Here are some considerations to help you make an informed decision.
This is important to consider before embarking on a hybrid event. Fortunately, there are simple ways to gauge attendee interest.
For example, use your past event participants as your focus group. Reach out to them to seek feedback on the challenges with attending in-person events and whether they would consider attending online versions of events. Understanding the past experiences of attendees will help prepare for future events thus informing your decision to hold a hybrid event.
Engaging your Sponsors
Knowing if your sponsors will support the pivot to a hybrid event is also a key consideration. Connect with your key sponsors and get their feedback on virtual events and in-person events to understand the difference between the two formats.
Some questions to ask include whether they would pay a premium to reach a larger audience through a hybrid format event and if they have any experience using online platforms.
Speakers that may be out of reach for an in-person event (i.e., are above an event’s budget) will offer a discounted rate to attend an event virtually. Securing a big name will also help draw additional attendees. For attendees, the draw is meaningful content rather than the mode of delivery.
Online or hybrid events offer access to valuable data. The platforms are designed to track and tabulate metrics such as speaker sessions that had the most attendees, what the average length of viewership was, what content was clicked on and/or downloaded, and the level of traffic on sponsorship content. Having access to this data allows the organization to better position itself for future events ensuring that the content and format meet attendees' wants and needs.
Aggregate data can also be shared with sponsors to show their return on investment, supporting the ability to renew or sign new sponsors for future events.
Built-in Marketing Content
Finally, hosting the event online creates a ton of digital content that can easily be repurposed. For example, videos and images from the event can be repackaged and shared to help promote future events or can be used by the marketing team to showcase the organization through social channels, presentations, or newsletters.
Hybrid for the Win
Now that you have decided on hosting a hybrid event, the next step is to select a virtual platform that can accommodate the needs of your in-person and online attendees, as well as the needs of your sponsors.
With a ton of online event platforms available, each with its own set of features and capabilities, knowing which one to choose may seem daunting. Ways to help demystify what virtual event platform to use include signing up for our newsletter, joining the conversation on our Community Forum, or checking out our Request for Proposal tool.