Five Must-Haves for Virtual and Hybrid Event Success

October 12, 2021

Adam Riggs

Adam Riggs is founder and CEO of Frameable, a suite of remote-first digital experiences, including its fully customizable virtual and hybrid event platform, Social hour.

Virtual and hybrid events have matured and evolved a great deal over the last couple of years, and they will keep connecting us long after the pandemic is over. Even as businesses move into pandemic recovery, events and conferences—a more than trillion-dollar industry—will largely remain virtual or hybrid for some time. Professional event planners will need to find virtual event solutions that provide a great attendee experience and are highly customizable.

Additionally, in-person event attendees will expect more from conference apps than just being a prompt for the room where their next session will be held. They’ll want the event technology to help them give speakers real-time feedback, contribute to live polling, and even matchmake to pair them up with mentors and new contacts.

After supporting all sorts of virtual events—from major industry conferences to massive alumni events for universities and even weddings, Social hour has learned that improving the experience is based on five major elements:

  1. Limited number of participants based on size of room. A memorable conversation is always balanced and spirited, and to achieve this, the size of the group needs to be limited, allowing a conversation to flow naturally. 
  2. An equitable talk-to-listen ratio to help avoid listening fatigue. You can make the talk-to-listen ratio better through smaller, more focused rooms and the use of analytics. It’s ideal to provide speaker stats, so that everyone in a room can see how long they’ve been speaking relative to their peers. This promotes social accountability and awareness for a more mutually engaging conversation.
  3. Attendee choice. Allowing attendees to choose how to navigate the virtual space and take breaks at their leisure gives them more energy and keeps them engaged. 
  4. Metrics and analytics. Data should be used to make virtual events better and more engaging over time. This includes surveying attendees before, during and after your event.
  5. Engagement. When we think about what makes hybrid events successful, it’s essential for event planners to focus on the virtual aspect as much as the in-person experience. If you try to bolt a virtual event onto the in-person event, the virtual attendees will typically get the short end of the stick and suffer through a bad experience. If you are planning a virtual conference or trade show, consider how you can use technology to re-create the in-person experiences that attendees find the most valuable (i.e., meeting and engaging with other people). Be sure you enable virtual attendees to interact with speakers, network with industry vendors and engage with industry colleagues.

In the end, a virtual or hybrid event that is designed around human connection above all else will be the most successful. Rather than hours of video that attendees passively consume, it must be inspiring, thoughtfully designed and at least partially interactive for everyone involved. No one goes to in-person events just for the content. They go for the human connection. 


Don’t miss any event-related news: Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter HERE and engage with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram!

Add new comment

Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact