It’s April 2021 and the world is a very different place than it was just over a year ago. With lockdowns and travel restrictions, the events industry, like many others, has had to adapt to new ways of working. Terms such as virtual and hybrid are now part of every event planner’s vocabulary and the two have helped in ensuring the industry continues to operate.

Now, as lockdown restrictions across England begin to ease and vaccines get rolled out across the globe, we’re getting closer and closer to those face to face interactions that we all crave. However, with little knowledge of how conferences and events will go ahead, hybrid events can provide an interim solution, or perhaps they will become part of this ‘new normal’.

Here are our thoughts on Hybrid events and what to consider when planning one.


What Are Hybrid Events?

First and foremost let’s start by explaining what we mean by hybrid.

Hybrid events comprise of two audiences: the in-person live event audience and the virtual online audience. Presenters at the event can be either live or virtual. Hybrid solutions allow for a live event to take place in one or maybe multiple venues, this is then broadcast to the remote attendees.


What’s the difference between Hybrid & Virtual?

As I mentioned previously both hybrid and virtual have become common in event conversations over the last year, but what’s the difference?

Simply, virtual events don’t have a live in-person audience. All attendees and presenters are remote.


Benefits of Hybrid Events

One of the major benefits of hybrid events is that the audience size is practically limitless; with live and remote attendees an event audience is no longer restricted by the venue size. The reach of the audience can also be far greater with attendees able to join from anywhere in the world. With a larger audience and further reach your messages will land with more people.

As attendees can join your event remotely there is less need to travel, which lowers the travel costs and its carbon footprint – which is better for the environment.


Top Tips When Planning A Hybrid Event


What Does Your Audience Require?

With so many new technologies it is easy to get overwhelmed and feel as though you want to incorporate everything into your event. However, before anything else you must understand the needs of your audience.

This is always one of the most important elements of any event and a hybrid event should be no different. Where hybrid events differ is that there’s dual responsibility for your live and virtual audience and you must give both equal thought and attention.

Once you understand what the needs of your audience are you can select the tools best suited for providing this.


The Venue

The usual venue checklist will still be needed when choosing your event venue, but there are now other aspects that you must consider.

Safety is at the forefront of everyone’s minds right now and you will need to think about this when hosting your hybrid event. It is quite likely that some sort of social distancing rules will need to be in place for your event, so you will need to consider these, as well as ensuring the venue is safe and secure – Take a look at our COVID-19 statement for information on COVID secure venues.

You will also need to consider the virtual audience. The location of speakers and cameras is vital to ensure virtual attendees get the most out of the event. The placement of cameras is just as important as the seating for your in-person attendees – both the camera viewing angle and sound should be clear.


Flexibility

With so many changes in restrictions in terms of lockdowns and travelling, event hosts need to ensure they are flexible and allow participants to change their plans. Its important to allow delegates to choose whether to attend in-person or virtually and allow them to change their choice if needed.

This flexibility should also run throughout the event, allowing attendees to choose which elements they would like to join and engage in. It’s important for the success of the event to provide the attendees with the ability to customise their experience.


Audience Interaction

Another important element of any event is the interaction and engagement of your audience. This is a big challenge of hybrid events as you have two audiences. It’s important to keep both audiences engaged throughout your event, to do this you must communicate seamlessly with them. One way to achieve this is to ensure the host takes questions from both the in-person and virtual audience equally. Question and polling functions can be used by the virtual audience.

Not only do you need both audiences to engage with the presenter, but you also need them to network between themselves. Ice breakers, networking games, public and private chat functions can all be used to achieve this. Incorporating meetups and private sessions allow for networking possibilities and as mentioned previously – the ability for attendees to customise their experience.


Practice

This is a critical step. Like with any event you need time to rehearse. For hybrid events your presenters need to practice talking to a live audience and a camera simultaneously, this is especially important if they have never participated in this type of event before.

It’s a good idea to rehearse in the same environment as the real event, so use the same venue, lighting, setup etc. This gives the presenters an opportunity to practice engaging with both audiences and it allows your technical team to test the equipment.

As with any technology, there is always possibilities for it to falter. Doing run throughs and rehearsals of the event provide an opportunity to find any potential problems and time to fix them before your actual event. You can never test your equipment enough, so allocating time to rehearse and test equipment is critical for a smooth-running event.


Venues with Hybrid Solutions in Leicester & Leicestershire

Across Leicester & Leicestershire we have several fantastic venues which can assist you in delivering a seamless hybrid event. The venues all either have in-house solutions to facilitate hybrid events or they have a partnership with external companies who can help to provide the event.


Imago Venues

The Imago Venues include; Holywell Park Conference Centre, Burleigh Court, The Link Hotel & Elite Athlete Centre & Hotel. Find out more information about their in-house hybrid solutions here.


Holiday Inn Leicester City

Holiday Inn Leicester City have partnered with an external hybrid provider to offer hybrid events. You can find out more information in their brochure.


NSPCC National Training Centre

The NSPCC National Training Centre have a partnership with a Hybrid AV company, allowing them to offer hybrid solutions.


National Space Centre

Can offer hybrid solutions in house and in development with an external partner to provide additional solutions. Visit their website for more information.


Radisson Blu Hotel East Midlands Midlands Airport

The Radisson Blu provide in-house hybrid solutions and expertise. Please see their website for more information.


But of course we cannot wait to have all your delegates in one place at an event and we have 40 fabulous venues for you to choose from. See all of our venues here.

Related

Burleigh Court
Conferences & Weddings Conferences Category
Burleigh Court Exterior

Burleigh Court is one of the Midlands largest 4 star accredited residential conference centres and hotels, combining outstanding meeting facilities with first-class accommodation.

Elite Athlete Centre and Hotel
Conferences & Weddings Conferences Category
Elite Athlete Centre & Hotel Exterior Sign

The Elite Athlete Centre and Hotel is a unique specialist hotel environment, designed specifically to meet the needs of elite athletes and their support staff. Our pioneering new hotel provides 44 specialist bedrooms, including 20 altitude rooms.

Holiday Inn Leicester City
Conferences & Weddings Conferences Category
Holiday Inn Leicester City Reception

Holiday Inn Leicester can cater for all types of meetings up to 250 delegates. Our multi-functional rooms are also great for venue hire for events and occasions as large as 300 guests. The hotel has 194 well-appointed hotel rooms with modern furnishing, Wi-Fi, flat-screen satellite TV with a choice of 30 free channels. Fully refurbished throughout in 2018.

Holywell Park Conference Centre
Conferences & Weddings Conferences Category
Holywell Park Conference Centre Welcome Sign

A high quality specialist conference centre set in landscaped grounds in Leicestershire, Holywell Park offers 12 purpose-built training, meeting and exhibition rooms for up to 280 delegates.

National Space Centre
Conferences & Weddings Conferences Category
National Space Centre Exterior at Night

Inspire your delegates and guests at the award winning National Space Centre. The UK’s only venue dedicated to the excitement, history and exploration of space. Located near to Leicester’s City Centre, the National Space Centre is a place for inspiration and innovation. Your guests will be inspired by our stunning Rocket Tower, six space-themed galleries and the UK’s largest Planetarium.

NSPCC National Training Centre
Non Residential
NSPCC National Training Centre Willow Room Cabaret

The NSPCC National Training Centre offers purpose built facilities for hire: perfect for meetings, conferences and training days. What ever your event our team of highly experienced coordinators will be on hand to ensure your event runs smoothly from start to finish.

Radisson Blu Hotel East Midlands Airport
Conferences & Weddings Conferences Category
Radisson Blu Hotel East Midlands Airport Exterior

The Radisson BluEast Midlands Airport located near Nottingham, Leicester and Derby is ideal for business travellers. The hotel just minutes from the M1 features 218 well appointed guest rooms along with on site dning and fitness centre with pool.

The Link Hotel
Conferences & Weddings Conferences Category
The Link Hotel Welcome Sign

The Link is a modern hotel offering versatile meeting and banqueting facilities for up to 200 guests. All meeting rooms offer free Wi-Fi (Up to 1 gbps), comfortable seating and natural daylight.

0 Comments

Comments

Comments are disabled for this post.