How to Host a Hybrid Event
Hybrid events are fast becoming the most popular choice for event organizers. Hybrid events work for almost any kind of event, including conferences, trade shows, workshops, town halls, training and onboarding events, celebrations, product launches, expos, and more.
Are you ready to host a successful hybrid event? This detailed guide will help answer all of your questions on hybrid events as you plan and host the best event possible.
What is a hybrid event?
A hybrid event mixes elements of virtual events and in-person events, for a unique, affordable, and effective blend of both. Hybrid events can be hosted in person or live streamed online, and can have onsite attendees, online attendees, or both kinds of participants.
A few examples of hybrid events:
- A conference with in-person presenters, and all virtual participants
- A panel of virtual keynote speakers with a small live audience and many virtual participants
- An in-person audience with an in-person host and virtual presenters
What are the benefits of hybrid events?
Hybrid events have become an increasingly popular event option for enterprises in every industry, as these unique events offer the advantages of both virtual and in-person events.
Hybrid events offer a multitude of benefits for hosts and attendees alike, including:
- Amplify and diversify your message – hybrid events allow for a single event to include a unique mix of presentations, panels, Q&As, keynotes, breakout sessions, icebreakers, networking sessions, and more. Amplify and diversify your messaging and content delivery.
- Increase attendance – with hybrid events, anyone with an Internet connection can attend.
- Create connections – hybrid events give virtual participants the chance to meet one another, mingle, and form relationships.
- Affordability – hybrid events save hosts from the costs of location rental, attendee transportation, food, energy demands, and other costs.
- Increased visibility into audience engagement – hybrid events allow for the collection of data and analytics on attendees, so hosts can easily assess audience participation, engagement, and areas for improvement the next go around.
What are the key components of a successful hybrid event?
The recipe for a successful hybrid event includes clear objectives, thoughtfully planned logistics, an engaging agenda, and a reliable, secure, and easy-to-use live streaming and video-on-demand platform.
To start, a successful hybrid event first centers on the question, what is the goal of the event? By deciding on the main objectives of your hybrid event, you’ll gain a clear picture into everything from the types of sessions to host to the key speakers to invite.
Next, once you have a clear list of objectives for the event, you can move on to the logistics of the hybrid event or the who, what, where, when, and how? For your event, be sure to consider the optimal date, time of day, and event length. Focus on making the event as seamless to attend and engaging as possible to attendees, and try to avoid conflicts with other major events or meetings.
Third, for a successful hybrid event, you need an interactive agenda that will ensure your key content is delivered and audience members are engaged throughout the event. To create a successful agenda, think about what messaging, or information must be delivered and then consider the most engaging way to do this. What kind of experience do you want your event attendees to have? What key takeaways must attendees leave the event with?
Finally, perhaps one of the most important but often overlooked pieces to the hybrid event success recipe is the live streaming and video on-demand platform you choose for the event.
Choosing the right live streaming and VOD platform
The recent boom of live streaming and VOD platforms has made more hybrid events possible. However, not all live streaming and VOD platforms are created equal. In order to choose the best live streaming and VOD platform to host your hybrid event, be sure to assess your live streaming solution in terms of five components: latency, reliability, security, engagement, and user-friendliness.
Adaptive Quality of Experience (QoE)
First, a great live streaming platform must offer superior streaming picture quality, delivered adaptively and reliably. Everyone’s attended a hybrid event where feedback delays, glitches, or blurry visuals muddle comprehension, create confusion and detract from the experience.
To skip over this problem, when choosing a live streaming platform for your hybrid event, be sure to seek out a platform that offers adaptable video quality delivery, and measurable quality of experience. This will ensure a clear picture and reduce the possibility of buffering, which will negatively impact the user experience.
Another important feature to consider when it comes to choosing your live streaming platform for your hybrid event? Reliability. Seek out a product with redundant ingests at every stage with automatic failovers so your event never goes down, and your videos are always reachable.
Additionally, Dual DNS providers create backup networks for your stream, and a Multi CDN (content delivery network) combines multiple CDN providers into a single global network. Finally, be sure to see if the live-streaming platform offers troubleshooting or streaming staff support during a stream to help smooth out any showtime snags.
Third, when choosing a live-streaming platform for your hybrid event, make sure to consider the security capabilities of the product. Whether you’re sharing sensitive or timely information or want to ensure participant information will be protected, a platform’s security is of the utmost importance.
Seek out a product that is externally audited and is certified to the ISO/IEC27001 (ISO 27001) 2013 Information Security Management System and/or SOC 2 Type 2 standard(s). Another factor to look for is platforms that offer multiple levels of privacy protection, like Single Sign-On and Viewer Management (open-registration or whitelisting viewers), to protect user information.
The goal of a hybrid event is always to deliver useful, relevant content that drives participant engagement and interaction. While your content is the true source of engagement, your live streaming platform can offer features that encourage audience interaction, like:
- Embeddable chat box – allow participants to chat with each other and ask questions during the event
- Ask questions – tools for participants to ask (and see their) questions or respond to a presenter
- Live Highlight Clips – create video clips of key sections of the live stream while live and share or embed these highlight clips independently of the main live stream.
- Live DVR Rewind – help late participants catch up with a rewind function
Finally, one more factor to consider when choosing a live streaming platform for your hybrid event is the user-friendliness of the platform. Running a live-streaming hybrid event can be extremely stressful for operators.
An easy-to-operate live streaming platform should grant the stream operator full control of the streaming event, including monitoring the live stream, security, transcoding, instant video archives, real-time stats, and access control. This control gives the operator confidence that the hybrid event can go off without a hitch.
In addition, consider investing in a live-streaming platform that offers support during the event. That way, if a problem does arise, you (or your host) can rest assured it won’t take away from your event.
The future of hybrid events
As we continue to transition to more remote work, and digital technology makes it easier than ever to connect with colleagues and friends around the globe, the hybrid event will continue to rise in popularity.
If you’re ready to host a hybrid event, it’s time to consider your live streaming and video-on-demand platform partner.
StreamShark is used by the world’s leading social media platforms, metaverse, and eCommerce organizations as a trusted Video on Demand and live event platform. StreamShark helps users efficiently and reliably manage their live streams, Video on Demand, and enterprise communications.
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