Updated Aug 10th, 2023 by Nicolas Zenker
With remote work being here to stay and an increasing number of people looking to attend events virtually, event organizers have to adapt to the changing landscape. However, some people still prefer in-person events, and many have returned to in-office work. So how do you balance these preferences and requirements while still putting on an awesome event?
Hybrid meeting technology is the answer. Hybrid meetings enable people to attend from anywhere in the world. There are benefits for organizers too. Read on to learn more.
Hybrid events are a combination of in-person events and virtual attendees through use of technology. The goal is to provide a similar experience for remote attendees to that of those at the venue. It allows people who are unable to physically attend the ability to participate nonetheless.
Organizers use a range of software and hardware to provide an enticing event for everyone. They use technology features such as live streaming, mobile apps, and live chat to engage attendees regardless of their location. For example, a speaker can take questions from the audience present at the venue or via the live chat for remote attendees.
Events can take a variety of forms and each of those event types have different needs from their technology. Organizers of business meetings should consider the best hybrid meeting technology.
It doesn’t stop with just the ability to host a hybrid meeting, quality microphones and speakers are needed to ensure good audio for all attendees. This is vital for attendees to hear everything that’s happening regardless of their location. Visuals are important, too, so decent cameras are required. Organizers need the right video conferencing platform to deliver not only hybrid meetings, but quality meetings for remote attendees.
The best use of hybrid meeting technology makes remote participants feel just as involved as in-person attendees. Monitors can be utilized to represent remote attendees at the venue. Large screens allow in-person attendees to better feel remote participants’ presence and remote attendees feel their presence is noted and appreciated.
Making use of an enterprise fax solution can also be beneficial for hybrid events. It can make it easy to send documents and forms to all attendees, whether they’re attending in-person or remotely.
One problem associated with traditional events is once it’s finished, the fun’s over. Hybrid meeting technology, like live streaming, usually has a recording feature so attendees can access it at a later date. This is great for those who wanted to attend but couldn’t attend in person or watch the stream live as well as those who attended but want to revisit a specific topic.
The recording is also a useful resource for attendees that wish to share part of the event with others, driving long-term engagement for the host. There may be some aspect of the event that may be of interest to a friend or colleague; perhaps they were particularly struck by a talk about automated testing. Rather than simply telling their colleague about it, attendees can show it to them.
People often come together at events to explore a shared interest and are hoping to share the experience with others. Even business meetings are, at some level, social occasions in addition to networking opportunities.
Hybrid events allow a larger community to participate than otherwise could. They can discuss events as they happen in live chat rooms allowing in-person attendees to also join the conversation via their mobile devices in real time. Later, all attendees can continue the discussion through official event channels or social media.
An unavoidable reality of traditional events is the need for people to travel. This is sometimes achieved through public transport but most typically by plane, train, or automobile. All of these transportation methods emit greenhouse gasses and other emissions that damage the environment. But as we know, events are so much more than just the transportation required to get there; once you’re at the event you have to feed people, cool the space, and often at larger events like conferences, companies hand out swag and pamphlets.
Fewer people need to travel to attend a hybrid event. Venues can be smaller, there are less mouths to feed, and less swag needs to be ordered. Thus, less waste is being produced. All of these somewhat small changes add up to a reduced environmental impact.
As environmental impact continues to be top of mind for many, you can mention your commitment to the environment in your event marketing.
People wishing to attend an event often have a lot to organize. Transportation, accommodation, and associated costs can be barriers to participation. Sometimes there may be aspects of their lives that take precedence. Perhaps they’re unable to get a babysitter or take time off from work. For remote workers, attending meetings in person can seriously disrupt their day.
Hybrid events represent a convenient way for people to attend; they remove many of the barriers that keep them from participating, and attendees can save time and money by joining in from the comfort of their home or office.
Hybrid events represent an opportunity to provide attendees with new unique experiences. And with the shift towards hybrid working in general, it makes sense that the event industry would follow a similar trend. Let’s explore some of the advantages of this approach.
Hybrid events offer a great deal of flexibility. You can allow attendees options thanks to hybrid meeting technology. They can be there in person. They can watch a live stream. How about something in between? With new VR advancements, attendees can get even closer to the feeling of being there.
Hybrid events and meeting also provide a platform for addressing and resolving conflict in the workplace, as both in-person and remote attendees can actively participate in discussions and problem-solving sessions. Hybrid events foster open communication and promote a sense of inclusivity, allowing diverse perspectives to be heard and considered.
Sometimes, things don’t go to plan. A disastrous incident may make it impossible for some people to attend. Bad weather, for example, may disrupt transportation or illness can strike without warning. This can cause cancellations of traditionally in-person events. With hybrid meetings, you have the flexibility to continue. Those affected can still attend, all they need is an internet connection and an appropriate device.
Hybrid events have a greater reach than in-person-only affairs. This is thanks to the hybrid style they employ. They can provide your event with a global reach, all attendees need is an internet connection.
You’ll need to adjust your marketing approach if you want to go international. If you’re a US-based organizer but want to reach a Canadian audience, creating a website with a .ca domain can broaden your reach. You can apply this strategy to any territory to which you’re marketing your event. Create content for the site that caters to that specific audience.
The costs can mount up when organizing traditional events. Venue hire, lighting, transportation, and catering can all be very expensive. Hybrid meeting technology can help you save on your budget. Fewer in-person attendees mean you need a smaller location. A smaller venue means less lighting and fewer people that need to be fed and watered.
Companies can further optimize their budget by leveraging advanced tools like ChatGPT to streamline their communication efforts. By integrating ChatGPT into their communication platforms, they can easily build email templates and other written content, ensuring effective and personalized communication with participants without incurring additional costs.
Thanks to hybrid meeting technology, this reduction in spending doesn’t come at the cost of reduced reach. Your event can still educate and entertain attendees from anywhere.
With the use of online tech and the greater reach it provides, you’ll be able to access a lot of data. You can gather key customer data in the event RSVP process and valuable feedback and learn from this feedback to improve future events. Let’s look at a hypothetical example; The audience may have responded well to that speaker discussing new marketing techniques. Consider expanding that part of the event.
This is especially useful when you’re first exploring hybrid meeting technology. It’ll give you the insight required to adjust the way you’re using it. You’ll see what works, what you can improve, and store that customer data for future events.
By providing attendees with virtual access to an event, you have an opportunity to boost attendee engagement. Speakers can take questions from those present, but also from virtual channels like live chat. Questions can also be collected throughout the meeting and answered at the end in a Q&A format. A larger pool of attendees means better questions. This makes for a more rewarding experience for everyone.
When you work on an event, you want people to respond to the content. You also want them to engage with each other and continue the conversation. Hybrid meeting technology gives the event life long after it’s over. That’s because everything is recorded; attendees can discuss their thoughts and refer back to those recordings.
Gamescom, held in Cologne, Germany, is the world’s biggest gaming trade fair. The shows were forced to go entirely virtual in 2020 and 2021. It made a comeback in 2022 but this time as a hybrid event.
Many of the presentations were live-streamed. Plus, they used digital queue management to help deal with the 265,000 attendees. For those unable to be there in person, there was a range of activities available. They could access them through the official Gamescom website. Participants that completed activities could unlock rewards from some of the exhibitors.
How do you go about organizing a hybrid event? The following step-by-step guide is a great place to start.
What live streaming platform suits your event (e.g., YouTube, Twitch, Discord)? Could a purpose-made app be beneficial to the event? Hybrid meeting technology also offers the advantage of integrating useful tools like an email lookup tool, which can help organizers efficiently manage and communicate with attendees, ensuring a seamless event experience for all.
Offer attendees the best of both worlds by making your next event a hybrid one. Hybrid meeting technology is more flexible, less costly, and increases engagement. Events are supposed to be social occasions. So don’t go online only. Digital technology makes it possible to combine everything you love about live events with a virtual twist.