Creating an equally engaging experience for in-person and remote attendees has never been easy, but there are proven ways to make hybrid events better, says Dan Vanchieri, chief revenue officer of Aventri.
Hybrid events are inherently complex, but they are undoubtedly here to stay. While many people look forward to the return of in-person events, others prefer to attend virtually. By accommodating these remote attendees, you can reach a much larger audience without having to greatly increase your investment.
Regardless of whether your events take place in-person or online, chances are they have the same overarching goals, such as raising brand awareness and generating leads.
Uniting virtual and in-person experiences is essential for accomplishing these goals, but that requires careful planning and preparation. The most successful hybrid events rely on unified messaging and one platform to plan, host, and manage everything.
Here are six proven ways to enhance the experience for both online and in-person attendees:
#1. Research Your Audiences
It’s easy for event planners to become overwhelmed by the complexities of technology as they try to find the best tools and platforms for the job. However, this could mean overlooking the most important thing of all – delivering value to your audience.
All attendees will have certain goals and expectations. Gaining a clear understanding of their priorities is key, so you can deliver the most engaging content.
#2. Set the Right Expectations
While virtual events will never be able to completely replace in-person events (that’s not their purpose), each audience segment will have its own expectations. As far as attendees are concerned, virtual activities should offer an equally valuable experience as in-person activities.
One of the great advantages of hybrid events is that they let attendees choose the delivery models that suit their style and ability to travel. For example, some attendees might prefer to view presentations online but join workshops in person.
#3. Create Shared Experiences
One of the biggest challenges hybrid event planners face is the need to consolidate virtual and in-person experiences in a way that maximizes engagement and value. It’s important to remember that, while virtual and in-person activities have their differences, they also have a lot in common.
Leveraging these commonalities to create shared experiences will make your events far more memorable. To do this, you need to provide seamless ways for virtual and in-person attendees to interact with each other, as highlighted below.
#4. Work Closely with Partners
For instance, you may encounter technical constraints to creating shared experiences, which you will need to address before the event. To overcome these hurdles, work closely with your venue partners.
Not only will you require a high-speed Internet connection; you will also need a dependable AV team to address any technical issues if they arise. Fortunately, many event-hosting companies have been ramping up their technical capabilities to better accommodate hybrid events.
#5. Encourage Community-Building
Events are not all about presentations; they should not revolve around one-to-many communication. The most successful and memorable events are those where attendees make meaningful new contacts.
Networking and community-building should be central to your event, and they should unite in-person and remote attendees. For example, you could use mobile instant messaging apps and a combination of virtual and in-person meetups.
#6. Craft Engaging Event Content
Last, but not least, focus on creating engaging content that meets and exceeds your audience’s expectations – both during and post-event. Many planners focus only on the event itself and overlook what happens afterward.
Event-related content, like recorded presentations and supporting material, should continue to offer value to attendees long after the physical event ends. Indeed, many training courses have provided information this way for years; it’s a proven way to deliver valuable evergreen content.
This content is sponsored by Aventri, an events management platform that unites virtual and hybrid event experiences to increase engagement and leverage the power of analytics.