Hybrid events come with a higher risk as compared to purely virtual or in-person events. This happens primarily due to the amalgamation of the virtual event model along with the in-person event model.
Key Critical Points
- Organizers face the challenge of catering to both – virtual attendees and in-person attendees at the same time. According to a recent report by markletic, 71% of event organizers say connecting to both audiences is a big challenge in a hybrid event. Managing the short attention span of virtual attendees and keeping the session tangible for the in-person attendees simultaneously is no easy task.
- The post-COVID situation brings an added responsibility of ensuring social distancing and adherence to rigid safety protocols at the venue. Sanitization stations, socially distanced seating arrangement, safety checks of the staff are some elements of this aspect.
Organizers have to keep themselves aware of any possible risks when organizing or hosting such events. To deal with the above challenges and others, some critical factors must be considered.
Here are eight integral factors you must consider to minimize the risk at your hybrid events:
1. Understand both aspects of your hybrid event
Meeting the expectations of in-person attendees and the attendees who will be joining you virtually is vital. You have to understand both the attendees in a way that allows you to create a seamless event program and boost audience involvement throughout the event.
While having a suitable venue is essential for a hybrid event, utilizing advanced technology like high-quality speakers, good quality display, microphones, good cameras, and recording equipment is crucial too. This cannot be ignored as a mammoth 67% of event organizers have an opinion that they face difficulty in using the technology during their hybrid event.
2. Content Preparation for your Hybrid Event
Prepare a detailed content plan with the speaker names adjacent to it. Have a strict review of the content and how the content will be delivered – by virtual speakers or in-person speakers. And how it can be made most effective for both audiences at the same time. If possible, you must also conduct a dry-run of the entire event.
3. Prior clarity on admission policy
Since it is a hybrid event, you would expect many people to attend your event in person. But what if the number of attendees exceeds the expected count? Do you have sufficient arrangements for that?
You may want to know the number of attendees much in advance so that you can be prepared for any unwanted situation. You must be clear about the number of attendees, whether 50 or 250. Needless to say, this will also play a crucial role in understanding the headcount for any in-event games, interactive activities, seating, and refreshment arrangements at the venue.
4. Keep Covid precautions in place
Since it is the pandemic era, you may want to ask your audience to show proof of being vaccinated or being covid-free. Especially if you have attendees from other cities or countries, it can be a crucial action.
A vaccine certificate or a recent RT-PCR test report can do the trick. It would be best if you also had a plan ready in case somebody tests positive once suspected. It is widely known that getting vaccinated doesn’t make a person 100% safe from the infection, and therefore it is vital that you create an environment where all your attendees feel safe and secure.
5. A backup plan is a must
Even if you are experienced in backup with in-person events, you may have to prepare much more when organizing a hybrid event. For example, if remote speakers will be LIVE via a web link, you should also have plan B if plan A fails due to a connectivity issue at their end or your end!
Similarly, an in-person speaker who will address the attendees must be audible and visible to the virtual attendees. If that doesn’t work at the time of the event – the backup plan can be rolled out. Having a backup plan for emergencies such as a fire breakout should be addressed too. There should be a detailed evacuation plan displayed for the in-person audience in case of such a situation.
6. Plan in advance for people with a physical disability
Since you’re expecting virtual and in-person attendees, you need to make a practical plan for those who might be sight impaired or suffer from hearing problems. It would be best to have subtitles ready for those with hearing issues and also something for the sight-impaired because they too are a part of your attendees – whether in-person or virtual! Similarly, your venue and restrooms should have enough wheelchair accessibility to accommodate specially-abled people.
7. Address concerns regarding data security
It becomes imperative for you to collect and preserve the contact details of the people who attend your event. This will help in case of any breach that may happen at the event. You will have personal information of the attendees to contact, confront and complain against them depending on the severity of the breach. You can limit the usage of mobile phones or recording devices during your event. Similarly, even your virtual attendees should be prohibited from recording the session to avoid any data leak.
Choosing a reliable virtual event platform with security features and moderation/admin rights can also help you protect your data and event confidentiality.
8. Be ready with a crisis communication plan
When organizing the hybrid event, you need to prepare a crisis communication plan to deal with unforeseen circumstances. You must know the way you are going to communicate in case any crisis arises during the event.
The crisis communication plan must include the contacts of technical experts (screen, sound, internet, recording), venue manager, catering service manager, virtual event platform manager, staging and seating agency, among others.
Hybrid events are full of challenges and risks, but then again, which event is not? With the growing popularity of hybrid events, it is becoming more and more crucial to choose the right virtual event platform as your partner. With FLOOR, an innovative virtual event platform powered by 10times, you not only get the best seamless hybrid event experience, but you can also list, market, and monetize your hybrid event without a hassle. With the right virtual event platform, you will not have to worry about the factors listed above. Thorough planning and the perfect platform can make your work easy and help you organize a successful hybrid event!