Can you believe we’re already in Q4 of 2021? Seriously not sure when that happened. But for those event planners out there, you know that this means strategy time. As we look towards 2022, events are still going to look a little bit different. This upcoming year, 75% of organizations are planning an event strategy that combines hybrid, in-person, and virtual events—with over half of planners working on a hybrid event now. While with hybrid you’re technically producing one event, you’re designing two very different experiences that need to be seamlessly integrated into one. Honestly, that’s where things get tricky. But engagement is the key to making that happen flawlessly.
Here’s how to start planning hybrid event engagement opportunities that will help you generate ROI for your hybrid events in 2022.
Plan Virtual Engagement Opportunities
Undoubtedly, Zoom fatigue is real, friends. If you’re not designing engaging experiences, if your speakers are reading word for word off their slides, and if your sessions are too long—you’re losing people. And if you’re losing people, you’re losing leads and potential profit. To plan virtual event engagement options, you have to keep attention spans in check, involve them in the event with prompts and polls, and keep them entertained.
5 Ideas for Virtual Engagement Options
- One-on-One Speed Networking Opportunities with Other Virtual Attendees or In-Person Attendees
- Pre-Event Gifting for Use During Event—Send a Meal Kit to Make Dinner, Bottle of Bubbly for Happy Hour, Etc.
- Offer Interactive Workshops with a Live Instructor and Keep Sessions Short—TED Talk-Style
- Offer Live Entertainment, not everything has to be professional
Plan In-Person Engagement Opportunities
While in-person engagement is seemingly the simplest form of engagement, it’s not what it once was. Simply sitting in the keynote audience is not enough anymore. You must provide value for your in-person attendees that sparks them to register for that face-to-face experience. What are you offering that they can’t engage with virtually? That’s how you’re going to sell registrations.
5 Ideas for In-Person Engagement Options
- Exclusive Micro-Experiences with VIP Treatment
- One-on-One Media Interview Opportunities with C-Suite Attendees
- Touchless Technology Displays with Gesture-Based Activation
- Speaking Opportunities for High-Profile Attendees from Big Companies
- On-Site Gamification—QR Code Scavenger Hunts, Escape Rooms, In-App Trivia & Experiences, Etc.
Combine the Two for Ultimate Engagement
Now, here comes the key to designing hybrid event engagement strategies that work—integrating hybrid and virtual environments and creating one seamless experience. You want to design an experience that allows in-person attendees to engage simultaneously with each other, as well as virtual attendees.
5 Ideas for Hybrid Event Engagement Options
- Mixed Reality Holograms for the Keynote Speaker
- Smartphone-Based Augmented Reality Experiences for On-Site Demos
- Experiential Events like Candle-Making or Craft Cocktail Experimentation, with a Branded Kit, Sent to Virtual Attendees to Participate
- Small-Group Hybrid Breakout Sessions or Customer Focus Groups with Moderators
- One-on-One Troubleshooting Sessions with Experts – Virtual & In-Person Participation
Oh, And Don’t Forget Engaging Hybrid Sponsor Activations
But that’s not all. Your sponsors are a driving force behind your event, both engagement-wise and financially. To demonstrate just how much they matter to your event, ask each individual sponsor what their audiences typically expect at events. After all, they’re the experts in what their audience wants. Plus, if you’re targeting the right sponsors, that should spark some great ideas for fun sponsorship activations your audience will love too. It’s about making them memorable, ensuring people are talking about it after the event is over, and having a follow-up plan that will ensure your sponsor sees ROI via engagement after the event. Check out these super fun ideas on BizBash for a little inspiration.
Eventistry by Alecia’s Team is Pro at Engaging Hybrid Event Audiences
Now, keep in mind, this is just a high-level overview of where to start. Every activation, activity, and experience must be specifically designed to reach your unique audience with activities and experiences that will be meaningful for them. That’s how you’ll master your hybrid event engagement and prove to your sponsors and attendees that your event is meaningful, profitable, and impactful—which will ensure they will come back next year.
Our Eventistry by Alecia team has been doing virtual events before virtual events were a thing (thanks, COVID!). Therefore, we’re pros at event engagement and community building regardless of the event environment. When planning in-person, virtual, or hybrid, our team can take your event goals and help you master the art of meeting those goals through effective and effortless hybrid event engagement opportunities. So, let’s chat about how we can help!