hybrid event live

The Complete Guide to Hybrid Events

David Kovalcik Webcasting Articles, Webcasting News

What is a Hybrid Event?

Hybrid Events Definition: /ˈhīˌbrid/ /əˈvent – An event that leverages technology to meaningfully integrate in-person and virtual attendee experiences at scale. A hybrid event is a tradeshow, conference, seminar, workshop, or other meeting that combines an in-person audience with virtual attendees.

Hybrid events combine in-person events and virtual events and allow event planners to reach a large-scale audience. They allow your audiences to interact with your presentation, no matter where they are. You complement your face-to-face, on-site, physical event with viewing over the web, both live and on-demand. The result is a hybrid event, conference or meeting that serves two audiences: those who could not attend the physical event and those who attended but want to review sessions they may have missed.

Hybrid meetings are quickly becoming the new normal for business gatherings. These virtual and hybrid events leverage technology to meaningfully integrate in-person and virtual attendee experiences at scale.

hybrid event live

Types of Hybrid Events

In a hybrid event, you send a live stream over the web to virtual attendees, and the in-person audience participates in the live event, well, in-person. These hybrid events can include either live or remote attendees and presenters. In certain situations, these hybrid events can have a mix of both. Having a good event strategy will ensure everything from post event content, virtual audience engagement, live event participants, and more are properly aligned with your business and event goals.

Internal Hybrid Events

  • Company all-staff meeting
  • Sales summits and kickoffs
  • Global town halls
  • Larger team meetings

External Hybrid Events

  • Conferences and trade shows
  • Customer conferences
  • Product demonstrations

When to Host a Hybrid Event?

Does a virtual component make sense for your event? If so, hybrid events are the perfect solution for events that are both onsite and virtually. Below are some examples of types of events that are prefect for hybrid event:

  1. Trade shows
  2. Conferences
  3. Sales kick-offs
  4. Global town halls

Advantages of a Hybrid Event

Meeting Professionals International (MPI) polled 1800 of its members. When asked about hybrid meetings, 70 percent of respondents believe that hybrid meetings will be important to the future of events. Meanwhile, 75% of respondents said engagement tools during the meeting enhances the experience and makes it more memorable. Losing a live audience to the virtual cloud can be a common fear among meeting organizers and planners. However, evidence shows that overall meeting attendance actually increases when access to the event includes a virtual component. People are more accepting of the virtual experience and have become more educated due to our recent months of COVID and the isolated environments.

Hybrid Events MPI Members Polling

Engagement is the essential ingredient in hybrid events. Audience engagement tools help you engage 100% of your virtual meeting participants. The Xyvid Pro Engagement Tools are built directly into our platform. There are both active and passive tools built to suit your virtual meeting.

hybrid events audience engagement tools

Reach More People

Reaching people across the globe is the new normal for virtual and hybrid events because virtual attendees can access the event’s live stream (webcast) from anywhere around the globe. Losing a live audience to the virtual cloud can be a common fear among meeting organizers and planners. However, evidence shows that overall meeting attendance actually increases when access to the event includes a virtual component.

hybrid events for remote attendees

Enduring Long After Live

Recording the event allows for multiple uses post event. Because your event, tradeshow, town hall, etc. includes a virtual component, capturing the presentations and content is easy. Recordings can be preserved for later viewing. You can even choose to play the content as a scheduled “Simlive” event AFTER the program is done, leveraging the replay for additional audience impressions. You can also make the content available as a “Video-On-Demand” (VOD) for access at any time convenient for the viewer. This is assuming you have a webcast partner that can provide this support. Never before were you able to gain such benefit from a meeting and be able to connect to so many participants.

Analytics for Live and Remote

Reporting on your virtual audience and in-person attendees is crucial to understanding success for your live stream of your live or virtual event. It is extremely important to analyze audience engagement, responses, and feedback. Few technologies allow for both live and virtual participation at the same time in one platform. Seeing your entire audience or comparing virtual to live responses, allows organizers to view the full scale of their meeting experience.

Carbon Footprint Reduction

Environmental consciousness is good for everyone, so go with a hybrid event strategy. A typical hybrid meeting can save as much as 60% of the normal meeting spend. Reduce carbon output by organizing meetings that use electricity. Even then, the impact on the environment is still far below the typical traveling attendee. Meetings on-line means less hotel rooms, less food, less transportation – all of these live event necessities are simply not necessities with a webcast, or hybrid event model. Let’s reduce our negative effect on the environment with hybrid events.

3 Main Points For A Successful Hybrid Event

This is the difference between great a great hybrid event and failure.

  1. Hybrid Friendly Platform – A platform that combines and engages both the live and virtual audiences. 
  2. Production Provider – Ensure the production team understands the concepts of hybrid and has the experience. 
  3. Consistent Professional People – Work with a consistent team who understands your needs wherever you hold your events.

Hybrid Event Considerations

Understand the planning, definitions and projected use of these new tools in the meeting planning world. With hybrid events, clients, customers, and attendees of all sorts can now connect in one cohesive event experience. Still want to hold a live event? Fine, but stream it to reach a larger audience (virtually). Hybrid Events are an excellent choice for any event strategy that needs to include a live and virtual audience.

In a hybrid meeting both the presenter and the audience can be either live or remote. Situations can also have a mix of both. Meetings can be both remote and live for either group. Speakers can be live and remote and audiences can be live and remote. Having a good pre-plan can simplify your events and set achievable expectations.

hybrid events remote and in person audiences

Understand Event Requirements

Who will be virtual and who will be live? In a hybrid meeting both the presenter and the audience can be either live or remote. Situations can also have a mix of both. Meetings can be both remote and live for either group. Speakers can be live and remote and audiences can be live and remote. Having a good pre-plan can simplify your events and set achievable expectations.

Event Location Logistics

Understand the live meeting space and how virtual fits. In a hybrid event, your live location now has more pieces to the event puzzle – it isn’t just as simple as getting a proper room and finding a vendor for food. Location of things such as the video camera, internet connection, and others can be a crucial part of creating a professional event experience for your on-line participants.

Hybrid Events Logistics

Hybrid Events Timeline – SimLive and Replay

Will you be using a recording of the event after the live session? Choosing a webcast provider that offers on-demand support is crucial when organizing your next hybrid or virtual event. Ensure there is an option for virtual attendees to view the event after its completion so that they can partake in the event as if it were being shown live. This will further extend your message and make it accessible for people who missed it the first time around.

Hybrid Event Timeline

Including the Remote Audience

Arguably the most significant part of your hybrid or virtual event is going to be audience engagement. It is absolutely essential that you choose a webcast provider that has an engaging webcast platform to suit your audience’s needs. On the other hand, choosing a proper AV and staging company that places your live audience in the most comfortable and professional environment possible is paramount to your show’s success. Use different webcast engagement tools throughout the meeting to keep both the live and virtual audience participating.

  • Biography – Display a detailed CV or biography of the current speaker to the audience. Add elegance to your presentation.
  • Gaming – Create competition within a group of people or challenge an individual’s own subject knowledge in a new and exciting way.
  • Pulse – Receive instant feedback from your audience with custom emotion buttons. Review when and where your participants gave their opinions.
  • Custom Side Panel – Display any compatible webpage inside your presentation. Show your company website, Google Maps or product info – the only limitation is your imagination.
  • Polling – Get audience feedback by asking questions on any topic. Engage your participants and keep their attention during your program.
  • Social Media Integration – Add Social Media to run concurrently with your program. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or your internal systems can be displayed.
  • Ticket Tape – Reveal live continuous scrolling text anywhere in your presentation to inform, promote or activate your audience.
  • Word Cloud – Audience members are prompted for an opinion word and their responses are tabulated to form an elegant WordCloud.

webcast social media feed integration

The Remote Live Event

Consider every person from your organization, the audience and the other members involved… How do you want to interact with them during the hybrid or live event? Q&A? Polling Questions? These are all features that should be built into your webcast provider, ensuring your hybrid event goes off without flaw and leaves the audience feeling refreshed with retained information.

Focus During Breaks

There are many ways to engage a virtual audience. Webcast gamification is one strategy that webcast companies use to further virtual attendee engagement. There is no right or wrong way to do it, just ensure that your audience is being engaged during breaks. Your webcast provider should be able to present polls, open a group chat, show social media updates and more, all through one cohesive webcast platform.

Making Connections

One of the best ways to engage an audience is to get them talking to one another. Given the effects of the COVID pandemic, a lot of these interactions are occurring on a virtual level, leaving the audience to communicate over the web. The avenues in which that communication happens is absolutely crucial to creating a successful hybrid event experience. There are other ways to “communicate” virtually as well, and they’re all centered around getting the audience to compete or converse with one another.

Choosing the Right Webcast and AV Partner

Using an in-house webcast or AV provider might not be the best choice for your Hybrid Event. Depending on your presenters and audience there are many choices… You only get one chance to succeed at a live or virtual event, unless you have multiple hybrid events a year, chances are your event is quite a big deal (so do it right!). Having professionals who understand the time, effort and expense that goes into these programs will ensure like-minded thinking and lead to a successful live, virtual or hybrid event. Remember, engaging your audience is your number one goal. This can be achieved through gamification, an attractive webcast platform that makes everything look awesome, or a stage setup that gives the audience that wow-factor.

Choosing the Right Hybrid Event Platform

Considerations for choosing the right hybrid event platform:

  • Collaborative – Will your virtual audience want to see each other live on camera?
  • Engagement – Polling, Wordcloud, Gaming etc. should work with live and virtual.
  • Participants Communication – Chatting among live and virtual participants is a must when holding a hybrid meeting.
  • Video and Audio Quality – Bad connections and poor video and audio can discourage participation in a virtual group.
  • Security – Making sure your information is secure is crucial in today’s cybertech world.
  • Reporting – Grouping your live and virtual participants in one report help you see how your content is perceived from live to virtual.

Choosing the Right Hybrid Event AV Partner

With an isolated environment, companies are forced to find a reliable and engaging webcast partner to display content and spread a significant message to a virtual audience. Considerations for choosing the right hybrid event AV partner:

  • Experience – Ensure that the AV team has intimate knowledge of the virtual platform. Focus on the virtual audience is imperative for a great virtual experience.
  • Consistency – Having a consistent team on every location reduces training and having to explain the details. Understanding your needs before they are required is a good thing.
  • Equipment – Using high quality reduces the risk of bad audio or video quality. Streaming from inexpensive tools shows itself 10X when streaming to small or large audiences.

Hybrid Event AV Partner

Xyvid is a full end-to-end hybrid event solution. We also have the ability to do the AV at a live event, as well as the virtual event for your participants who cannot be there in person. With Xyvid, you won’t need a separate AV company for the live component of your hybrid event – we do it all. Xyvid Pro was originally born in the meeting and events space, with our sister company, Dyventive, providing AV and staging solutions across the world. With our Engagement Tool Suite, Xyvid Pro can help you engage 100% of your virtual meeting participants. The Xyvid Pro Engagement Tools are built directly into our platform, leaving all in-person and virtual attendees engaged. With focus on hybrid events, Xyvid Pro is the only virtual event platform that properly displays event content to a virtual audience.