Over the past couple of years, event organizers and planners have become very familiar with hybrid events and the logistics behind producing them. More and more event organizers are adopting the hybrid approach to expand their reach by creating a virtual option for the live event. It is an increasingly popular option among attendees as it is an affordable and easy way to attend an event, and still engage with speakers, sponsors and educational content.
Just because hybrid events have entered the mainstream doesn’t mean they are being produced to the same high-quality and engaging standards found at in-person events. Attendee expectations of virtual events are rising, and planners need to be more intentional about creating engaging experiences, especially when an event adds a virtual option on short notice.
Choosing the Right Partner
Organizing a hybrid event on a tight schedule can be an enormous challenge – even for event pros – which makes choosing the right video team a critical component of the planning process. That’s where we step in.
With over 15 years of experience capturing, managing and streaming content for events, conferences and on-demand distribution channels, we’re used to planning and delivering easily accessible, high-quality video content on the turn of a dime.
Our Video Solutions team manages 300+ events and captures 8M+ hours of video in an average year, earning us the trust of leading organizations in sectors from higher education and healthcare to financial services. We pioneered engaging, on-demand and live video for organizations long before most of the world had ever heard of a “hybrid event” and we know the ins, outs and challenges of planning and executing a successful event from start to finish.
To help kickstart your next hybrid event planning session (especially if you’re working on a tight timeline), take a look at the following tips from seasoned members of our team.
3 Steps to Planning a Hybrid Event on a Short Timeline
1. Get everyone in the same room right away.
When you’re orchestrating a hybrid event on a short timeline, there is no time for miscommunication. This is why it’s important to gather all relevant stakeholders for an initial meeting to establish clear expectations and ownership of key deliverables.
Along the same lines, it’s a good idea to involve your video or hybrid partner as early as possible. Event planners have a lot on their plate and are rightly focused on the live event, the physical space or facility, the attendees, travel logistics, etc. But there are major benefits to treating the video or hybrid elements of your event as a forethought rather than an afterthought. Getting your partners on board early will save time, money and stress – and it will expand the universe of realistic deliverables for an engaging virtual attendee experience.
2. Establish realistic expectations.
Once you have everyone in the same room, it’s important to be realistic and set the bar in the right place. As you discuss hybrid event goals, you can think in terms of “live vs virtual trade-offs”, “feature quantity vs. quality” or “experience must-haves vs. nice-to-haves”. But our team has found that “Describe what a successful digital attendee experience looks like” is often an effective way to begin the discussion.
Whatever framework you use, it’s important to structure the discussion so that everyone is focused on the most important goals of the event, which usually include (1) the quality and accessibility of the content, and (2) the level of audience engagement with that content.
3. Identify milestones and deadlines to develop a planning schedule.
On a tight schedule, one of the best ways to structure a hybrid event plan is to identify important milestones and deadlines. List out the fixed logistic deadlines first and build out the rest of the preparation schedule around them.
For instance, if specific video equipment needs to be shipped to the event location to support a livestream, there are time-based variables that cannot be controlled or altered – equipment availability, packing and shipping lead time, receiving logistics, setup procedures, etc. Plus, the team may need to source local technicians for additional on-site support, and the process for identifying the right partner and booking services can be difficult to expedite.
Once the fixed logistic deadlines for equipment and staffing are accounted in the plan, layer in other milestones and deadlines for the development of the virtual attendee experience, like microsites or virtual exhibit halls. Remember to build in extra time to test all interactive features to ensure they are working properly before the event.
We hope these tips are useful the next time you’re planning a hybrid event on a short timeline! If you have questions or need additional guidance, contact us and schedule a call to discuss your event in more detail. We’ve been doing this for years and can help you create a high-quality, interactive hybrid event on even the tightest of timelines.