Hybrid Conferences – What are they and what are the options?
100% Face to Face v. 100% Virtual. Hybrid Conferences sit somewhere in the middle
Covid-19 has been a game-changer for the live corporate events industry. Back in March 2020 we went from mainly face to face events to almost totally virtual overnight. Since then, with many bumps and false starts along the way as lockdown has eased, we have seen a slow and steady return to live face to face events (with all the necessary precautions). Virtual is here to stay, of course, but we have also seen the rise of Hybrid conferences and events. Indeed, we predicted in January 2021 that Hybrids would be the long term winner in the near future. We have found, however, that there is some confusion as to what exactly a hybrid event is, so in this article, our Managing Director, Ben Hull, explains all.
What is a Hybrid Event or Conference?
“Here at Bright Vision Events, we are delivering all 3 types of event: in person face to face, 100% remote events and hybrid conferences and events. We are finding that a lot of clients want the flexibility of a hybrid conference, but when we dig further into what support they need we are often met with blank faces and sometimes even, “well the boss wants a hybrid conference so here I am!”. So, we want to delve a little further and let you know what can and can’t be done and, in so doing, explain exactly what a hybrid event is.
Firstly, a definition:
‘A hybrid conference is defined as a gathering of people in-person as well as in a virtual environment. Hybrid conferences integrate on-ground live attendance and virtual attendees together. A hybrid conference is organized in a physical location with a virtual component attached to it. It enables attendees to attend a conference in-person or virtually.’
However, understanding this is just the start of things because the range of solutions available to deliver a hybrid event is huge and therefore so is the range of budgets! For that reason, it’s important that you know exactly what you want from a hybrid conference or event, and what your budget is. It’s all in the planning.”
Some key things to think about
“A hybrid event should always aim to offer a high-quality experience for both in-person and online attendees. Much of this is down to the detailed planning and skill of the production company in providing a platform and an experience that enables interaction and an immersive experience for all. Some key questions to ask are:
- How many guests are remote and how many are live?
- Does your content lend itself to both environments? If not, how can it be adapted to do so?
- Can I ensure I can take questions live from in the room and from delegates at home?
- Do you have presenters who can engage effectively with both sets of audience?
- Do you have a production company with the experience, expertise to ensure that the audio-visual equipment serves a dual purpose?”
What sort of Hybrid Conference or Event do you want?
“This is perhaps the most important decision, and budget comes into it. Hybrid events range between the following (and everything in between):
- At its simplest, a hybrid event only requires a single camera with a mixed audio feed into something as basic as Zoom or Teams that guests login to and watch. Of course, the experience in such cases for the audience is likewise basic, as neither of these platforms offers the level of flexibility and sophistication that many companies require but it serves a purpose.
- As professional corporate event producers, our hybrid events offer much more than the likes of Zoom and Teams. Our solutions always start with sending a small team to the site to provide full production support on whatever scale is required. We then professionally broadcast the live stream using a multi camera shoot that is hosted on a branded microsite within the Bright Vision Events Live platform for the virtual audience. This is backed with a full stage and set build supported with digital audio, moving lighting and video walls for the in-person delegates.
A hybrid event can fall anywhere between the above two parameters, and the choice is often driven by budget.“
Contact us about Hybrid Conferences and Events
“We remain convinced that a key part of live corporate events going forward will be hybrid, simply because people like face-to-face and there will be an expectation for clients to have a hybrid option for their attendees. I can see a business’s core teams attending the face-to-face event, with the remainder watching the stream live online.”