Now that the pandemic has started to fade and people are starting to gather again, the popularity of hybrid events is on the rise. No one is ready to say goodbye to virtual. Some attendees have decided that they really prefer that business on top, party on the bottom style of meeting—and honestly, who can blame them? This paired with the fact that you can simply get a greater reach for your organization, are just a few of the reasons why hybrid is the future of events.
But where do you even start when planning a hybrid event? After pulling off many successful hybrid events, we’re going to share our step-by-step planning tips for how to plan a hybrid event!
Step 1: Designate Your Team
The most critical part of planning a successful hybrid event is ensuring you have the right leaders in place. You need to have an overall event lead, a virtual lead, and an in-person lead to own the logistics and manage deliverables. They need to work together seamlessly to walk through every detail to ensure the event is seamless on both sides.
Step 2: Design Your Hybrid Event Strategy
After you have the team in place, it’s time to create the goals and mission that will build the foundation of your hybrid event. This starts with asking all the questions like why, how, what… you get the picture. If you want tips and tricks to lay it all out, we have a step-by-step guide.
Step 3: Choose a Virtual Event Platform That Meets Your Goals
Now that goals are in place, how are you going to reach them? You want to make sure that the virtual event platform you choose has all the capabilities you want. Think about sponsors, attendees, and ease of management for your team. It’s best to start out with a list of three things: must-have, would like to have, don’t need to have. Looking at those in a three-column format will help you decide which platform is for you. If you want to see our team’s three favorites (besides Zoom) check out our recent blog.
Step 4: Choose a Venue with an A/V Dream Team—Or Bring Your Own
Part of pulling off a successful hybrid event is making sure the boots on the ground are ready to go. This means you need to choose a hotel property or special event venue that has an A/V dream team. Or you need to select a venue that will allow you to bring in your own A/V production dream team. If you’re bringing in your own team, you’ll want to negotiate what the fees will be for that to understand budget. Large chains like Hilton have rolled out programs like their Hilton EventReady program. This incorporates on-site cleanliness standards with innovative hybrid event solutions at their properties. Our team can help you find the perfect venue if you need assistance!
Step 5: Market Two Experiences
After you have your platform and venue in place, you need to set yourself up to market two totally different experiences. Your pricing, registration, and perks need to be different! Because, let’s be honest, these two events, while they are technically one, will be totally different experiences with different value adds.
Step 6: Provide Value for Sponsors
In addition to marketing different experiences, you need to provide a dual-sponsorship kit option that allows sponsors to gain value from both in-person attendees and virtual attendees. Check out our blog post on how to create hybrid event sponsorship opportunities sponsors actually want for the full scoop!
Step 7: Plan Your Engagement Tactics
How are you going to connect with your attendees and how are you going to ensure your attendees can connect with each other regardless of their location? On-site engagement may look like vendor booths or one-on-one meetings, whereas virtual engagement may mean moderated small breakout sessions with on-site attendees as well or polls during the keynote where they can all participate. You want to merge virtual and in-person as much as humanly possible to make it a seamless and engaging event for all.
Step 8: Connect Over Logistics
Remember those leads you designated in the beginning? Now it’s time for them to come together with all the people who are in charge of execution. That means hotel staff, virtual event platform staff, and your team so everyone can run through start-to-finish. The goal is to make sure everything goes off without a hitch, getting everyone on the same page so they understand their roles to put this event into action.
Step 9: Review Your Post-Hybrid Event Game Plan
Next, think about your follow-up strategy. What is your follow-up strategy for the leads you’ve gathered during your event? Part of event success is looking at your analytics and organizing all the content you’ve captured into marketing collateral. Leverage these two things in your post-event follow-up to create deeper connections!
Step 10: Host a Hybrid Event That Generates Buzz
So, are you ready? We know your hybrid event is going to create a splash if you follow all these tips. You’ve got this, friend!
Need Help Creating Your Hybrid Event Strategy?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to begin with creating the foundation of your hybrid event strategy, we get it. It’s a lot! Grab our How to Create Your Own Stage Self-Led Masterclass guide to help. It will lead you step-by-step through designing a strategy that works for you and your event goals. You’ll receive a video recording that will guide you towards an epic 6-figure event strategy with a 25-page workbook. Ready to get started?