More and more conference planners are throwing away their paper schedules and maps in exchange for apps that offer access to dynamic content customized for each attendee. The hybrid conference trend has gained momentum as the world continues to adjust to the effects of the pandemic so much so that it cannot be called a trend anymore.
It’s all for the better as a lot of businesses keep adhering to hybrid workplace solutions in the interest of ensuring employees remain happy. Implementing mobile technologies into hybrid events enhances communication between attendees, speakers, sponsors, staff, volunteers, and anyone else who has a role to play at that conference.
This makes it fast and easy for them to connect, share information about what they’re doing/seeing/experiencing at the event and gain access to all the content generated at that time.
What is a Hybrid Conference?
A hybrid conference evolves the traditional in-person or face-to-face meetings that most people would associate with the word “conference.” A hybrid conference includes some aspects of a conventional event – such as speakers, breakout sessions, and workshops. However, it takes on characteristics of online events with the inclusion of live streaming, video conferencing tools and/or social media.
The most significant benefit of a hybrid conference is that you can bring together people from different locations without having them all fly into one physical place. This can help organizations save thousands of dollars by not requiring each attendee to fly across the country or internationally. It also reduces the time it takes for attendees to travel, which means they will be more likely to want to come back again in the future.
Another massive bonus for planning a hybrid conference over an in-person event is that you don’t have to worry about how much space there is, accommodations for food and beverages, or even finding enough electrical outlets. Because everyone participating remotely can offer their opinions unobtrusively during an online session, you get input from many individuals without facing the common issues of traditional conferences.
What are the Benefits of Hybrid Events?
As mentioned above, hybrid events are much more cost-efficient than similar face-to-face conferences. However, they offer so much more than just money savings for businesses.
Better Engagement With Content
At a traditional conference, you must rely on PowerPoint slides or flipcharts to relay information to attendees. If you want your audience to be actively engaged, you have to ensure that everyone has enough time to catch up to the data shown on each slide.
With a hybrid event, all content (including video files, PDFs, and other documents) can be uploaded directly onto an online event page where anyone can access it at their convenience.
You can focus on getting the important content out there, and your attendees will be able to engage with it however they want.
Better Engagement After The Event
Since everyone who participates in a hybrid conference has access to everything said and the supporting resources, conversations can continue long after attendees log off. This should aid in you in better establishing connections, building relationships and furthering your business goals.
At an in-person conference, each speaker has a relatively short time to cover everything they want. This may mean that essential points may be left out or only briefly touched upon. Even if you have just a few speakers giving presentations, there is a limit on how much content can be covered.
A hybrid event allows every session attendee to give their feedback from the background or otherwise. When done right, it can lead to more useful information being shared by people with diverse insights into the matter being discussed.
The one major con when it comes to hybrid conferences is that the speaker may not be able to accurately gauge if and when they’ve lost the attention of their audience.
3 Essential Tools For Managing a Hybrid Conference
Although any online web conferencing solution will allow your attendees to log in from anywhere around the world and access all the content shared on-screen during the presentation, you will need some tools to ensure that everything runs smoothly behind the scenes.
Here are the three essential tools every hybrid event organizer needs:
Online Registration Tool
Free online registration services will help you source attendee information to send them personalized invitations. If you want to conduct a successful event, it helps if your attendees know what they’re signing up for.
Let them know how much time is allocated for breaks, which sessions they should prioritize, and other details (such as finding session recordings) by inserting this information into automated emails sent through an online service.
The attendees might share files throughout the conference. Some may even bring presentations or materials you didn’t think you’d need. It’s essential to make sure that sharing material is easy, everyone stays on the same page and your event doesn’t get bogged down by unnecessary email exchanges.
You should also keep track of all requests for material as well as any action items to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
Meeting Management Tools
When running a hybrid conference, it can be challenging to determine who is attending sessions since every person will have their own agenda. Keeping track of which speakers are doing presentations and their needs can also be challenging because there may not be enough time between presentations for you to meet with every speaker individually.
Hybrid event management tools help you schedule everything into one calendar (such as Google Calendar or iCalendar) to know that sessions invitees want to attend are happening when they are supposed to.
Hybrid conferences have numerous benefits over traditional in-person events, but they also come with their own set of tools and best practices you should know about when organizing your event.