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6 Popular Ways to Use Hybrid Events for Your Organization

How to seamlessly blend virtual and in-person elements to create unparalleled experiences.

Are you looking for creative ways to get more out of your events? Hybrid event management makes it possible to extend your events beyond the typical capacity of your venue and team.

Here’s how.

What is a Hybrid Event?

A hybrid event combines both virtual and in-person elements into a single occasion. In many cases, a hybrid event makes it possible for attendees to gain valuable resources without missing out on in-person engagement. Hybrid events might include online learning sessions, digital resources, or discussion boards while still offering in-person seminars, dinners, or presentations.

Hybrid events can fall into two basic categories: 

  • Segmented Audience – A hybrid event can host separate online and in-person segments for two different audiences to increase reach.
  • United Audience – A hybrid event can have one audience that is expected to participate in both the online and in-person segments to offer additional resources.

As online events have increased in popularity, so have hybrid events. Though hybrid events were affected by COVID in 2020, Statista reports marketers expected more than a third (35%) of their events to be hybrid in 2022.

The Challenges of Hybrid Events

Hybrid events can help solve space and time limitations by extending part of your event with an online segment. However, hybrid events come with a unique set of challenges.

Increased need for communication: Complex events are more likely to confuse attendees. Online or in-person segments might not be attended in full if your audience gets confused. Hybrid events often require more communication from the event organizer.

Diverse ticketing needs: You may want to offer special ticket prices to your online guests or increase costs when people take advantage of both online and in-person sessions. Hybrid events can lead to complex ticketing that works better if you have customization controls in place on your ticketing and registration platform.

Online event engagement challenges: Online event portions aren’t always as engaging as in-person segments. With hybrid events, keeping both parts of the event equally gripping and memorable can be a real challenge.

The Benefits of Hybrid Events vs In-Person Events

Why would you want to host a hybrid event in place of an in-person-only event? 

Hybrid events offer an opportunity to extend your event time, reach a broader audience, or provide additional resources. For example, your hybrid event could target a non-local audience that wouldn’t typically travel to your location to participate. Your hybrid event could also bring in speakers that are only available for virtual speaking events or are too expensive to bring in for an in-person session.

The Benefits of Hybrid Events vs Virtual Events

So, why not offer an online-only event? While there are benefits to hosting a virtual event, there can be some drawbacks too. 

Online events aren’t ideal for everyone because they don’t offer the physical environment that an in-person event offers. While online events can be more convenient for certain guests, others find it more difficult to stay focused or feel engaged during a virtual presentation. Hybrid events can either offer the option to participate in person, or they can combine in-person elements to encourage increased attendee engagement.

6 Examples of Hybrid Events

What kinds of events work well with a hybrid setup? Here are a few hybrid event examples of how different organizations use hybrid events to support their goals and audience.

1. Efficient training sessions. Use online sessions to supplement in-person learning and cut down on the time your staff or volunteers have to spend as a group. Hybrid events can include online sessions, quizzes, discussion boards, and more, paired with a hands-on session for the in-person part of the training.

2. Increased reach for a bigger audience. Organizations of all kinds are opening up the doors to reach a much larger audience with hybrid events. These national events could include company events for a remote workforce, conventions, seminars, product launches, and more. Consider whether you want to offer exclusive content or breakout rooms for those who are online-only attendees and won’t get the benefit of in-person networking.

3. Gated live stream for a select audience. Organizations can use live streaming to enable attendance for people who would typically attend but aren’t feeling well or have travel conflicts. Organizations might choose to offer a live-stream option for church services, programs, shows, concerts, guest speakers, and more. Live streaming can restrict access by requiring a sign-in feature that only works for registered guests or guests with a special access code. These live events might include interactive chat and a video stream so guests can see the presentation in real-time.

4. Ongoing outreach programs. The DEC Network is an example of one organization that combines an in-person gathering with ongoing virtual outreach for a hybrid approach that reaches beyond the initial event. Get the case study to find out how the DEC Network used Brushfire’s Event App to create stronger connections, interact with attendees year-round, offer more resources, and increase attendee engagement at their events.

5. Interactive games and activities. Whether you are organizing campus life, planning a major corporate event, or putting together ministry outreach, competition can be a great way to encourage connections and get people involved. During your event, you can incorporate virtual games and activities to engage your attendees—like creating a treasure hunt or hosting a live group quiz.

6. Networking and fostering relationships. Large events are great, but breakout sessions can help create opportunities for intimate learning opportunities or meaningful connections. Hybrid events can offer virtual breakout rooms for different speakers and interactive group chat to help foster your attendees’ connection with other members from their assigned small groups. Churches, schools, and workplaces can use these kinds of hybrid event tools to help people form stronger bonds with each other.

How to Use Hybrid Events to Grow Your Organization

How can hybrid events help your organization grow? There are several benefits to hosting part of your event online. Here are three key ways you can get more out of your hybrid event.

On-Demand Content

What kind of resources do you have on hand to support your team or your audience? Regardless of whether you are live streaming or offering pre-recorded content during your hybrid event, you can offer that same content with on-demand access for an audience at a later date. 

Preserving part of your hybrid event can be valuable down the road. For example, you can record live, virtual training sessions to reuse for future employee or volunteer groups. You can host a live webinar, seminar, or podcast and offer the recording later as gated content.

Polls and Q&As

Do you understand your audience, or are you assuming you know what they want from an event? Take the opportunity to capitalize on key data to improve future events.

During hybrid events, you can make use of polling to get crucial feedback from your attendees. You can also use live Q&A sessions to create FAQ content for future use. These kinds of activities are engaging for your audience and offer valuable insights to your team about the attendee experience and what concerns your audience.

Shareable Content

Do you want to spread the word about your organization? The right content is something your guests may want to share with their circle of friends, colleagues, and followers.

Offer recaps or recorded clips of an event for your audience to share at a later date. Many hybrid events already have an element of video and use a hosting platform. You can post clips of something memorable from the event, like a performance, speech, group activity, or event montage. You can even use a virtual photo booth or event hashtag to encourage attendees to spread the word during the event itself. 

As your attendees share it, you will build a stronger reputation and increase name recognition for your organization.

Hybrid Events Planning Tips

Are you ready to get started? Here are five quick tips to help you plan your next hybrid event.

Understand Your Audience

First, it is important to know your audience and your organization’s goals before planning your hybrid event. Don’t assume you know the answers without asking some of your target audience through polls, quizzes, or quick interviews.

  • What do your guests want to get out of your event? 
  • How can a hybrid event enhance the attendee experience?
  • Can your hybrid event save your team time down the road?
  • What will determine event success?

Choose Hybrid Event Software

Selecting the right platform for tasks like ticketing and registration is a key part of a successful hybrid event. You want to use hybrid event planning tools that make it easy for your team and encourage your guests to engage. Look for hybrid event management software that offers important features like:

  • Customizable ticketing so you can offer different package deals or hybrid ticket types.
  • Registration tools that make it possible to determine how you want guests to access your content (Do they need an account? Will you offer open access? Do they need a special password that comes with a ticket purchase?).
  • Engagement capabilities, like a live chat feature, to help your attendees participate in the virtual parts of your event.
  • Easy navigation so your guests don’t feel lost or confused when they participate in online event activities.
  • Embed a popup registration box so your guests never have to leave your site when they sign up for your hybrid event.
  • Tailored designs that make the virtual platform and ticketing popup look and feel like anything else coming from your organization.

Plan Both Parts Separately

If you lump both the online and in-person pieces of your event together during the planning process, you are more likely to overlook something critical to your event’s success. If your planning isn’t focused on one experience at a time, you may not consider how your in-person event guests enter the building, get checked in, or choose seats. You might forget to consider how online guests navigate different pieces of the event if you switch platforms, or you might miss an opportunity to encourage engagement through something like hashtag discussions during the event.

Take the time to consider your virtual event and in-person event as two separate things (even if you are planning for a united audience that experiences both parts of the hybrid event).

Consider the Value

How can your organization get more mileage out of your hybrid event? Consider how the hybrid nature of your event can provide you with additional value down the road. Your organization might benefit from resulting resources, insightful audience information, increased brand visibility, collaborative groupthink session outcomes, and more.

Encourage Networking and Live Interaction

How can you increase value for your attendees? Hybrid events offer a great opportunity to help group members connect. Make sure you plan out ways to help individuals make those connections in person and virtually throughout your event.

  • Create breakout rooms or small group sessions.
  • Offer a discussion board or virtual chat feature.
  • Allow guests to connect through a custom app for your event.
  • Include sponsor or partner links on your app or website.
  • Split into teams for event competitions, games, or activities.

Increase Event Registration and Sales With Brushfire

Are you looking for an industry-leading platform to create successful hybrid events? Brushfire can help! Use our hybrid event software to support your event registration strategies, increase attendance, gain key insights, and produce valuable content for future use. Our innovative tools and top-notch customer support are second to none.

Learn more about our solutions by requesting a free demo from our team!