It’s time to embrace hybrid events, guys. And part of embracing hybrid is understanding the do’s and don’ts for your hybrid event during the planning process. With all the little moving pieces that could pose big problems if not planned correctly, it’s important to educate yourself and get up to speed! So as your organization starts to plan, here are our top do’s and don’ts for your hybrid event planning. We want to save you time and energy trying to figure it all out, so take some notes!
DO: Consider Your Scope & Create Goals
Why are you hosting a hybrid event? If your answer is something along the lines of “it’s trendy” or “because everyone is doing it” you’re going to regret it. Hybrid events are hard work. It’s essentially planning two events in one. And unless you have clarity on exactly why you’re hosting this event and what you want your ROI to look like, you’re not going to make the most of your investment. So, identify what your ideal outcome looks like before you even begin planning. If it’s reach, go ahead and invite everyone and their mother and get that brand out there. But, if it’s creating intimate connections and networking opportunities with your C-Suite, maybe host a micro-event with a much smaller attendee scope. Every event is an investment. For that investment to produce impact for you, you must know what you want to get out of it and let that lead your plan!
DON’T: Expect Everything to Go Perfectly
You’ve heard of Murphy’s Law, right? It’s the idea that if something can go wrong, it probably will. No matter how perfectly you plan your hybrid event, there are so many factors out of your control. From testing and COVID to tech having a mind of its own, there are so many things out of our control as planners. The only thing you can do is have a plan B for your plan B and be prepared to pull out those savvy event troubleshooting skills and make things happen creatively. That’s a planner’s job! We can’t expect everything to go perfectly. But we can play it off like it did due to being ultra-prepared!
DO: Provide Customized Hybrid Sponsorship Opportunities
While you’re planning a virtual and in-person experience simultaneously and pulling them together, you must approach sponsorship differently. From the get-go, you need to be crafting sponsorship opportunities that allow for customizable hybrid sponsorship opportunities. You can’t know what is most important to your sponsors until you talk to them. So, create a sponsorship media kit that includes versatile and captivating sponsor opportunities with package options that include both virtual and in-person sponsor benefits. This way, you’re able to capitalize on your event as a whole, make money, and create new connections as you impress sponsors with your savvy sponsorship knowledge!
P.S. We’re launching a six-figure sponsorship masterclass soon. Follow us on Instagram to be the first to know when registration opens!
DON’T: Forget to Create a Plan to Capture Data
Analytics are one of the top components of event success. And while virtual events are the simplest way to collect this, it’s so important you’re still prioritizing collecting data at your hybrid event. You can offer lead capture apps for the show floor, ask all the questions during registration to get every attendee detail possible and create different registration forms for virtual and in-person attendees to segment your data. It’s complex, but it’s your key to success in your future event strategies!
P.S. Here are a few of our top tips for lead gen at hybrid events.
DO: Run Tech Checks & Dress Rehearsals, Always
The easiest way to run into problems on the day of your event is to not do a tech check. Block off the day prior to the event to run through every single session, transition, poll, etc. While you can’t control the Wi-Fi going down, you can be prepared with a backup plan you can run through on your tech check day. You want to make sure everyone understands their role, virtual speakers know how to work their technology, and overall, it’s just a good way to feel secure and ensure a positive attendee experience.
DON’T: Assume That Your Speakers Have Hybrid Event Experience
Speakers, even professional speakers, may not have experience speaking at hybrid events. They’re such a new concept. In fact, nearly half of planners have said their speakers struggled to engage both audiences. So, offer speaker training for how to best engage hybrid audiences as a speaker! Best practices for hybrid events are typically to have all speakers presenting live at your venue, maybe they can have a guest login to join them, or perhaps you’ll try holograms which are pretty epic. But, regardless, require speaker training to ensure everyone understands their role, has the right technology and is prepared to impress your guests! This should all happen before your final tech check we mentioned above!
DO: Choose a Time Zone That Works for All Attendees
The last thing you want is to lose attendees from New York because you’re hosting in Dubai at 9:00 a.m. (spoiler alert: most of your NYC attendees are asleep at midnight). Successful hybrid events engage virtual attendees and in-person attendees simultaneously. So, when selecting a time and location, you want to choose something that’s reasonable for all attendees! It’s not always a simple process, but it will pay off in terms of attendance and engagement.
DON’T: Skip the Site Tour
Virtual events are a bit different. It’s simple to log on and do a quick rundown of all the software’s unique features that you can use. But when it comes to your in-person venue, there are a lot of logistics you’re going to want to walk through. Is there enough room for your tech team to set up cameras in the back of the breakout rooms for hybrid participation? Where will meals be eaten and is there room for a stage if you want to offer a lunchtime streamed keynote? Plus, you want to make sure the property hasn’t been neglected during the pandemic and all outlets are open and ready to greet your guests. Virtual sites are a thing now too, so if you can’t travel prior to the event, request a virtual site!
DO: Be Thorough & Negotiate Your Event Contracts
It’s been a while since many of us did an event contract with a hotel or event venue, ey? While things are very similar, there are a few things you’ll want to look for when reviewing your event contracts. Make sure the hotel can’t switch your contracted spaces without prior written approval, check and triple check cancellation clauses to make sure you’re protected,
Also, be sure to negotiate cancellation tiers, attrition numbers, and try to get a re-book clause in there, in the off chance you have to cancel your in-person component. Check out our blog that outlines the top things you need to consider when sourcing your hybrid event venue for more tips.
DON’T: Plan It All Alone
This should be mentioned more when it comes to all the do’s and don’ts for your hybrid event. The number one way to burn yourself out is to plan a hybrid event alone. As planners, it can be tricky to let go of some of the control. But outsource to professional planners, trust your marketing team to create ideas for great content, allow your sales team to help you secure sponsorships. As the planner, it’s your job to effectively delegate and outsource so you can produce the best possible hybrid event. And that doesn’t mean do everything yourself, even if that’s what we planners tend to believe. You got this. Build a team that has your back, and you’ll be successful every time!
Need Help Planning Your Upcoming Hybrid Event? Let EBA Help.
With our clients, we become an extension of your planning team. We share with you all the do’s and don’ts for your hybrid event, and then some. Our expert and personable virtual and hybrid event planners make planning easy. We can help you identify your biggest pain points and find solutions; we can guide you with tried-and-true expertise, and we have always got your back. Let’s chat about what your hybrid event needs are in 2022 and identify how we can help you succeed!