The COVID-19 pandemic normalized the experience of virtual events for most attendees. While in-person events are becoming safer, many people are still enjoying hybrid options.
Is it worth it to continue hybrid events for the foreseeable future? To help you decide, consider some of the best practices of hybrid events, as well as a few pros and cons with Pathable.
Three benefits of hybrid events
While hybrid events only recently rose to popularity, it seems they are here to stay for good reasons. Hosting a hybrid event offers several advantages.
1. Larger attendance
Hosting an event where you provide the option for in-person or virtual attendance can increase overall registrations. You’ll even have a larger capacity for your audience. For example, if you are hosting an event in a space with limited occupancy, you can only stick to that specific amount. However, a virtual meeting room gives you unlimited opportunities for people to attend your event. Your event can go beyond the room or building you hold because the virtual world provides a much larger capacity.
Additionally, your attendees will have more options for making your event work with their schedule. Whether they also have children, are unable to travel to the event site, are too far away, prefer at-home events, or have mobility issues, a hybrid event makes you accessible.
2. Increased audience engagement
Engagement is a must whether your audience is in-person or virtual. Fortunately, you can do this by utilizing mobile technology. Your in-person and virtual audience will likely have immediate access to their smartphones or other devices that could help them participate.
If you’re streaming an event live across social media or another platform, you can allow virtual attendees and in-person attendees to chat with each other or moderators. They can also ask questions, like, share, and comment. They might hear something you say and could immediately share it online or with people they know in seconds while they are already on their phone.
3. More insights
Hybrid events offer a plethora of data and insights. You will have a record of everyone at your event through virtual platforms and in-person attendee tracking technology.
You can also get insights into engagement analytics for online participants. For example, if they logged out of the session before it was over, you can know precisely when they may have lost interest. Virtual platforms also allow you to collect attendee information through questionnaires, polling and other participation methods.
Once you have this valuable data, you can use it to make informed decisions for your next hybrid event. With each event, you can continue improving your sessions to ensure you engage the maximum number of people.
Three Challenges of hybrid events
While hybrid events provide several benefits, they can pose a few challenges. Knowing what they are is essential so you can face them head-on as you prepare for your next event.
1. Complex delivery
Hybrid events require you to focus on both in-person and virtual attendance instead of one or another. Establishing what you want to accomplish from each experience would be best.
If your goal is to drive engagement, you’ll need to ensure you have the right technology. Mobile apps offer numerous features to online and in-person participants. You’ll need to decide how to connect each audience to the platform and track participation. Will both audiences maintain equal participation?
2. Coordination or connection difficulties
You also have to consider everyone involved in your event, from speakers and hosts to attendees. It requires a significant amount of time and resources to coordinate everyone and everything for your event.
You’ll need to plan where to host the in-person part and how to translate the experience online. Do you have the correct internet connection, computers, cameras, and other live streaming or recording equipment? If not, how will you get it? You might also want to have a plan for if a participant loses connection. Can they hop right back into the session once they establish their connection?
Once you have coordination, planning and connection figured out; your hybrid event will likely operate smoothly.
3. Adjustment to change
You have to consider that you, your organization and even your attendees will take time to adjust to hybrid events. Not everyone is a fan of them from the get-go.
While hybrid events provide opportunities to those who need them, some people prefer to be in-person, whether they are an attendee or speaker. Adapting to change takes time for everyone.
Your first hybrid event might have some hiccups. Maybe attendance is low, or you faced technology issues — these are all completely normal. As you work and grow, you will become more comfortable, and, as a result, your attendees will, too.
Choose an event app for your hybrid virtual and in-person events
When you’re ready to host your next hybrid event, let Pathable help you pave the way. Our platform and app allow you to coordinate hybrid events by providing event details and fostering attendee connections. It also has multiscreen capabilities, making it an excellent choice for engaging attendees.
Whether you need to plan or promote your next hybrid, virtual or in-person event, choose Pathable. Schedule a free demonstration and ask for a test account today to learn more about our platform!