THREE BIGGEST CHALLENGES OF HOSTING HYBRID EVENTS

The COVID outbreak forced everything to go virtual, be it meetings, trade shows, town halls, or other industrial events – everything was pivoted to virtual events. This is what gave birth to hybrid events – a combination of rich experiences of the in-person event with the convenience of virtual events. This concept soon emerged out to be the new programming standard for business events across the world.

Although hybrid events sound very exciting, they pose multiple challenges for event managers. Here are three of the most difficult challenges that hybrid events may lead to and solutions for how to overcome them:

  •       Understanding the needs of both audiences: Organizing a hybrid event implies you will have to cater to two separate experiences simultaneously, which can get a little tricky if not implemented properly. Here are a few things event managers can keep in mind while accommodating both audiences with the same content:

o   Leverage a reliable platform: According to a survey, 78% of event marketers use traditional webinar tools for their events, but these tools are not built for hybrid events. And hence, it is important for event managers to adopt new technologies to organize a successful event. There are a lot of digital events and customer engagement apps available in the market for event marketers to look at.

o   Dedicated support for the online audience: Event managers must give the same importance to their virtual audience as they give to their offline attendees. If possible, event managers can have two or three team members solely to interact with virtual attendees. These team members can keep the virtual audience engaged with various networking activities, surveys and more. 

  •       Content for the Event: After choosing the right application and venue for organizing the event, the next step is creating valuable content for both in-house and virtual audiences and finding a way to connect them. There are several questions that an event manager should answer before they plan the activities for the event. Some of them are:

o   What activities should be onsite, and which ones should be online?

o   How to make sure the virtual audience doesn’t feel left out?

o   Should there be live speakers or recorded webinars?

The key is to plan the content to cater to both audiences’ needs. This could be done by setting up more touchpoints such as email notifications, push notifications, and social media platforms for all the content activities. The event managers can also consider adding a projector to the physical stage to show the virtual attendees. 

  •       Increased Costs and Risks: Hybrid events mean integrating different technologies and platforms to offer all the attendees with a seamless and delightful experience. This can make it a little difficult for the event managers to deal with complexities and the increased costs. For instance, pricing an event that is part-live and part-virtual can get complicated since it is an event with two different experiences. So how to do it? Here are a few parameters that can be kept in mind while coming up with a pricing strategy for the event:

o   Mode of attending (online or offline)

o   New or existing attendees

o   Content sessions they want to access

o   Sponsor revenue

o   Shipping costs for the online attendees

Furthermore, event managers can implement a single platform that supports events of all sizes and formats to avoid the extra costs of managing multiple systems. While deciding on the platform, marketers should have some considerations in mind, such as features like detailed reporting, analytics, and ability to monitor in real-time etc. 

No matter which industry you are in, hybrid events are here to stay, so it is highly recommended that you prepare for the hybrid event future while keeping all the things mentioned above in mind.

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