In the wake of COVID-19, it’s never been more important to seek out new, forward thinking opportunities in your sector. If this year has proven anything in the events space, it’s that the show must go on. Virtual technology and augmented reality have allowed many events to continue, by filling the gap left by physical events.
From attractions to conference meetings, to live performances and fundraisers, over the last year businesses and individuals across every industry have proved that modern technology can have the same powerful impact and elicit the same emotional responses as live interactions – provided they are delivered effectively.
Of course, with lockdowns around the world easing and event managers once again picking up their clipboards and getting back to their inboxes, it appears as though physical events could soon be well and truly back on.
Enter the hybrid event.
What is a Hybrid Event?
A hybrid event is one which fuses the two concepts together, seamlessly blending live in-person experiences and interactions with online components and touchpoints. What this means on a logistical level, is that participants can tune into the program of an event from any location they choose, using video conferencing technology to watch, listen, interact and join in the conversation across a multitude of event platforms.
Contrary to popular belief, hybrid events were not invented by Covid – in fact, they’re not even a modern invention. One of the earliest examples tracked was between two Universities, one located in Finland and one in the USA, who used teleconferencing materials to deliver a shared lecture – way back in 1992. Crucially, this means hybrid events are not only a proven method, but they will likely also last well beyond our state of lockdown.
Since 1992, hybrid events have become both more popular and more sophisticated, with some of the top examples including the 2021 Baftas, where the hosts and presenters attended live in order to present from the stage, and all the award recipients and other nominees logged in remotely. Of course, in typical Hollywood style, this did nothing to dispel the vast array of fashions and high-end designer outfits on show – even if they were only visible from the living room of the award winner!
What are Benefits of Hybrid Events?
From a business or organisational point of view, hybrid events present a win-win that enables more participants to be involved in an event, while also providing the electric atmosphere that an in-person event provides. By delivering the event both to a limited live audience and a wide collection of online participants, events which were once located to a single location suddenly become global at the click of a button. This eliminates the previous geographical boundaries that had prevented larger guest numbers from attending.
Other benefits of hybrid events include:
- Increased reach and the lack of geographical boundaries means better exposure for all involved, and this can be a great leading point for your sponsorship opportunities – leading to bigger corporate partners coming on board and supporting your event (if only to get their name out there to your guest list!)
- Reduction in the environmental impact of an event, giving something that businesses and guests can feel good about.
- If you film your event, this gives you a ton of content to draw from and use in ongoing marketing and content campaigns for months to come. The long term benefits are huge!
- High level of flexibility in how you deliver your event. This is especially relevant to the post-Covid pandemic audience who now know the cost of events being shut down and cancelled with little to no notice.
How can a Hybrid Event structure be applied to big and small events?
The structure of a hybrid event is much the same regardless of its size. What changes is the technical requirements and the way you might invite guests to engage, as well as the most suitable platforms to use. Remember that while hybrid events boast a plethora of benefits, they essentially embody two different events as you have to deliver something great both in person and virtually, and so the bigger your event the more management this will take in terms of streamlining the experience.
Some of the structural and logistical areas to consider when planning a hybrid event should include:
- Connectivity and a high quality internet connection, to support streaming
- Recording content for future use and reference
- Integration of social media, particularly with regards to big events. Sharing hashtags and creating a specific event social media handle can be great ways of tracing engagement and generating a buzz around an event.
- Online presentations and making sure that the size of the event is taking into account when planning any Q&A or feedback features. Finding the “mute all” button should be the number one step you take before anything else, to keep a firm handle on interactions outside of the core event delivery group.
The value of a specialist Hybrid Event Production Company
Here at Wise Productions, our focus is on delivering hybrid events which defy the laws of geography and which present each guest with the same high-level experience regardless of their location. Through creative innovation and technical precision, we have brought to life a number of events over the past few years, including a hybrid fundraiser for Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) which saw celebrities giving up their time and talents from the comfort of their own home.
What this demonstrates is the vast array of options available to you when you choose to plan your hybrid event with a specialist production company. Our solutions are built on connectivity and ensuring that the experience is not diminished by being in a different space. This means high quality technology, incredible graphics, working alongside the physical structure of the live event so that the two support each other.
And finally, to the element which separates a good hybrid event from a great one – engagement. A specialist production company is there to bring your requirements and needs to life, including the way that guests can engage and interact with the event they are attending, whether they are in the room or not.
For more information on Wise Productions and how we can support your next hybrid event, check out our services page or get in touch with our team today.