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What hybrid events are and are not?

On April 28th 2021 the founder of Hybrid Event Center, Paul Cook, visited our webinar and we dived into the world of hybrid events. Hybrid is an effective way of producing your event but like any other method it has its complications. In this blog post we share the advantages and disadvantages of hybrid events. 

Everyone knows what physical events contain people meeting each other, enjoying beverages and eating together and communicating in person. Virtual events on the other hand happen online, where people do not need to travel away from their home and participants can join through their own devices. Hybrid events are a combination of these two, but how are they made? 

There are some great details to remember when planning hybrid events. You should not forget either of your audiences – events easily turn into broadcasts which are entertaining, but don’t for example activate the audience online. Either audience, live or virtual, should not feel that they are “the second audience”. That’s why the program should be designed for both audiences from the beginning. It is false thought that the program needs to be the exact same for everyone: the program needs to be customized to meet the needs of each audience group. 

Are hybrid events more difficult to organize? 

Hybrid events are not more difficult than physical or virtual events. However, there are a lot of little nuances to be aware of, like which camera is shooting your performer/speaker and possible time delays in audio-visual connections. If performers are focusing on the wrong camera or only in the live audience, virtual audience might feel like "outsiders". Other awkward situations that are results of audio-visual connections can be prevented with high quality internet connections and reliable equipment.

When there is online audience there should also be an online host. If something happens live, attendees sitting in the audience can see it with their own eyes and host can explain the delays. In case of hybrid event, it is crucial to explain the delays for virtual audience as well. Otherwise, the virtual audience will just sit and wait without a clue what is going on. Cook himself encourages organizers to hire a special virtual host so all the unnecessary fuss is to be avoided. 


The greatest advantages of hybrid events 

Cook emphasizes the great possibility that hybrid event offers for everyone to join the event. There are as many kind of attendees as there are events: someone is willing to be on the spot, whereas someone else prefers to avoid human contacts. Hybrid events with their virtual participants can also open your event to people abroad, which expands your dimension. 

There are multiple variations on how to host a hybrid event, so event organizers should not be afraid of them. In the first place, event can be created in one location: in one headquarter that includes all the streaming technology and performance in one place. In the second place, event can have a few or many locations. The headquarter can be located for example in Finland but the event might have hubs all over the world – or event don’t have a headquarter at all, but every hub is somehow in charge of the broadcast. 

Top takeaways:  

  • Take care of your program to be suitable for the execution – live audience can be treated differently than virtual audience and vice versa. 
  • Impress on performers the fact that there is an audience online as important as live audience – create interaction between them, too. 
  • Hybrid event can open your event to a whole new audience – you might reach new target groups from all over the world! 

The interesting webinar on the subject and all the great advantages of planning a hybrid event with Paul Cook are available on our website. To read more about Paul's thoughts, visit Hybrid Event Centre website and familiarize yourself with their blog posts, too. Are you interested in reading more about hybrid events and how they are changing the event industry? Check out our blog post Hybrid events are here to stay


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