The Beginners Guide to Organizing Hybrid Events

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The Beginners Guide to Organizing Hybrid Events

The recent pandemic has led many event organizers to consider virtual options to host their events. As life returns to normal, in-person events will resume. However, the advantages of virtual events will continue to be embraced. The concept of the hybrid event that combines both virtual and in-person components is a trend that is here to stay. Hybrid events cut costs, increase reach, and receive higher levels of engagement.

If you’re curious about hosting your first hybrid event, the team at Bayview Yards is here to guide you through the process.

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What is a virtual event?

A virtual event is held online taking place on platforms such as Zoom, Instagram, Twitter, Clubhouse, etc. The market of virtual event platforms for conferencing or webinars is growing in response to the recent pandemic. Participants connect via video or voice call and presenters deliver content to an online audience. There are many different formats of virtual events depending upon the purpose of the event; events can be live streamed and available to view publicly or can be invite-only in the form of webinars. Online conferences can require paid admission versus a casual social media event. More event organizers and producers are hosting virtual events for many reasons. Virtual events are budget-friendly, as the cost of the venue, catering, transportation, etc. are no longer a consideration. In addition, virtual events allow organizers to reach a larger audience on a global scale. Participants can tune in to an event from the comfort of their own home.

What is a hybrid event?

A hybrid event is a traditional, in-person event with a virtual component. This could encompass a conference, workshop, demo, tradeshow, seminar, meeting, or even a social gathering that combines a “live” event with an online element. In other words, a hybrid event refers to an integrated solution that combines elements of a live event with a virtual audience. Generally, the virtual component involves an online representation of the live event. The benefit of hosting a hybrid event as opposed to a strictly virtual event is that working with a venue gives a hybrid event a lot more credibility, with an impressive backdrop and lighting that can’t easily be replaced by using a basic online platform.

Hosting Your First Hybrid Event

The concept of a hybrid event is a relatively new concept to many event organizers. This new and largely unfamiliar territory of event production may seem intimidating at first, and although there may be many questions, the team at Bayview Yards is here to guide you through the process.

Here are the top 5 questions you may have when hosting your first hybrid event:

1. I have no experience in running hybrid events. Where do I start?

Experience is not necessary when hosting a hybrid event at Bayview Yards. Our team of experts will help you through the planning and execution of your event. The advantage of selecting a venue that offers audio-visual services in-house is that working with an integrated team of experts who have in-depth knowledge of the facility and equipment and work seamlessly with the operations team. The knowledge and experience you’ve gained from organizing and running traditional, live events is transferable in terms of organization, strategy, and attention to detail, therefore joining forces with an AV team and in-house coordinator means that all bases will be covered for seamless delivery.

2. Is this equipment and services expensive to operate?

The cost associated with a hybrid event includes the skill and experience of an audio-visual professional, as well as the technical equipment to execute a quality production. Organizers are required to supply their own streaming platform. Organizers have found that by hosting a hybrid event as opposed to a strictly live event, the budget is impacted in many ways. Although the AV services are an additional cost, organizers also save money by selecting a smaller venue, food and beverage costs are minimized, etc. In addition, operational costs associated with labour are reduced. Depending on the size and type of event, it is less expensive to host a hybrid event than a fully live event.

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3. What if the technology fails?

Working with a venue that provides top-of-line audio video technology and services, helps to mitigate technical slip-ups that we all have become accustomed to during the pandemic. Frozen computer screens, failed Zoom calls, etc. can be a fear of many event organizers. However, our team will strategize with you to find solutions to these challenges. Incorporating a combination of pre-recorded footage and demos, live Q&A, etc. will minimize these risks. Working with the right team of AV professionals will ensure production is seamless when integrating pre-recorded content. This approach relieves pressure from the organizer and speaker, allowing time for editing the footage and the addition of holding screens between sessions.

4. I’m not familiar or comfortable with this technology. What technical skills are required?

You don’t need to be a whiz with technology to host a hybrid event at Bayview Yards. Leave the heavy lifting to us. Our team will work with you to plan, set up, and execute your hybrid event. However, you will be required to select a platform that suits the unique objectives of your event. There are many demos available to try online with no additional costs, and we encourage organisers to join online events themselves to get a sense of the various platforms in action.

5. How do I keep delegates engaged?

The hybrid event model creates opportunities for participants to engage in various ways during an event. Attendees who may lack the confidence to speak in person can use the chat, online poll features, or other applications to engage during the event. Networking, Q&A, and collaborative workshops are still possible to accomplish virtually. Did you know that a great deal of engagement at live events has turned virtual already? Attendees are often encouraged to Tweet throughout a conference or post on social media.

Hybrid events are growing in popularity. Let’s discuss how we can help you host your hybrid event today!

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