Shared Experiences Are Back: Hybrid Event Ideas
Shared By Michael Itkoff
While 2020 saw the cancellation of most in-person events, 2021 is seeing an explosion of interest in events that offer valuable programming for both in-person audiences as well as those that want to tune-in remotely. Marketers are predicting that the future of events will be a hybrid of online and in-person - the world of either is behind us. (Digiday 2021)
Here are a few different ways that your event or conference can take advantage of new technologies to create a successful hybrid event.
Both remote and in-person attendees need to receive proper credentials in order to gain access to different event components. This approach to audience management helps to incentivize higher tiers of engagement.
When planning a hybrid event, consider utilizing smart badges which can be integrated seamlessly with in-app profiles, preferences, settings, and status indicators. Equipped with features like touch reactivity, and color attendee preferences and status to bridge the gap in a variety of ways. They also allow the audience in a session to convey sentiment or interest during a keynote session, or showcasing status for networking preferences during social events (i.e., green means looking for new opportunities, orange means open to talk shop). When these simple indicators are seamlessly integrated into event schedules and experiences, they can become natural icebreakers and powerful web tools.
Physical portals equipped with streaming technology can enable remote attendees to teleport into strategically placed locations around the venue, with live audio and visual presence. These help to bridge the gap through strategic timing and placement—for example, a livestream of remote attendees could be set up in portals at the entrance to welcome and greet physical attendees as they arrive. Throughout the week, these portals provide the ability for virtual and in person attendees to talk face to face in a more casual and accessible manner. Integrated features, such as the ability for in person attendees to tap their smart badge to share credentials with their virtual comrades, can add efficiency and ease to the connection. The view of, and from, the portal also provides a sense of scale for the magnitude of attendance to all parties involved.
LIVE EVENT CHAT AND REACTION STREAM
A live event chat stream allows remote and face-to-face guests to discuss speakers and topics before and after the ( meeting or main event ), visually presenting other people with similar reactions to stimulate conversations and network connections.
Live crowd reactions—in the form of emojis, custom icons or even speaker questions —could appear in the session visuals during presentations. These playful and dynamic animations could appear in real time in both the virtual viewport and on the large screen accompanying the main stages. This animated activity could then become a barometer of audience sentiment and engagement during the sessions to show how the crowd is feeling and allow all participants to get a sense of the energy present—whether they are in the same room or not. In addition, people with similar reactions could be notified about their shared interests with other attendees to help facilitate networking after the session. Crowd reactions could be shared quickly and easily through the online platform, while in person attendees could leverage either the app or “click” features on digitally enhanced badges to convey interest or sentiment.
The audience feedback and sentiment data generated during live meetings can be processed and displayed to obtain additional ROE. Cumulative data from each day will reveal trends and insights that can act as conversation starters and conference takeaways in their own right. For example, daily features—such as: “most voted for audience question,” “Top 5 most common phrases that appeared in today’s discussion comments,” or a video clip of the day’s “hottest moment” as measured by audience reactions—could be displayed on a giant interactive “wall” hosted on-site, and reflected on the digital platform. It’s information would act as both a daily recap and an indicator of “what’s hot” surfacing information that attendee’s could utilize, discuss, or even share with their network on LinkedIn or other social platforms.
Facilitate an elite experience for VIP attendees by leveraging technology to surface novel in-app features and transform physical environments in a manner that generates buzz. These same features and upgrades can also capitalize on networking opportunities with power players, award winners and other VIP’s, or empower VIP’s to promote themselves and increase their own visibility by hosting digital fireside chats, panel discussions, or having their questions and comments given priority in the chat stream.
VIRTUAL GOODIE BAGS
Every event needs to add some extracurriculars to keep the audience feeling stimulated and refreshed. Wine, whiskey, or chocolate tasting sessions can be just the ticket! Remote attendees could join in-person tasting sessions if they are sent goodie bags in advance that they can sample along with the host.
There are an increasing number of technology solutions helping usher in the world of hybrid events. Now is the time to explore and invest in the best and most appropriate ways to further leverage your in person conference or event. More than 60% of SMBs and enterprise businesses have hybrid events in their portfolio (Markletic 2021).
Don’t get left behind!