Is still a common kneejerk reaction for planners to shrug and tremble when faced with the simple concept of the hybrid event. The thought process is similar to that of a casual viewer appearing at a Eurovision performance. It looks beautiful and stands out, yes. Fireworks are nice, for sure. But what to do with it?
Well, you can do as much as you want! One of the best parts of virtuals was how it allowed us to break down barriers like language and accessibility that we just couldn’t do before. But the hybrid is even better because it adds all the clean and genuine aspects of live events onto it. And once you break it down into pieces instead of looking at it as a whole empty, the concept of a hybrid event becomes less and less overwhelming.
One of the best tips we can give you to immerse your feet in these unsafe and yet exciting waters is to take a hybrid event for a test. Summer is finally here, the spread of vaccinations is looking promising and small amounts of people can come together. So why not plan a mini-hybrid event, small capacity, that allows you to fully understand the mechanics behind it? Let’s dive into why this might be the strategy you were looking for.
Lots of Cool and Unique Places in Nature
Traditionally, live events were organized in places such as hotels and large convention centers. Nothing wrong with that! We are sure many of you look forward to seeing this type of event again and connecting with old acquaintances.
But what about those independent places you have always dreamed of? Those on the beach, on the planetarium, or in the heart of a historic city center? Maybe there was a time when these smaller places were not an option. But now that the number of attendees has to stay relatively small in order to ensure safety and abide by the rules, they are the ideal choice!
You can allow creativity to be the catalyst for your first hybrid event by hosting the physical part in one or several of these unique and enjoyable outdoor locations. It is very easy to make sure that all precautions are taken, in terms of health and offers your personal attendees the opportunity to be part of a new experience.
People Will be More Forgiving
By March 2020, the whole industry was doing the impossible – learning how to plan and execute events again. And in the early stages of the virtual, attendees were extremely forgiving. We were all in this together, in an effort to stay afloat while also providing people with a way to stay connected, learn and still be part of something bigger.
You can easily expect the same with the first hybrid events you plan – especially small ones. Attendees personally are simply happy to be there, happy to participate once again in a live gathering. And the virtual audience will be more than excited that they still have the opportunity to attend events they want and find value without being turned down because they prefer to stay home, are not comfortable or unable to be at the scene.
It’s only natural to have some hiccups and make some mistakes – heck, even seasoned planners run into issues during “normal” events. Do not shy away from planning a hybrid experience because you are afraid of what might go wrong. Instead, take into account the fact that attendees feel a little more forgiving than usual!
Start Understanding The Timing
We will delve deeper into the chronology of a hybrid event in future posts. But for now, if you decide to try out your hybrid event this summer, you will definitely be in a bit of a hurry. Thankfully, this kind of experience would be something on a small scale, essentially condensing what would be a bigger event in her baby version – just minus dirty diapers and midnight meals.
This will allow you to roughly understand the time behind all these moving parts. Hire your production partners as soon as possible and have them talk to you throughout the process – how long does it take to find a site or studio? Which platform would be ideal for distance participants? How can we bridge the gap between audiences?
Above all else, use this little experiment as a learning tool. Keep track of what a hybrid event requires from both parts – virtual and live – and how long it will take you to realize it if it were to take a bigger, more compelling, and demanding form.
A First Look at Cost and Budget
Similarly, use this test drive to get a broader understanding of costs. A hybrid event does not go exactly cheap, and while most planners seem to be aware of it, it is still a very loose concept. Why is it more expensive than a traditional live event? Where does most of the money go and why? What do you realize now that budgeting needs to be done that you did not even think about before planning this smaller event?
Once again, use every step of the way in planning as an opportunity to learn, grow, make mistakes, and understand what works and does not work with the hybrid. Working with the right partners will also help you understand cost allocation and what greater space for your future budgets will mean.
In Conclusion: When In Doubt, Test It Out!
We are finally living in a time of hope. At a time when good things finally seem to be coming our way. A time to learn and grow and make mistakes that will lead us to an even better place. Overall, this is the perfect opportunity for you to go ahead and dive slowly into the waters of hybrid events.
With the right partners by your side and an open mind, the summer of 2021 may be the time to understand the ways and means of hybrid and finally open the doors to an exciting new era of events. The old adage “if you never try, then you will never know” sounds truer than ever. Use this opportunity to get hybrids for a spin and you might just be amazed by the results!