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Wednesday, 25 August 2021 21:27

Tips to execute a successful hybrid event

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Tips to execute a successful hybrid event Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

When virtual events took over our routines in the past year and a half, we had to step up and adapt rapidly in order to create engaging, valuable and enjoyable experiences. But in this time of rapid changes and adaptation, we have also learned that even though virtual events are in the spotlight and more prominent than ever, and it has been demonstrated that this type of experiences hold a lot of value for both organizers and audiences, live events are not going anywhere.

Moving forward, one way to create a more foolproof future for our industry is to keep innovating, and that includes coming up with a strategy that mixes the best of both worlds (virtua and live) in order to maximize value for you and for your audience: enter hybrid events.

If you are willing to implement a hybrid event strategy in your business model, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you increase your chances to succeed:

Don’t overlook the role of the presenter or host

Whether it’s a motivational speaker, a business expert for your panel, an entertainer, or someone else, you know that the talent is one of the centerpieces of an event, but there’s another key role that you must avoid overlooking: the presenter or host. A good host is essential to make an event run smoothly, and they can even help the conference recover from a boring presentation, keep the audience engaged and inject excitement and interest to the event.

Make sure to employ professional presenters with vast experience who can handle virtual and live experiences, or if you must use someone from your team, just be sure to provide training beforehand.

Now more than ever, attention to detail is key

Executing a hybrid event requires even more detailed planning than a virtual or live event, because you are basically planning and setting logistics for two experiences that might share a lot of similarities, but that will also have their own sets of needs.

Your logistics and execution plan must include room for ample testing and you will need to make sure that the experience is optimized for both live and virtual audiences. Communication and coordination between your internal team, the talent, the venue’s staff and any other provider you may employ needs to be clear and efficient.

Flexibility and adaptability

Covid restrictions are not set in stone and there are certain developments that are out of your reach that might change things from one moment to another. In order to navigate this uncertainty, the best thing for you to do is to think of all the stuff that might arise and compromise your hybrid event’s execution so you can adapt and set in motion plan B in case things go awry.

You might also need to establish flexible policies when it comes to tickets, for example allowing a more relaxed refund policy (within limits), or the ability to change a live ticket for a virtual one (or vice versa) in case someone in your audience has some last minute changes. 

Reasonable flexibility can help you gain the trust of you clients and show that you’re willing to meet them halfway in case something that’s beyond anyone’s control forces a change of plans.

Set clear expectations for your audience

If you want the public to be satisfied with your event, it’s important that from the beginning you communicate through effective marketing and customer service efforts what the audience can expect from the event, including mentioning that it’s a hybrid event and what it means in terms of the experience and execution. If your customers know what they can expect, then the chances of them creating false expectations and wrong ideas around the experience will be minimized.

The virtual element is key, not an afterthought

At least for the foreseeable future, thinking of hosting a live event without a virtual component will be a big no no. A virtual element can help you reach bigger audiences (which in turn means higher ticket sales) and introduce the public to more innovative and enriching experiences, as long as you take the time to plan and execute them successfully. 

It’s easy for a poorly executed virtual experience to steal the spotlight and leave audiences with a sour memory. In order to avoid this, here are a few questions that may help you deliver a quality virtual experience for your hybrid event: 

  • Am I fully including the virtual audience into the experience?
  • Have I implemented activities and proper channels for the virtual audience to interact?
  • Am I giving the same importance to the virtual audience in my event planning?
  • Which extra benefits am I going to offer for the virtual audience? Are they enticing and valuable enough?
  • The ticket price for the virtual event is reflective of the value the audience will receive?

Take good care of both of your audiences

Yes, hybrid events have more potential benefits, but they also require more effort. You are essentially delivering a similar (but maybe not identical) event for two different audiences, which will increase the amount of things you will have to oversee and take care off. Both of these audiences are equally important, and they need to feel valued and taken into account.

Create effective engagement strategies

Any keynotes, presentations, panels, Q&A sessions, and any other elements that will be part of your event need to be properly adjusted to work for both a live and a virtual audience. Balance both in order to avoid making it look like one is more of a priority than the other, and make an effort to innovate and think outside the box to create an elevated experience that delivers value and engages your audience, no matter if they’re participating from an auditorium or behind a screen.

Networking experiences when it comes to virtual events might prove to be a challenge, but it’s important to try to come up with a solution even if it means investing in technology, navigating a learning curve and experimenting to see what works best, even if the audiences will not always be exactly the same.

Merch and promotional gifts

If you’re planning on giving  gifts and merch to the public as part of their ticket purchase, make sure that you also deliver these to virtual attendants. Ship packages in advance and ensure customers will receive their goodies before the event takes place; this can also help you build interest and stay on top of your public’s mind.

As you can see, hybrid events have their own unique set of challenges, but everything is part of this new reality we have to get accustomed to. Both organizers and audiences need to approach post-pandemic events with an open mind, after all, if there’s something we all have learned after Covid is that we can’t cling to ideas and ways of doing things just because that’s the way it’s always been done. Let’s welcome innovation and the opportunity to take our industry to the next phase with open arms.

Let us help in your hybrid event planning, contact us to book the best keynote speaker.

Read 321 times Last modified on Wednesday, 25 August 2021 21:45



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