It seems like COVID-19’s reign on the events industry is coming to an end, as we see businesses beginning to transition from virtual events back to hybrid and in-person. Hallelujah! However, there are some things to keep in mind when tackling this transition because let’s face it—the industry won’t be completely the same as it was before the pandemic.
We enlisted the help of our event marketing manager, Madelyn Murgas, to lend you some event planning wisdom.
We all know the main differences between virtual, hybrid and in-person events—one’s online, one is both online and in-person and the other is solely in-person. According to Madelyn, they all have different execution strategies as well (and she certainly isn’t wrong).
First things first: a venue. Venue and location don’t matter for virtual events, as the ‘venue’ is your laptop or tablet. However, selecting a date and venue is the first step when it comes to planning a hybrid or in-person event.
Madelyn emphasizes the importance of venue when it comes to a hybrid event—it’s crucial to ensure the location will cater to both the in-person and virtual attendees. You don’t want the venue to be too limited to where there’s extreme camera or filming disruption in the space, therefore, sacrificing event quality for the in-person attendees. However, you also want the space to accommodate to the virtual attendees so that they don’t become an afterthought.
Hybrid experiences can be tricky when it comes to choosing a venue or location, but with advice from a talented events manager, you won’t have to make the decision alone.
When choosing a venue for an in-person event, you must keep in mind the type of event you’re wanting to execute. Will the event be outside? Do you have a backup indoor space in case it rains? Is the room the correct size based on the number of attendees? Is there ample space for a buffet table or speech podium (if needed)? These are all elements to think about when deciding.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when planning an event is the budget. You definitely don’t want to go over a client’s budget, yet you also wouldn’t want to skimp on resources when you have the funds to create something truly spectacular.
According to Madelyn, hybrid events are the most expensive event option. Think about it—you’re paying for everything needed for both a virtual and in-person event—venue, refreshments, a film crew, etc. Therefore, it’s important to consider cost when planning the event you are wanting to execute. Like Madelyn said, people are going to want to offer hybrid events, but may not have the budget to execute them in the way that will truly serve both in-person and virtual attendees. And who wants to leave one group not feeling any love?
Madelyn says the key to planning a successful event is all about being organized, setting goals, and creating a path forward to exceed expectations for the stakeholder.
You will need an event timeline with clear deadlines for any type of event, whether it’s virtual, hybrid or in-person. For an in-person event, a deadline may be ensuring all printed signage and materials arrive to the venue prior to the occasion. For a virtual event, that will look more like shipping out an interactive event kit to attendees to encourage them to join and to keep them engaged.
It’s important to be aware of possible issues that may arise. There’s a higher risk of no-shows for a virtual experience compared to in-person, since in-person requires planning and travel. Also, it may be more difficult to gauge how attendees are feeling and to make the adjustments needed for virtual and hybrid events, as people aren’t physically at the event with you.
Madelyn foresees hybrid events becoming more popular as we move forward, away from the virtual throes of the pandemic. Not only do they allow people to be back in-person, but having the virtual option makes experiences more accessible to people who can’t easily travel or have responsibilities that don’t allow them to leave. A cohesive theme and interaction between virtual and live attendees are the keys to success.
No matter the type of event you need help planning, whether it be virtual, hybrid or in-person, KM&A has your back. Not only do we have an extremely talented events team, but we can provide different levels of support, tailor our services to fit your budget and give you the flawless execution you are looking for.
Interested in hearing our take on the transition from virtual to hybrid and in-person events? Check out our recent blog, Transitioning Your Event from Virtual to Hybrid.