Category: Industry Trends

Future Trends in Hybrid


The staying power of hybrid is undeniable. While the events industry is now seeing a welcome resurgence of live, in-person gatherings, it’s clear that hybrid — thanks to its inherent agility as an event format — has become a trusted tool of planners in a relatively short space of time. That same agility means that hybrid is actively being shaped to yield to the on-going needs — and even to the future demands —  of industry professionals and the audiences they serve. The future of hybrid is already in the making and it’s time to explore the broad trends and themes that will continue to shape this format as we move forward.

Micro-events and Data:

When it comes to future developments in hybrid, the most obvious is its continued popularity within the wider event sector, a trend that shows no sign of slowing. And yet, there are some tangible observations to be made in how planners are actively adapting hybrid to meet their current needs while also incorporating it into their onward plans. First among these is the trending popularity of micro-events and specifically, how planners are actively utilising hybrid as a tool to create these smaller gatherings. In 2023 — with the budgets of so many frozen and costs rising across the board — the use of hybrid technology to create these bespoke events is an upward trend, a way for planners to fine-tune their reach to create the kinds of intimate experiences that their audiences really want.

Creating an appealing event is one thing, but gauging the outcome of that event is quite something else. For planners, only hard data offers clear, concise, and tangible insight into audience engagement and, therefore, into the overall success of their event. From the initial registration period to details collected during the course of or even after a gathering, hybrid events — where information flows in via emails, social posts, landing pages, apps, etc. — are a data goldmine for event planners. With its various digital moving parts, hybrid offers a way for planners to not only simply collect static information, but also to track and analyse metrics in order to build and refine their future events for their future audience.

The Endless Flow of Tech into the Hybrid Experience

The very nature of the format itself means that technology is an inseparable part of planning, building, and successfully executing a hybrid event. As UK Tech News highlights, the future of hybrid is very closely intertwined with the onward development of technology. Whether planners are seeking out increasingly sophisticated means of facilitating virtual audience engagement, wanting to expedite event registration via the power of facial recognition, or harnessing powerful software to allow them to analyse data at a granular level, there’s no corner of a hybrid event that is not influenced by the advancement of technology. What’s more — among both planners and attendees of hybrid events — the obvious interest in and engagement with new technologies is ever-increasing. This constant demand feeds into the development of new technology and this, of course, flows into and informs the future of the hybrid event experience.

As an agile force in the events industry, the power of hybrid is indisputable. While the precise trends and themes that will shape the format are yet to be known, it’s clear that the future of hybrid is already unfolding.



Want to learn more about hybrid events?

Is hybrid really the future of the events industry? It seems so! An Eventsforce research study with 200+ event planners shows that the concept of hybrid can be daunting for many.  They can be perceived as complex and costly.  And even with the right budgets and resources to fund a hybrid event strategy, many organisers feel unsure on where to start.

Download our eBook,  put together to give organisers a good overview on hybrid events and how they can go about addressing some of their key concerns.

Industry Survey: The View of the 2023 Planner


We can’t predict the future, but with your participation, we can get a better idea of the plans and considerations that event planners may have as we move towards 2023.

Here’s your chance to have your say. Our new survey is targeted at marketing, meeting, and event planners and is an opportunity for you to tell us your views and — most importantly — our chance to listen.

Your contribution will be part of a whitepaper which will be shared at the end of the year. And as a thank you for your time, for each response received, we’ll plant a tree via Ecologi, our carbon-offsetting project.


Ask the Experts: Biggest Event Trends for 2022

Biggest event trends in 2022

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After the initial blow of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is little doubt that 2021 continued to disrupt the world of meetings and events. But what is likely to happen in 2022? What trends are industry experts expecting? And what should you, as an event professional, be considering for your plans next year?

We spoke to a few people that work in this area day in day out. Here are their thoughts:

Miguel Neves – Editor in Chief at EventMB, a Skift Brand

I think we are in for a shock. I hope we can all have the opportunity to meet in person, but I don’t think we will, at least not as much as we have in the past. The thing is we’ve changed. Work patterns have shifted, home life has changed, and we now know we can consume most content online just as well as we can in person. So, unless we are personally invested in an event as a sponsor, exhibitor, or speaker, we’re just not flying, staying at hotels, and investing any more time than we need to in most events.

There are exceptions, some of the larger events that are all about networking and serendipity will continue to get people to travel. But for any event that doesn’t have a “must be there” feeling, we’ll be there online, possibly while multitasking and getting some work done.

This means that events will be forced to change. Some may opt to be in-person only to try and force attendees to travel. Some will be hybrid and find ways to engage attendees regardless of their location. Ultimately Hybrid events need to have a great monetization strategy that can cope with a mainly online audience. Welcome to the new world of the hybrid attendee.

Follow Miguel Neves on LinkedIn

Related: 10 critical steps to successful hybrid events

Brandt Krueger – Technical Producer, Consultant & Educator for the Meetings and Events Industry

It makes me truly sad to say that my advice for 2022 is basically the same as it was for 2021. With uncertainty in the air as new variants are discovered, and with so many still unvaccinated, online and hybrid remain the best solution for many meetings and events around the globe. While smaller, tightly controlled events have been safely executed, not every organization can mandate vaccinations, masks, and other safety protocols for their staff and attendees.

Those that saw online events as a stopgap are now well and truly behind the game, as other organizations have been innovating and fine-tuning for 20 months. Many others are facing decisions to cancel their in-person events for the third year in a row, when they could have been using this time to expand their audience and experiment with this new digital venue. In-person events will return, but digital needs to be part of the toolbox of the future planner.

The good news is that it’s not too late and you can now benefit from others’ experiences. There are countless blogs, articles, books, and courses on online and hybrid events, with detailed descriptions of what does (and more importantly what doesn’t) work. Take a deep breath, take a moment to reflect on the goals and objectives of your event and its stakeholders, and focus on what you can do to create amazing experiences now instead of wringing your hands about where we might be in six months!

Follow Brandt Kreuger on LinkedIn

Related: 8 key mistakes to avoid when planning a hybrid event

Kaaren Hamilton – VP Global Sales Sonesta International

The buzz fresh off the exhibit floor at IMEX America, held in Las Vegas in early November, is that our industry is overwhelmingly optimistic about 2022.  With RFP’s being discussed and business awarded, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief and shared a moment of joy celebrating the return of face-to-face events.

However, with the news of a new COVID variant now we are being brought back to the reality that we continue to navigate through unpredictable times, where planners continue to be challenged and must continue to consider all possibilities.

We will continue the trend of the last two years seeing an evolution of event components that include working for and with organizations that have a sense of corporate responsibility.  That means increasingly, sustainability and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) are a required expectation along with duty of care expanding to include providing a space for both physical and mental wellbeing.

Regardless of the evolving components of meetings in the new world, the world agrees in-person meetings are vital. The shared experience of travel and being in the same room with customers and colleagues cannot be satisfied by the virtual environment indefinitely.

Follow Kaaren Hamilton on LinkedIn

Related: The event planner’s guide to stress management 

Tahira Endean – Head of Events, SITE global – Writer, Speaker, Connector, Collaborator

Events must be conscious…transformative…worthwhile. It is incumbent upon us to create sustainable, intentionally designed experiences for those joining us live, or virtually.

Collaboration. We need to create the most meaningful experiences with a diverse team. More importantly we need collaboration to solve the real problems facing us including those that will fundamentally halt travel and live events. Think pandemic, or climate change as key examples.

Equity and vulnerability. It is not having a code of conduct for our events or organizations, it is a fundamental respect for and empathy with all the humans we work with, invite to our events, and interact with to create environments where everyone is safe.

Follow Tahira Endean on LinkedIn

Related: How to make events more sustainable in a post-Covid world

Paul Cook – Virtual Events Specialist, Content Writer

My view is that the events sector will experience similar fortunes to those in 2021. I believe local or regional events will dominate more so than international ones. And this will last until the point at which Covid-19 has been shown the door and left the building. But that isn’t the case at present or for the foreseeable future. The impact of the global pandemic is still very present.

What that means is that virtual events will be in demand, and the best ones will be those that increase their production values. In other words, the home-made look (think of some productions in 2020) will quickly become a thing of the past, if the organisation is to keep its brand reputation in good shape.

What I do see as a trend which will become a permanent feature, is the increased need for translation services. Whether it is live or post event translation, the requirement will be there. Event planners will be asked for interpreters more often as clients understand that to achieve their aims of diversity and inclusion, the access to what’s happening in the organisation must be open to all their staff and stakeholders.

On a positive note, the events sector offering in-person, virtual and hybrid formats is in good shape to enable their clients to achieve their goals. Choice is always good and in events there is bags of it.

Follow Paul Cook on LinkedIn

Related: 7 ways events will change in a post-Covid world

Conclusion – More Choice for Clients means more decisions for planners 

We thank our contributors for their insights and predictions for what is likely to happen in events in 2022. It’s a tough job to see the future. The only constant is change. It’s around everyone, everywhere and it’s constantly chipping away at what we understand as being normal. Sometimes change is good and sometimes not so much. The impact of change can be good and bad.

In one example of changing consumer behaviour, just think of the camera shops that were effectively put out of business because of mobile phone companies. In the days before smart phones, people needed a camera and a phone. Did the camera shops see mobile providers as a threat? Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t. It doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that event professionals do not go the same way as camera shops. And there is no reason for planners to go out of business. It is clear from the views of our experts that regardless of whether you prefer in-person or virtual events or hybrids, there is room for each to play their part. You just need to decide what your focus is going to be.

Clients and attendees want and need choice – and in the events sector, we can offer it in abundance. As we enter 2022, whilst there are challenges ahead, there are also very bright lights of opportunity.

Would you like similar insights in your inbox each month? Why not sign up to our EventTech Talk newsletter for tips, updates and research reports on all the latest trends shaping the events industry today.

Insurance for Hybrid Events – What You Need to Know

Want the lowdown on all things events? In your inbox, every week

The world of insurance today can be a jungle for many event professionals. It can be full of surprises that can easily lead to even more confusion. At the same time, new trends like hybrid events are posing new challenges for insurance companies too.

As a savvy event professional, you know how important it is to get insurance for your hybrid event. It’s common sense. After all there is just too much that could go wrong. But buying the wrong cover will not help.

We look at some of the fundamentals to get right and put you on the track that will lead you to making the right choices.

Get eBook: 10 Critical Steps to Successful Hybrid Events

Does Hybrid Event Insurance Exist?

Ask an insurance company or broker for hybrid event insurance and they may wonder what on earth you want. At the moment, hybrid events are not fully understood by the insurance sector. Of course, for the specialist event insurance providers, they have a greater understanding.

But even then, you shouldn’t make assumptions. It is surprising how many event professionals use the terms virtual event and hybrid event as interchangeable. But the savvy planner knows that the terms mean completely different things. Let’s face it, if event professionals have trouble with understanding hybrid events, you can be sure that other sectors will struggle as well.

Typing ‘hybrid event insurance’ into your favourite search engine will not bring up package insurance policies that planners have become used to. Maybe there will be some insurers that offer this later, so keep checking back.

The good news is that whilst there is no specific package insurance available, you are likely to have different insurance policies that can be dovetailed or extended to meet your hybrid event needs.

Explaining Hybrid Events to Insurers  

It is critical that you take the time to fully explain to your insurance company or advisor what you need. That has always been the case, long before hybrid events came on the scene. If there is an absolute rule it is that you disclose everything to insurers. Do not make the mistake of trying to filter information and only tell them what you think they need to know. Be open and explain what will be happening at your event.

Insurers have been covering conference and event risks for years. They can also cover online events and their risks. Explaining to an insurer that your hybrid event is a combination of a physical in-person event and an online one will get the discussion started. Put it in simple terms. Don’t use any explanations that confuse.

The other golden rule is that if an insurance company cannot understand what you are describing they will not cover it. You need to be aware of the huge numbers and different types of risks that insurers are asked to look at every day.

Keep it simple, your hybrid event is a combination event. It has in-person attendees and online delegates. That needs to be your starting point.

Different Hybrid Events Require Different Solutions      

Having got over the first hurdle of explaining what a hybrid event is, you now need to outline what will be happening at yours.

No two hybrid events are the same. As with any event, there will be differences that have to be taken account of. Let’s drill into this with a couple of scenarios. In one situation, your hybrid event may have 2000 people attending in-person with another 5,000 online. Or in a second scenario you could have 100 people attending in-person and 20,000 online. In both these situations, you have a different risk profile. In the first one, you would need to be especially mindful of the risks from 2,000 people moving about. This gives you a much higher chance of injury risk than in the second example where you have 100 people. But in that second situation, the higher risk is likely to be from broadcast issues as you are streaming content to 20,000 people.

We could complicate either of these scenarios by adding in local clusters or hubs of people that will attend in-person as a group. This means you now have a group of people at the main venue, an audience of virtual attendees and a local group(s) to insure.

Drill down into precisely what will be happening at your event. Insurers will then ask further questions and from there they can start to pull together insurance covers that will protect you.

Related: 9 essential tips to reduce hybrid event risk

What Insurance Do You Have?

Insurance is complex. It has its own language. It incorporates local laws and regulations that you need to adhere to.

Events have always required in-depth thinking when it comes to insurance policies. With so many different cogs turning at once, and so much going at a single event, there’s a lot that can go wrong. With hybrid events there are more bases to be covered. After you need to cover the ‘in-person’ risks as well as the ‘virtual’ event risk.

For you to ensure that your hybrid event is protected you need to ensure that you cover the basics.

Key insurance policies to consider include:

  • Liability – For protection of people
  • Property – For protection of your equipment
  • Cancellation – For protection of finances
  • Professional Indemnity – For protection of professional negligence

Talk to an insurance advisor, explain, what your hybrid event is about, explain what covers you have and then find out what you need to change.

A New Frontier with Cyber Insurance      

To add to the key risks noted above, it’s time to talk about cyber insurance. Compared to the other policies mentioned this is a relatively new one.

It doesn’t matter which type of event you are running, in-person, virtual or hybrid, cyber cover is worth investigating. In fact, most event professionals should have this on their list of covers to seriously consider.

Cyber policies are best known for protecting businesses from malicious cyber hacks and data breaches. Cyber criminals can do a lot of damage not only financially but also to your reputation.

Hybrid events can increase the risk of attacks because your cyber-criminal will know that there are two sets of delegates, and you may be using event tech which has limited security on it. Having insurance could help you.

eBook: The Event Planner’s Guide to Data Security

Conclusion – Use Professional Expertise   

By being clear with insurers about what your hybrid event is, what will be happening and what risk mitigation measures you will put in place, you will find the insurance coverage that you need.

There are some pointers in this post, but you should talk to an insurance broker or advisor to help you further. They will know how to approach the market for the best pricing and the best coverage. You could buy insurance direct from insurance companies if you know what you need, and you are sure that there are no better deals to be had.

However, when it comes to hybrid events, it is best to use the professional expertise of insurance practitioners. And if you can, seek advice from those that specialise in events. One thing is certain, hybrid events will become more complex, attendees will demand more, and you need insurance protection that is as comprehensive as possible. Whilst there is no such thing as hybrid event insurance, you can create an insurance programme that is perfect for you. Just take the insights and experience of insurance professionals to help.

Considering hybrid events? Eventsforce offers an all-in-one event management platform that makes it easy for you to launch events quickly and create engaging experiences for on-site and virtual attendees. Learn more.


6 Event Tech Stories You Don’t Want to Miss

6 event tech stories Eventsforce

Want the lowdown on all things event tech? In your inbox, every week

In this month’s round up of top event tech stories, we look at a new registration and ticketing platform that is set to transform the way organizers manage groups at meetings and events today. We also have some interesting updates like Facebook’s new set of community engagement tools and Zoom’s expanded features for virtual conferences. We look at some cool new tech to help with security staff shortages and live translations for virtual events.  And finally, for a bit of fun – a very interesting look at the metaverse, what it means and the future of the events industry.

Have a look at the top tech stories you don’t want to miss:

Social Media Today: Facebook Announces New Group Engagement Tools

For those of you running your event communities on Facebook, there were a few interesting updates from the social media giant that may help improve group engagement. First off, it’s adding new customer colour and post background options and admins will now be able to select the emoji defaults that users respond with in their group. Welcome posts are also getting a redesign with an increased tag limit of 500, so that admins can connect with more newcomers at once.

In terms of in-community engagement, Facebook has announced its new ‘Community Awards’ which allows group members to allocate ‘insightful’, ‘uplifting’ or ‘fun’ markers to posts and comments. More than just an engagement prompt, it improves post/comment visibility and helps demonstrate your group’s content at its best. And more interestingly, admins are now able to make their sub- groups a separate paid element – which could offer you another monetization channel for your most dedicated group members. Read more.

NEW eBOOK – The Event Planner’s Guide to Stress Management

BizBash: 8 New Technology Updates We’re Excited About This Month

BizBash’s newest column offers a monthly check-in on all things event tech, from new virtual platforms to social distancing-focused tools to software that will make your job easier – worth browsing through for an update of what’s new, what’s not. One of the stories that stood out was Interprefy’s new live captioning abilities for multilingual meetings and conferences.

Available in 31 languages, it supports participants with hearing impairments as well as those who prefer to follow the content with visual reinforcement. The tool also includes a powerful glossary function that allows Interprefy clients to pre-load the system with context-specific terms, acronyms and names that will be used during the event to enhance captions accuracy even further. Read more.

EIN: Fast and Easy Group Bookings for Meetings & Events

A new ticketing and registration platform unveiled last month is set to revolutionize the whole process of managing groups around events. Built on Eventsforce’s next generation platform, the system is designed to help organizers sell more tickets and increase revenue from group bookings. A simple setup process means organizers can launch their events quickly, while a WordPress widget allows them to set up ticketing on multiple websites. It is also one of the only booking tools that allow people to buy group tickets but invite individuals group members to complete their own registration details.

It’s an interesting proposal for those events that want to attract more group bookings.  It also means organizers no longer have to chase people for information before securing bookings for an event.  It speeds up the sales cycle, it’s efficient and gives individuals in the group a lot more flexibility to personalize their own event experiences. Read more.

Tech Radar: Zoom Powers Hybrid Events with a Host of New Features

Zoom’s Events solution has now been expanded to include conferences that span across multiple days and sessions – using the same tech that saw 33K people attend Zoomtopia 2021 last month. Organizers can now spread events across five days, with up to 13 sessions running at any one time. Attendees can also view or search for specific sessions in the lobby or via a new directory, filtering via tracks, and can also monitor their itinerary or build their own schedules by adding sessions.

For organizers, the new update means that session and speaker information can be uploaded in bulk, and session videos such as a sizzle reel or preview clip can be included to introduce speakers or prepare attendees for the start of the event. Speakers will also be able to edit their session and bios, although organizers will still have the final sign-off, along with full chat moderation throughout. Read more.

EIN: New Tech Tackles Security Staff Shortages at Large Events

Good news for those that deal with security staff around your in-person events. Safety and communications tech company, Halo Solutions, has partnered with Orka Tech Group to offer clients access to its workforce app used by over 55K security shift workers.

Halo users will be able to quickly fill security-based positions, mitigating the impact of unexpected staffing issues and preventing the cancellation of events caused by shortages. The partnership will also give Halo direct access to a large, fully trained workforce looking for flexible shift work and remove lengthy and costly traditional HR processes. Read more.

EventMB: What the Metaverse Will Mean for the Future of Events 

Will the metaverse — a parallel universe of virtual reality spaces — end up transforming the landscape of events, or is the hype overblown? Ever since Facebook announced it was becoming a “metaverse company” and changing its name to “Meta”, the concept of a virtual reality universe has become part of everyday conversation. To help answer this question, EventMB worked in partnership with IMEX Group to produce a report titled Meet Me at the Metaverse: Exploring the Future of Immersive Online Event Experiences’ – and it’s worth reading if you’re interested what events could potentially look like in 5-10 years.

The report includes simple explanations of what the metaverse is today and what it’s predicted to become over the coming years. Also includes some insights from industry thought leaders who share their views as well as some practical examples of events and brand experiences in this new reality. Read more.

Would you like similar tech round-ups delivered to your inbox each month?  Why not sign up to our EventTech Talk newsletter for tips, updates and research reports on all the latest event and marketing tech trends shaping the events industry today.





How to Build the Right Team for a Hybrid Event

How to build the right team for a hybrid event

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Putting together the perfect events team is a challenge at the best of times. Add the complexities of hybrid, and you can easily find things slipping through the cracks.

In fact, a recent industry research study from Eventsforce shows that nearly 50% of organizers say staffing is one of the biggest issues they have to deal with when planning hybrid events – which is quite concerning.

Some of the typical questions that come to mind – will a hybrid event need two separate teams? Are there opportunities for shared roles to cut costs? Should you be contracting specialists? And what skills and roles do you need to build the right team?

Let’s take a look.

1) Hybrid Event Director   

For a successful and seamless hybrid event there is one key role that must be filled. That is the role of a Hybrid Event Director. You need someone with overall responsibility and the power to get things done. This person needs a complete overview of everything that is to take place and can step in and problem solve as needed.

Experienced hybrid event directors will play an important part in the design of your event. They will be familiar with what works for virtual attendees and how to maximise the in-person experience. Ideally, you should bring in a director before you get underway with your programme planning. But if you are already made progress with your content, make sure that the director reviews it from the perspective of the different attendees. Use the insights that hybrid event directors possess to ensure that all your stakeholders will be happy at the end.

A rookie mistake is to think that your Virtual Event Producer can become your Hybrid Event Director. Unfortunately, this will not work, because the virtual producer has a focus on the virtual production and nothing more.

Your Hybrid Event Director must be experienced with in-person events and virtual productions so that they can bring these elements together. And of course, they need to be able to synthesise the efforts of all team members and contractors to produce the event.

eBook: 10 critical steps to successful hybrid events

2) Logistics

When the programme is finalised, it’s time to sort the logistics. Getting the logistics right is an important part of your hybrid event success. And whilst the emphasis may appear to be on the in-person side of things, it’s crucial that no logistics are missed when it comes to the virtual component.

For example, the logistics team need to ensure that any technical kit for regional clusters or hubs to participate is delivered on time for set up. This also applies to sending any ‘green screen’ set up for speakers.

The best approach is to understand everything that will happen at the hybrid event and work from there. Make sure all stakeholders’ requirements are met.

3) Production    

Production is more in-depth for hybrid events. But it is not difficult once you have established your basic requirements. Let’s take an in-person event. You will source a company that provides sound and vision. They are likely to set up the staging, your sponsor and exhibitor booths and more. For your hybrid event, you are going to require those same elements. In addition, you now need a tech team to stream your content.

Plus, you are likely to need a specialist company in audience interaction. Enabling all attendees to take part in polls, ask questions and make comments, is something no hybrid event can do without.

From this, you can see that it is best that you don’t think of production as meaning the virtual component only. You can use ‘production’ as the all-encompassing term that includes sound, vision, streaming and audience interaction to make sure you have everything covered.

4) Runners     

Runners are critical at hybrid events. Whilst you might associate runners as being more relevant to film and TV productions, the term has a place with events. Pre-pandemic, it was usual to have microphone runners.

But because of the complexities of a hybrid model, the Hybrid Event Director will need runners that they can depend on. Typically, runners will undertake a variety of tasks. For example, ensuring that speakers are in the right place for studio or side interviews, checking that the venue staff have everything under control, or being sent out by the technical team to find some kit. Runners are invaluable. Make sure they are part of your team.

5) Registration & User Journeys     

Your hybrid event has a mix of virtual and in-person attendees, but with the event tech available there should be no need to use separate registration systems. For planners this is very good news. After all, there is nothing more labour intensive and time consuming than working with different systems to effectively do the same task.

In fact, with the need to adhere to data security regulations, the less systems you are using, the better. But you should ensure that the tech is able to be customised appropriately. For example, to issue a Covid-19 safety requirement to virtual attendees would show a lack of attention on your part. After all, the virtual attendee will not physically be at the event.  Many event management systems like Eventsforce are now geared to personalise registration journeys and packages for virtual and on-site attendees – they also make it a lot easier to manage all your attendee data in one place.

It’s imperative therefore that you have someone in your team (not the tech provider) to walk through all ‘user journeys’ ensuring that they make sense. For this task you need someone with an eye for detail that is prepared to follow the web-links and test everything. And it’s an even bigger bonus if you find someone that enjoys this work. You will then be sure that they will not take short cuts to finish the task.

6) Sponsorship & Exhibitors       

It is best to have one team assigned for your sponsorship and exhibitors’ work. No need for separate virtual and on-site teams, just one.  It would make little sense to spend time getting sponsors on board for either the virtual or the in-person offer. Hybrid events, being combination events, open more doors.

Make sure that your team is fully on-board with all offers available. That will give them greater flexibility in making deals happen. It is worth remembering that a number of sponsors and exhibitors are new to the virtual environment and to hybrid events. Do a bit of handholding and introduce them to how good their ROI could be through your event.

Read: 4 key considerations when selling hybrid events to sponsors

7) Marketing & Social Media      

With hybrid, you don’t need to separate teams to do all your marketing work. Social media campaigns should cover the whole event and not just focus on meeting in-person. A hybrid event attracts virtual attendees, and they need to be included and not excluded.

You will require personalised messages for your virtual and in-person attendees depending on which group you are speaking to. But that is no different to having different messages for different marketing personas. Event planners are well used to this and as such hybrid events present no new challenge. The challenge is to ensure that everyone is included and that you don’t inadvertently alienate either set of audiences.

8) Data Analysis & Insights        

Research shows that more event data is being captured today than ever before. Every time someone registers, signs up for a session, or takes part in a poll, valuable data is being collected. Data is a rich currency that many organisations want. They want to use it and learn from it. They want to be able to read between the lines and discover insights.

If you have sponsors and exhibitors at your hybrid event, they will be very interested in understanding both virtual and on-site metrics to help their decision making as to whether to get involved in your next event. If you don’t take data seriously you will lose ground to your competitors that do.

The data that comes from a hybrid event needs analysis. You need to have someone on your team that loves data. If they love looking through it and doing the detective work to make recommendations, you will maximise the benefits of capturing it in the first place.

Conclusion – One Seamless Team  

When building your hybrid event team, there is good news. Many of the functions mentioned you will already have covered. But for some, you will want to call in external expertise. In fact, some roles are critical and are only available through specialists. Take, for example, the production expertise. There is always demand for streaming engineers so don’t leave it too late to book them in.

Throughout this post, there has been one ‘red thread’ message throughout. Quite simply, the message is to treat your hybrid event as one. Do not see it as two distinct programmes that are attached to each other. If you were to do that, you would miss opportunities for sponsors and exhibitors. And you are likely to annoy your attendees.

Put someone in overall charge, we suggest, the Hybrid Event Director. Encourage everyone involved to see how they play their part. View the hybrid as a whole, where everyone pulls together to make it work. Adopting this one seamless team approach will mean everyone will benefit.

Considering hybrid events? Eventsforce offers an all-in-one event management platform that makes it easy for you to create engaging experiences for on-site and virtual attendees. Learn more.



8 Key Mistakes to Avoid When Planning Hybrid Events

8 mistakes to avoid when planning hybrid events

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Hybrid events present new challenges for event planners as they need to engage and delight two different audiences. And whilst it may not be easy, understanding hybrid can’t be avoided. They offer greater choice for attendees. They can help extend the audience reach of an event and promote greater diversity and inclusion too.

The issue of sustainability can’t be ignored either. The COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow has highlighted how much more countries need to be doing to reduce their impact on the global environment. There is no doubt that this will also contribute to the increasing demand for hybrid events.

The benefits are clear but there is a reason why many organizers are struggling coming to grips with a hybrid strategy for their events moving forwards. They carry a lot more risk. There are also a lot of assumptions people make that can be detrimental to the success of a hybrid event.

With this in mind, let’s look at some of the most common mistakes that appear time and again in the design and delivery of hybrid events:

1) Not Understanding WHY

Not understanding why you are planning a hybrid event is the single biggest mistake any organization can make. The reasons must be clearly addressed right at the start. If you and your stakeholders don’t have a strong rationale, there is no point in proceeding.

Let’s not forget that in-person and virtual events are available as alternatives. What is it about combining your audiences into a hybrid event format that will make it right? Is it because you want to broaden your reach? Is it because you want to increase the inclusiveness of your event? Or is it simply that you want to give your attendees the choice of how they attend an event in this current climate? It doesn’t matter what the reason if you are clear on your objectives.

A number of well-established in-person events have successfully embraced the hybrid event format and it has worked well. We have seen awards ceremonies do well, where the sponsors’ brand reach has exceeded expectations. They are delighted as they get to be in front of all attendees.

eBook: 10 Critical Steps to Successful Hybrid Events

2) Not Prioritizing Program Design          

The key to program design is spending enough time on it. The emphasis being on the word ‘enough’. Unless you do justice to properly designing a hybrid event program, it will fail to meet expectations. And yes, we may be a long way from the days when many believed that to create a hybrid, all you needed to do was video capture the in-person content and stream it to a virtual audience.

However, expectations of attendees are becoming more demanding and whether delegates attend in-person or virtually, they to want to feel as though you are personalizing the experience just for them.

To do that you need to allow sufficient time to work through the attendee journeys and any issues. And remember, you cannot prioritize one audience over the other. For example, offering Q&A sessions with speakers for your in-person audience over your virtual ones is something you should avoid. Your virtual attendees need to see what value you are offering them too.

Read: 6 key considerations when designing your hybrid event program

3) Hoping the User Journeys Will Work     

No planner would leave their user journeys to chance. After all there is too much at stake. And this is accentuated at hybrid events because of the complexities involved. But often, unfortunately, these user journeys have not been tested.

Poor user journeys become obvious very quickly. For example, when weblinks do not work, or it is difficult to upload a photo easily. Or registration involves an endless list of pointless questions. The easier and more seamless the journey is, the better the experience for everyone.

You cannot just focus on your attendees either. You need to be looking after your speakers, your press, your exhibitors, your sponsors and more. All these people have a user journey to go on.

The best thing you can do is to get each of the journeys tested from beginning to end. It’s always the attention to detail that will lead to flawless execution benefiting you with a positive ROI at the end of the hybrid.

4) Not Holding Rehearsals    

Not holding rehearsals for an in-person or a virtual event is a bad idea, but it’s even worse when you are producing a hybrid event. It’s worse because you have more moving parts to contend with. You have two audiences, multiple speakers (virtual and in-person), hosts, and crew.

The only way to make sure your hybrid event runs perfectly is to run rehearsals. You need to practice bringing in virtual guest speakers, you must test the audience interaction tech and you must make sure that you know who is directing the event.

Go through the running order from top to bottom. Don’t make the fatal mistake of just talking through what will be happening. It’s not enough. You need to go through everything as though it were live. You can adjust sound, lighting, and scripting at the rehearsal stage. But once you go live, you are live, and you cannot start again.

During rehearsal arrange to have a small group of in-person and virtual attendees to give you ‘in the moment’ feedback which will be invaluable. They will be able to let you know how well the timing for the voting or Q&A is working and much more.

5) Not Managing Time Effectively    

Letting time run away is a big mistake if you want your hybrid event to be a success. You need to be in control of time, not be governed by it. Whilst at an in-person event, speakers may be able to stretch the timing a bit, it’s not the case with your hybrid event. You must always remember the audience that you cannot see, they will be tuning in, and they will expect you to be on time.

To make sure everything runs smoothly and both audiences have great experiences it is a good idea to use hosts. Have an in-person and a virtual host. By working together, they will help keep everything on track and to time.

6) Not Promoting Opportunities to Sponsors and Exhibitors    

Failing to properly promote opportunities to exhibitors and sponsors would mean that you are missing out. Missing opportunities for you to raise revenue and but also to provide additional value for attendees.

It is highly likely that you will need to educate sponsors and exhibitors on how a hybrid event can increase their reach and revenue. The most important point is that they can be in front of both sets of attendees.

And whilst sponsors for in-person events understand what they are looking for, many still need to understand the opportunities with the virtual audience. For example, when it comes to virtual, you could interest them in 1:1 video meetings, in-platform advertising and push notifications, personalized matchmaking, curated VIP roundtables or focus discussions.

Highlight the opportunities available and develop customized offers. Some will want to place emphasis on the in-person attendees, others will want to focus on virtual viewers, and some will want equal emphasis on both attendee types.

Read: 4 Key Considerations When Selling Hybrid Events to Sponsors

7) Not Using Virtual Hosts and Producers         

Whilst you should not prioritize one audience over the other, the virtual component is relatively new for some planners to incorporate. However, help is at hand in the form of virtual specialists such as virtual hosts and virtual event producers. It makes sense to use this expertise if you don’t have sufficient experience. It also allows you to coordinate things a lot more easily.

In brief, a virtual host acts as the conduit between the production team, the speaker, and the attendees. The host can demonstrate how the technology works to enable delegates to get the most from their experience. In addition, a virtual host can look at questions and comments coming in and they can also scan the poll results.

The virtual host takes their instructions from the virtual event producer who is the person that brings everything together for the virtual delivery. In a hybrid event, it is essential that your virtual specialists work in alignment with the in-person content director. It’s the only way in which you will be able to produce a seamless event.

8) Thinking There is One Set Formula    

There is no magic formula for hybrid event success. There is no formula for what a hybrid event should be. Debate continues in the events sector as to how a hybrid event should be defined. However, there are only two key components to a hybrid event, you have an in-person audience, and you have a virtual audience. That’s it.

You decide how much content needs to be provided to both audiences at the same time. You decide where and when the programs should separate. It’s up to you.

But the key point is that you are in control of what you do with your hybrid event. It doesn’t matter what other organizations are doing. There are different hybrid event formats you can use and as always what will be best will depend on your objectives.

Conclusion – Use Hybrid Events Strategically

Hybrid events are not going to disappear from the events landscape. They may in time be called something else, but their significance won’t change.

What matters most is that organizations have an event format that they can use when it makes the most strategic sense for them to do so. To hold a hybrid event that combines in-person and virtual attendees can be very powerful.

And there is no going backwards. With Covid-19 effectively stopping in-person events, the only option was virtual. Now that is has been shown that virtual productions work, there will be a lot more demand for hybrid events.

It is for you to decide when a virtual event will work and when an in-person event will work. And of course, it’s your strategic decision that will determine when you need to hold a hybrid event.

Considering hybrid events? Eventsforce offers an all-in-one event management platform that makes it easy for you to create engaging experiences for on-site and virtual attendees. Learn more.