Planning a hybrid event can be a challenge for any event manager, especially when a hybrid event is a combination of both in-person and virtual event components.
Pulling off a successful hybrid event calls for specialized strategic planning, thoughtful execution, and a team effort. If you'll be heading up a hybrid event and need guidance, this ultimate checklist for association and nonprofit hybrid events will be helpful to you.
Planning a hybrid event is no simple task and will take a team effort. The first step you should take when planning a hybrid event is to consult your team about developing goals and objectives. During this meeting, or series of meetings, aim to determine:
- The overall purpose of your event
- Who will attend
- How to finance and monetize your event
- How to keep your audience constantly engaged
- Who will speak at the affair
- What software will integrate in-person and virtual attendees
- Whether you will need an outside production company to bring the event to fruition
There may be more specific topics to cover with your team. Be open to ideas and hash out the above topics at a minimum.
Book a Venue for In-Person Attendees
When selecting a venue, choose one with the features needed for your in-person attendees, such as:
- Quality event technology insfrastructure. If the venue can't handle streaming AND great audiovisual, you likely need to find another location. A hybrid conference has different space needs. Ask questions about power, wifi and ethernet capabilities and limitations, and how the venue can support or incentivize your hosting a hybrid event.
- Easy parking, ground transportation and airport lift. Many tier two cities are seeing a reduced flight schedule, or in some instances, the closing of the airport. Ask questions about how participants will be able to easily travel from here to there, and what incentives the city can offer to support your members.
- Location. The venue should be a reasonable distance from most of the in-person attendees for your hotels. Many downtown areas look different post 2020. Ask and walk around checking in on restaurants, shopping, and coffee shops.
Venue necessities may vary based on the type of event you're planning. You may need to take some time touring multiple venues to find the right fit for in-person attendees. Destinations are ready to welcome you back. Don't be afraid to ask them for more.
Choose a Platform for Virtual Attendees
To host a hybrid event, choose a platform that can easily support live-streaming without lagging or other interruptions. Just like you would for virtual events, make sure the platform can show any digital media that accompany presentations. In addition, it should support attendee engagement activities before and after the event. Finally, the platform should display a theme that fits your target audience.
If you don't already have a reliable platform to house your meeting, take some time to shop around for one that best fits your meeting goals and objectives.
You're likely hearing about many of the event tech platforms' layoffs. Be sure you ask questions about stability on the account management side when signing with a virtual platform vendor. And don't only go with Zoom because of the price. Functionality is more important than ever because participants are no longer extending their patience around poor production as they believe your events team should have gotten figured out by now.
Prepare Your Speakers
Speakers will need to be comfortable speaking to two audiences—in-person and virtual. They should address both audiences instead of focusing on one. This will increase attendee engagement, as each audience will feel as if the speaker is communicating directly to them.
Consider an Event Production Company
Your best bet for managing large-scale association and nonprofit hybrid events is to work with a reputable event production company—one that is well-equipped to bring your event together seamlessly.
Nifty Method provides superior, tailored meeting planning and execution services. We manage events on a case-by-case basis—no cookie-cutter recommendations or services allowed! From speaker procurement and hiring to venue selection and marketing, we've got you covered. Our certified meeting planners assist with strategic planning, systems, and execution to plan an event that your attendees will never forget!