The Hybrid Event Toolkit: 5 Steps to Making Your Activation a Success

September 23, 2021

John D’Adamo

John D’Adamo is head of U.S. sales at VenuIQBased in Florida, he boasts more than 10 years of experience within the events industry and has built long-standing relationships with some of the world’s most respected brands. His appointment and goal of establishing VenuIQ’s American entity mark a pivotal moment in the company’s development.

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the events industry was forced to quickly pivot to an alternative format incorporating video and networking software, and virtual events soon became the norm to keep the industry moving safely.  

Now that venues have reopened, and a pathway to normality is forming, hybrid will continue to play a crucial role in allowing organizers to combine the best features of virtual, such as global accessibility, with the elements that make live events so popular, like networking. 

Try using this toolkit to help you navigate and make the most of this new era of the events industry. 

1.     Refine your ecosystem

The attendee experience is vital for ensuring attendees are satisfied and excited to return should your event run again. Therefore, after choosing an appropriate event technology provider, building a relationship with them to make sure you are getting the most out of the services they provide is key to creating an easy-to-use and consistent ecosystem. 

Using the same vendor for as many aspects of your event as possible is a great way to create fluidity across live and virtual components and helps make the experience as seamless as possible for those attending.  

Working in true partnership with your event tech company will move the focus from disjointed apps, websites and video software to the content that is provided across one, unified software provider. 

2.     Take advantage of AI

Often seen as a buzzword in today’s tech landscape, Artificial Intelligence has already proven its worth to event organizers looking to run winning hybrid events. 

AI is currently being utilized to improve efficiency across the events industry, and we are set to see greater and deeper integration in line with the increased reliance on the live aspect of events. For example, U.S. AI software company Celayix uses machine learning to create non-conflicting and effective schedules that ensure the most efficient teams are using their time in the best way possible. For events, this can mean sending the relevant delegates to the most influential talks and presentations without impeding work or leisure time. 

Giving as many tasks to AI as possible will allow you to focus on content to create the best attendee experience possible. From automatic scheduling and attendee management to live dictation for subtitles and translation, integrating AI now is a futureproof way to increase operational efficiency as the tools become more refined and readily available.  

3.     Restructure your budget

When spreading your event budget across both live and virtual platforms, traditional events management finance models can quickly become dated. Therefore, take the time to restructure your budget to ensure event attendees—both virtual and live—benefit.

For example, adjusting your catering budget to accommodate for fewer attendees could give you scope to further invest in video conferencing software without detracting from the experience for those attending in-person. There is a range of software available to support these decisions, including the intuitive Mint mobile app. Managing and tweaking your budget on something like Mint in accordance with external factors will allow for more effective and managed spending.

With the event industry recovering from an unprecedented period of uncertainty, return on investment is key, and sensible and measured budget adjustments can ensure more tickets are sold, helping you recoup money lost throughout the pandemic. 

4.     Structure your event to benefit attendees

Being considerate of both virtual and in-person attendees is vital in making them feel comfortable, welcomed and valued, and the structure of your event will dictate whether both parties feel like a part of the event or merely an onlooker.  

Implementing virtual Q&A software to allow all attendees to engage, as well as holding smaller, intimate in-person seminars, can create an inclusive atmosphere that leaves all attendees satisfied with the return on their ticket purchase.  

Proving the worth of your event with a structure that benefits all is key to encouraging them to return year-on-year and converting virtual attendees to live when the time comes.  

5.     Invest in interactivity

As already mentioned, the balancing act of catering for both virtual and live attendees is key for creating a truly beneficial experience that delivers value for the businesses paying for their employees to attend.  

There is no doubt that the virtual experience is different from live, but it also opens up unique opportunities for those who choose to attend remotely. 

For example, a virtual mixology evening session from a vendor such as Cocktail Curations can extend the delegate experience beyond the event venue and leave a lasting impression of being more than just an event and instead, an experience. Alternatively, wellness sessions can give virtual and in-person attendees the chance to take some time to themselves and slow down among the busy events schedule while demonstrating your commitment to self-care for your guests.

Interactive sessions are proven to increase engagement levels among all event audiences and can also make your activation stand out against the hundreds of events returning across the country. 

The Bottom Line

With fewer live attendees expected at events for the foreseeable future, smaller venues, less catering and skeleton on-site staff can all allow you to save money, which you can reinvest into enriching a hybrid event and making it truly unforgettable.

By following the above steps and adapting with the changing landscape, you can create an engaging and memorable event experience for all, no matter how they choose to attend.    

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