by Colleen Bottorff
If you’re starting to think about what events will look like in 2021 and beyond, you’re not alone. But it’s not so much a question of when we’ll be able to get together in large groups again, as it is a question of what the virtual side of events will look like.
Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly accelerated our need for online events, the idea of a hybrid event with both in-person and virtual components has been around for years. And, now that we’ve all been forced to get a little more comfortable with the virtual side, it’s clear there is a ton of value to be had by incorporating online experiences.
But, that begs the questions — what is a hybrid event, exactly? There are a couple of ways we’re thinking about it.
First, you could mirror what you do in person, online. Think each session, your expo hall, activities, etc. Find a way to execute it online and give your virtual attendees an experience similar to those who joined in person.
Or, you could structure it where sometimes in-person and virtual attendees are experiencing the same thing, and sometimes they have separate opportunities. For example, conducting certain networking activities online isn’t always easy, so you might have some completely different ways attendees engage with each other depending on how they’re joining the event.
Now, that’s if you want to go all-in with a virtual experience. If you want to at least open up the most important content to virtual attendees, you could also always simply livestream keynotes and some (or all) sessions to be viewed by those who purchase a livestream-only pass.
This is a more pared-down experience, and wouldn’t necessarily allow them to visit any type of expo hall or participate in networking opportunities, but it’s still a great way to extend access to the meat of your event — the content! — to more members who can’t make it in person.
Plus, live streaming (and, therefore, recording) your event content means you’ll be able to use it post-event for your overall content delivery strategy.
However you choose to approach a hybrid event, it’s good to be thinking about it now so you can execute on it later. If you’re looking for more insight on how to execute a virtual experience, download our Virtual Event Playbook below, or view the recorded webinar version here!