A hybrid event caters to two groups of attendees. The first group is made up of those who physically attend your event. The second group is virtual attendees who participate online, such as Facebook Live.

Value of Hybrid Events

The added value of hybrid events to your company is two-fold. The first is the obvious increase in revenue. The second benefit is more people participating and recommending your events to friends, family and colleagues.

Including live streaming for your event will create higher social media visibility and potentially increase your number of followers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. By being able to reach a larger audience at a distance, your event could literally become global.

Avoid Hybrid Event Pitfalls by Incentivizing

Simply adding online access to your event doesn’t ensure your hybrid event will be successful. There’s always the risk that people who would ordinarily attend in-person might decide to simply go virtual. To avoid creating a two-edged sword that leaves physical attendance lacking, you want to incentivize attendees appropriately.

Event Swag

Gift bags are a great way to incentivize attendees. The gifts should reflect each form of attendance, such as physical gifts and virtual gifts. In-person attendees should receive both gift bags for an added bonus to attending in-person.

Gift Incentives for In-Person Attendees

Some event swag you can include:

  • Free drink ticket(s).
  • VIP access to special workshops or galas that virtual attendees don’t have access.
  • Books and/or booklets related to your event topic.
  • A box of chocolates or bag of candies that follow the theme of your event.
  • Adult coloring books are often enjoyable and might be a fun gift for paint and sip attendees.
  • Laminated cue cards featuring cooking measurements, escape room tips and techniques, etc.
  • A packet of herb or vegetable seeds for a cooking event.
  • Event Manager Blog suggests including retro candies that aren’t everyday choices to add a bit of distinction to your gifting.
  • Encourage attendees to visit vendors by having vendors give their own gift bags or at least one item.

Gift Incentives for Virtual Attendees

You’ll want to offer a different set of incentives to online attendees. Some items to include in your virtual swag:

  • eBooks related to your event.
  • E-gift cards to Amazon or a specific industry store.
  • URLs and codes to vendors’ gifts.
  • Discount coupon for next event.
  • Companion discount for next event.

Networking Opportunities for All Attendees

Remind attendees that one value of attending in-person is the opportunity to network. A social setting, such as an event luncheon, dinner or party is the ideal place to build professional relationships.

Don’t leave out your virtual attendees. Offer them ways to network with fellow virtual attendees via your live streaming choice. Offer them the ability to post comments and carry on conversations during and after each live stream.

Have a moderator available for live streaming in case there are questions. A moderator can connect with your virtual attendees. This allows you to offer additional information about a workshop, speaker or your company.

Avoid Technical Issues when Live Streaming

Technical difficulties will destroy the virtual part of your hybrid event. Designate someone in your company to oversee this part of your event. Ideally, choose someone technologically savvy. Some preparatory things to do include:

  • Select a reliable webcast provider for your live streaming.
  • Get clear answers to your questions about the provider’s capabilities.
  • Have a test run prior to your event so your company representative and moderator are comfortable with the process.
  • Have a backup plan and a backup plan for the first backup plan.
  • Allow 20-30 minute streaming blocks.

What to Include in Virtual Attendance

Let virtual attendees know what they will and will not have access to during your event. This can also be a great incentive for in-person attendance. For example, if your event includes luncheons, dinners and a party, virtual attendees can be excluded from these. Some entertainers don’t allow live streaming of their performances due to copyright infringement concerns. So, most virtual attendees will miss out of any entertainment you have, another great incentive for in-person attendance.

Making Your Hybrid Event Successful

Stepping out of your normal comfort zone when holding an event can be risky. However, if you pay close attention to these specific issues, you can ensure you’ll host an ideal hybrid event.