and offer networking opportunities, encourage attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors to use chat options using a virtual event management platform.

Topic Rooms

Set up video meeting rooms with a host physically at the event to guide discussion topics. Invite participants using integrated features (like a morning newsletter). You can position the topics rooms as an opportunity for guests to engage and socialize with their peers. Having a live host leading the session can help create an in-person atmosphere in the virtual (or digital) experience. You can also take it one step further and create breakout rooms for quieter, one-on-one networking inside the topic room.

Interactive Polls

In live presentations, use a digital event management tool to allow participants to vote, chat, and ask questions. Capture data as they respond from the event hall or their home office. Either way, they’ll get the full experience of being involved.

Credits or Certificates Of Participation

Effective hybrid events create a meaningful experience for in-person and digital attendees. Offering credits or certificates in both physical and digital forms is a great way to do this. For example, if your event participants complete a continuing education module either in-person or virtually, provide a digital certificate toward their professional credit requirements. Downloading and printing the document for themselves makes the experience feel real and valuable for all attendees.

Increase Sponsorship Revenue by Offering Virtual Booths

Give sponsors (or exhibitors) the opportunity to meet trade show attendees in a Q & A format. Section off booths with signage for different topics and set up tables for chatting with reps. Then, create a virtual booth for online attendees. Allow sponsors or exhibitors to answer questions in person or remotely while sharing physical or downloadable brochures and discount coupons with guests. 

Speed Networking | Remote Meets In-Person

Want to mix it up between live and remote attendees? Set up a speed networking lounge and provide a mix of in-person and virtual meet-ups. Participants move from table to table in five- or ten-minute intervals to make as many contacts as possible. The only difference at a hybrid event is that live participants sometimes sit down in front of a computer where one of their peers is attending remotely.

 

Manage Expectations

Whichever tactics you use to promote engagement and networking opportunities, it’s important to set clear expectations for both live and virtual attendees. Ensure that virtual attendees receive clear instructions regarding access to presentations, chat rooms, and tools before each session begins. Make it clear to live attendees that your technology offers virtual sessions, and they will sometimes be interacting digitally due to the hybrid nature of the event. Before the event, use FAQs, announcements, checklists, and even videos to ensure that registrants are excited, engaged, and well-informed.

In fact, why not leverage the hybrid feature of your event to promote it? After all, people attend events to meet and talk to people. One of the advantages of a hybrid event is extending networking opportunities further than traditional in-person-only events.

Keeping Up With the Hybrid Event Trend

The concept of hybrid events is essential in a post-COVID-19 world, so jump into the challenge of keeping up with these trends now. One misplaced detail in organizing a hybrid event can negatively impact participants, exhibitors, and sponsors. However, when you’re equipped with a few innovative ideas and the right tools, your hybrid event can be exceptional!

Managing it will be easier and more efficient now that you’ve found eShow’s products and services. You’ll find an integrated solution for everything from registration, website, hotel, and travel management to cool tech advances like virtual attendee tracking and mobile apps. So check out our virtual event management platform, and rest easy knowing our customer service reps are there to guide you throughout the planning and launch of your hybrid event.